September 5, 2012 - 11:34 AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- President Obama's Thursday night acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention has been moved indoors because of the possibility of thunderstorms, convention organizers said today.
Originally scheduled for 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium, the final night of the convention now will be held in Time Warner Cable Arena, the 21,000-seat venue that's the site of the first two days of the convention.
That means people who stood in lines sometimes stretching for a half-mile to get tickets will end up disappointed. But Steve Kerrigan, the chief executive officer, said the campaign would reach out to those ticket holders, with the president set to hold a conference call with them Thursday afternoon.
In addition, "we will work with the campaign to ensure that those unable to attend tomorrow's event will be invited to see the president between now and Election Day," Kerrigan said.
The National Weather Service said there is a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms Thursday afternoon, with that chance falling to 20 percent by the 10 p.m. hour when the president is set to speak.
Still, it has rained every evening in Charlotte since Saturday, and many delegates have openly fretted about getting drenched on the convention's last night.
Some Democrats also said they were worried about Republican hecklers in the larger venue, since tickets were given away to anyone who asked. Some also feared that no-shows on a rainy night could lead to lots of empty seats and an embarrassment for the president.
Republicans jumped on that last possibility. Kirsten Kukowski, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, told Associated Press that "questions about enthusiasm for the event" preceded the change in venue.
Convention organizers did not say how much the change in venue would cost.
-- Jerry Zremski