CHARLOTTE, N.C. President Barack Obama will now deliver his nomination speech Thursday at Time Warner Cable Arena because of concerns about severe weather, the Democratic National Convention Committee announced on Wednesday.
"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. 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. 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."
On Tuesday, DNCC officials confirmed the arena was a backup site for Obama's acceptance speech Thursday if bad weather forced a move from Bank of America Stadium.
A move to the smaller arena venue could prove to be a logistical headache for the event organizers, who have not said where the overflow of people would go.
Campaign officials had distributed thousands of community credentials, and then ran out of them, but did not state a specific number. The DNCC expects 65,000 to attend the stadium speech, including delegates, guests and community credential holders. The arena has 15,000 seats for the DNC, organizers have said.
Charlotte will see a 40 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms during the day Thursday, and that probability will decrease to 20 to 30 percent Thursday evening, said James Oh, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Thursday's high temperature will be around 87 degrees, while the evening's low will be 70 degrees, Oh said.
Robbie Akhere, a statewide Obama delegate from Mecklenburg County, said she expects the president will get a rousing reception regardless of the venue. She called the arena an excellent backup choice.
Some people think the president is God and can control the weather, Akhere said. But I think they'd understand if the event was moved. She also has heard talk about some nearby locations offering live-stream viewing of the president's speech in the event of a venue change.
Akhere said she expects to hear a decision on the issue Wednesday morning.
Akhere, attending her first convention, said she would not mind sitting in the rain to hear Obama speak. We sit in the rain for football games. This would be a wonderful opportunity for the world to see us sit in the rain and hear the president.
Researcher Maria David, reporter Lindsay Ruebens contributed.