The Democratic National Committee announced this morning that it would move President Obama’s Thursday night nomination acceptance speech from its originally scheduled outdoor vlocation of Bank of American Stadium to the indoors location of Time Warner Cable Arena, where the most of the convention events are being held.
The Democrats cited the threat of storms as the reason to move the event. The National Weather Service puts the odds of a storm in Charlotte Thursday at less than one in three: “Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.”
Just yesterday, White House campaign manager Jim Messina indicated they wanted the show to go on regardless of the weather:
“Look, you know, we’re going to have a convention out there rain or shine—unless we’re putting people at risk,” Jim Messina told an ABC/Yahoo News roundtable on the sidelines of the Democratic National Convention.
“And we’ll continue to monitor the weather, but, you know, rain or shine we hope to be out there,” he said.
Just one day later the campaign decided no.
Holding the speech at the stadium has been a headache for Democrats for a while. As the Examiner noted yesterday, they have struggled to fill the stadium in the same way that they did with Denver’s Invesco Field (since renamed Sports Authority Field) during Obama’s acceptance speech at the 2008 convention:
Bank of America Stadium will be filled to capacity when President Obama gives his acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, according to his campaign. But the campaign is expecting 9,000 fewer attendees than the stadium’s capacity for Carolina Panthers football games there.
“The way the stadium is constructed, its capacity is 74,000 for football,” Obama communications director Brent Colburn said at a briefing on Tuesday. “Our capacity is going to be lower on Thursday night because of staging, place for media, security, so we’re looking at approximately 65,000. We expect 65,000 to show up.”
Yet when Obama accepted the nomination four years ago at Denver’s Invesco Field (since renamed Sports Authority Field) the reverse was true — the speech drew more than the stadium’s capacity for football games.
Invesco’s seating capacity was 76,125 in 2008, according to the Denver Broncos media guide for that year. But when Obama spoke there, DNC organizers estimated that he drew over 84,000. At the time, they were able to actually increase capacity by opening up the field to seating.
Time Warner Cable Arena reportedly seats around 20,000.
The name of the stadium has also proved awkward for the administration. Bank of America was a major recipient of TARP funds and has been a target of organized labor, a staunch ally of the Democratic Party.