DNC to Stay in TWC Arena9/05/2012 12:32 PM Eastern
Mother Nature is again taking a toll on political convention planning.
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."
Republicans last week had to cut their convention short due to Hurricane Isaac.
DNC 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 committee.
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.