Mother Nature is again taking a toll on political convention
The Democratic National Convention committee has decided
that the president's speech and other Thursday proceedings will have to stay in
the Time Warner Cable Arena, where the first two days are being held, rather
than move to Bank of America Stadium, due to possible severe weather.
The stadium would have accommodated 65,000 cheering
Democratic fans, a scene similar to 2008.
"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," said DNCC CEO Steve
Kerrigan in a statement. "The energy and enthusiasm for our convention in
Charlotte has been overwhelming and we share the disappointment of over 65,000
people who signed up for community credentials to be there with the president
in person," he said. "We encourage our community credential holders and
Americans across the country to continue to come together with their friends
and neighbors to watch and participate in history.
Convention organizers said Wednesday their top priority was the safety of convention-goers and guests, and that the over 65,000 people who were scheduled to attend at Bank of America Stadium will be accommodated via a phone call with the president Thursday and an event "sometime before election day."
The credentials of the 21,000 attendees who have been at TWC
Arena will be honored for Thursday night, but not the 40,000-plus more who had
been community credentialed for Bank of America. Organizers also said that
there was a "hard" waiting list of 19,000.
Responding to suggestions by some Republicans that the move
was because Dems could not fill the stadium, organizers said they were
confident that a large number of credentialed attendees would have showed up
Thursday night, and that they were worried about capacity on the high end, not
the low end. They pointed out that Democratic leaders had praised Republicans
for putting public safety first in reconfiguring their convention, and that it
simply reflected on the tenor of their campaign that they would criticize
Democrats for making a public safety decision, which was made by the Obama
campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic National convention
Convention organizers pointed out that TV nets will be
covering Thursday night's proceedings, and it will be live streamed as well.
They also said that they would try to replicate as much of the Bank of America
stadium program as possible in the smaller TWC venue.
Republicans last week had to cut their convention short due
to Hurricane Isaac.