President Barack Obama won't deliver his acceptance speech in Charlotte's 73,000-seat Bank of America Stadium as planned because of concerns about inclement weather, the Democratic host committee announced Wednesday.
Obama's speech will be moved indoors to Time Warner Cable Arena, which has less than a third the capacity of the football stadium. The Democratic National Convention Committee announced the move "regretfully," saying that more than 65,000 credentials were issued for the speech as originally scheduled. The stadium speech aimed to replicate the success of Obama's 2008 nomination acceptance speech, in which he spoke at Invesco Field in Denver in front of 80,000 roaring supporters. Persisent rain so far during the convention, plus a 30 percent chance of rain Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service, made an outdoor speech risky.
"We have been monitoring weather forecasts closely and several reports predict thunderstorms in the area, therefore we have decided to move Thursday's proceedings to Time Warner Cable Arena to ensure the safety and security of our delegates and convention guests," Steve Kerrigan, chief executive of the DNCC, said in a statement.
Upon hearing the news of the rescheduling at a breakfast with reporters, Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi expressed disappointment.
"I said, 'I don't mind getting rained upon to hear the president's speech," Pelosi said. "And they said, 'Well, thunder and lightning--we're talking something other than just getting wet."
"I think it would have been nice," she added. "It was wonderful when he did it before."
Democratic officials say there are problems with moving the speech. Obama strategists were hoping to use the event as an organizing tool, to expand volunteer lists, do some fund-raising, and motivate the troops. Now they may have thousands of disappointed Democrats to deal with, rather than a revved-up multitude. Obama plans to do a special conference call with ticket holders Thursday to ease the disappointment. The statement also said that "those unable to attend the nomination acceptance will be invited to see the President between now and election day."
U.S. News political reporter Lauren Fox and contributor Ken Walsh contributed to this story.
Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.