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Ticket-holders frustrated, disappointed, but understand need for venue change

By Adam Bell and Kerry Singe
abell@charlotteobserver.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Thousands of people braved long lines last month, and some even camped out overnight, to get credentials to see President Barack Obama’s nomination speech scheduled to take place at Bank of America Stadium Thursday

But organizers on Wednesday moved the speech to Time Warner Cable Arena because of concern over severe weather. The switch means thousands of members of the public who received community credentials for the stadium event won’t be allowed to go inside the arena, which the Democratic National Convention has said is holding about 15,000 for the convention. DNC organizers had been planning for up to 80,000 people at the stadium.

Instead, the arena seats will be limited to delegates and convention officials, according to the Obama campaign. Here’s what people are saying about the change:

“I feel like I’ve been shut out of everything.” Lesa Kastanas, of Charlotte

“No matter where it is, there are going to be thousands of enthusiastic people representing millions more.” Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick

“So how disappointed am I now? On a scale, about an eight. I came here, I missed three days of work.” Ron Bailey, president of the National Medical Association

“My first feeling was disappointment. It wasn’t anger, because it wasn’t like it was a venue change just for the heck of it. You can’t help Mother Nature.” Community ticket holder Cheryl Moore, Rock Hill

“That would be ridiculous of me to have that affect my vote. There are so many more important issues.” Linda Fry, Mooresville community credential holder

“We’re hoping for a busy night.” Brandon Hilliard, manager of Aria Tuscan Grill in uptown Charlotte

“If anything, we’ll definitely get a watch crowd here.” Stefani Hasty, Crave Dessert Bar’s marketing coordinator

“It’s a little disheartening for the community. We were happy about this being the first convention that was pretty much open to the public.” Brent Page, California delegate

“It’s not printable.” Susan Stanish, who works in Charlotte, on her daughter’s response.

“There is something about the 2012 conventions that just seem to attract bad weather. But ironically storm clouds came to both conventions.” Sam Feist, CNN’s Washington bureau chief

“Look, we wanted this to go forward.” Obama campaign spokesman Brent Colburn

“Disappointed. There’s no other word for it…My family alone had 12 tickets that will just be souvenirs.” Nervahna Crew, a guest of the N.C. delegation from Wake County

“Everything I booked is nonrefundable…’m more upset about the travel hassle than not being able to actually go.” Michael Kogelman, Marlton, N.J.

“We understand and support the DNC’s timely decision to relocate tomorrow’s event based on current weather forecasts.” Carolina Panthers’ tweet.

“I don’t hate the Democratic Party because of it. I’m just disappointed.” Terry Shipley, of Charlotte

“I may not be in the arena, but I will be there in spirit. And as for me and my family, we will continue to support and move forward!” Teresa Meyers, of Waxhaw

With additional reporting from Jonathan Jones, Jessica Kennedy, Kelley Sousa, Victoria Guida, Claire McNeill, Pam Kelley, April Bethea, Tim Funk and Mark Washburn contributed.

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