Obama’s Acceptance Speech Moved Indoors, Citing Weather Concerns

The Democratic National Convention organizers announced this morning that President Obama’s speech on Thursday night, as well as the other scheduled speeches by others such as Vice-President Biden, has been moved inside due to concerns about the weather:

(CBS News) CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Democrats are significantly downsizing the final night of their national convention, moving the events — including President Obama’s acceptance speech — from Bank of America Stadium to the Time Warner Cable Arena because of threats of thunder and lightning.

Mr. Obama was slated to accept the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday night in the open-air football stadium before a crowd of more than 60,000. The basketball and hockey arena, however, seats just around 20,000.

The Obama campaign said this week that they would keep the events in the stadium through rain but that it would move to the arena if lightning posed safety threats. Rain has hit the Charlotte area every day since Saturday, with remnants of Hurricane Isaac drenching the area Tuesday.

While the organizers are citing weather concerns, there have been numerous media reports over the past week that organizers had been having trouble ensuring that the 74,000 set Bank of American Stadium would be filled for the President’s speech. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the current forecast for Thursday does call for a 40% chance of thunderstorms during the day, and a 30% chance of thunderstorms in the evening. Even if the weather had cleared up for the President’s speech later in the evening, the possibility of storms earlier in the day when other events are going on at the stadium was likely in organizers minds. That won’t stop some from speculating that the ticket issue also motivated the decision, of course.

The move to a smaller venue will impact at least the visual image organizers were attempting to convey, but I doubt the 20,000 people in attendance will be any less enthusiastic. Of course, there will be about 50,000 disappointed non-delegates who had tickets to the outdoor event that are likely going to be disappointed.

Update: A Charlotte meteorologist is questioning the decision to cancel the outdoor event:

The chief meteorologist at News Channel 36 WCNC in Charlotte is questioning the decision to move President Obama’s Thursday campaign speech indoors.

“[I]t’s a simple question.. if you had a #Panthers game, Concert or Soccer match with a 20% chance of storms would you cancel 24hrs prior?” Brad Panovich wrote on Twitter.

“Severe threat is almost zero Thursday night & chance of rain is 20%,” Panovich wrote.

(…)

“My only beef is it’s not like this threat has changed much in the past week if anything the weather situation has gotten marginally better the closer we have gotten to tomorrow night,” he told POLITICO.

“I’m all for safety and indeed the threat for some lightning is around for those hours when people would be entering the stadium and going through security. I’m talking about 3-6pm timeframe so I can’t blame them there,” he said.

And, perhaps, that is what the organizers had in mind in making the decision. Nonetheless, it’s going to look pretty silly in retrospect if nothing happens weather wise in Charlotte tomorrow.

The other thought is that this is a truly unique situation. The same storm, or at the very least fears regarding the impact of the same storm on a specific venue have caused major scheduling changes to be made to both major party conventions. I’m pretty sure that’s a first.

 

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Politicians, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ryan H says:

    While the risk of weather was likely very much a concern, I’m sure the organizers were only too happy to have to change venues (much like the Republicans were all too eager to cancel a day of their convention).

    I do feel bad for those that were going to go – perhaps if the forecast clears up a bit, they can still watch on a Jumbotron at BoA Stadium.

  2. JKB says:

    Come now, it is obvious they fear the climate change.

  3. Moosebreath says:

    Must have been a good night at the Democratic convention, if this is the only convention related story here.

  4. Dexter says:

    Forecast for Thursday is for more sunshine and less chance of rain (20% – low compared to the last several days). Real reason – probably they knew that Bank of America stadium would be about half full.

  5. mantis says:

    The wingnuts sure are able to shift course quickly, aren’t they? For a couple of days they were screeching that the Democrats were using buses to transport people to the stadium. Buses! Can you believe it!? To them, this was some sort of fakery. Busing people in to fill the seats is cheating, or something. Apparently they should all drive their own cars or use jetpacks or something, or it’s not real.

    Now that weather concerns are causing organizers to move the event indoors, the wingnuts have decided that it’s because they can’t get people there. So which is it, wingnuts? They are cheating by filling the seats with people bused in, or they are so unpopular they can’t get enough people to show up?

    Next they’ll probably claim that the Dems are endangering people by filling the new venue too full, and then moments later complain about occupancy limits, building codes, and big government.

  6. mantis says:

    @Dexter:

    Forecast for Thursday is for more sunshine and less chance of rain (20% – low compared to the last several days).

    No it isn’t. From The Weather Channel link Doug provided:

    Partly cloudy with afternoon showers or thunderstorms. Humid. High 86F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.

    Real reason – probably they knew that Bank of America stadium would be about half full.

    Keep telling yourself that.

  7. JKB says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Actually, it only indicates that the Journolist wasn’t able to come up with a good meme to sell today.

    But there is one not so beneficial to their interests:

    Obama camp disavows ‘government is the only thing that we all belong to’ video

  8. Liberal Capitalist says:

    You know…

    I am REALLY getting tired of a “loyal oposition” party that takes every anouncement about anything as a freakin’ conspiracy.

    For a good dose of batshit madness, visit Ms. Malkin’s blog: http://michellemalkin.com/2012/09/05/obama-convention

    Seriously… When did the GOP decide that it was going to just go full bag-of-dicks crazy?

    I understand that pandering to special interest groups may get them some votes, but I don’t think that the wackadoo insane vote on a regular basis.

    (Evidence for that last statement? Riddle me this: How many times was “Tea Party” meantioned in the GOP Convention)

  9. mantis says:

    @JKB:

    I love that JKB thinks Journolist is a) a thing, and b) the source of all evil. Hilarious.

  10. Moosebreath says:

    @JKB:

    Ah, so OTB is now part of the dread Journolist conspiracy, and cannot come up with posts without it. Duly noted.

  11. John Peabody says:

    One of the many reasons the Republicans cancelled the first day of their Minnesota 2008 convention is because President Bush was scheduled to speak. Remember, no one wanted him visible at all. The hurricane just made it that much easier, and Bush did not travel to St. Paul.

    Likewise, there were threats of snow on the 2009 inauguration day. Our schools in Hampton Roads canceled- a decision made that much easier since so many people wanted to skip school and watch.

  12. mantis says:

    “[I]t’s a simple question.. if you had a #Panthers game, Concert or Soccer match with a 20% chance of storms would you cancel 24hrs prior?”

    No, but they aren’t canceling. They are changing the venue. You can’t do that at the last minute.

  13. mantis says:

    Oh, another thing…

    The chief meteorologist at News Channel 36 WCNC in Charlotte is questioning the decision to move President Obama’s Thursday campaign speech indoors.

    “[I]t’s a simple question.. if you had a #Panthers game, Concert or Soccer match with a 20% chance of storms would you cancel 24hrs prior?” Brad Panovich wrote on Twitter.

    “Severe threat is almost zero Thursday night & chance of rain is 20%,” Panovich wrote.

    Look at the WCNC weather page:

    Thursday:

    A mix of clouds and sunshine with a chance of showers and storms, mainly during the day. Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s. The chance of rain is 40%.

    This guy is lying about his own forecast. How much you want to bet he’s a Republican?

  14. bill says:

    i think the main ‘weather” concern was “whether’ they could get enough people in there to make it look full. good call, they should be able to fill up an arena.

  15. grumpy realist says:

    @bill: And how do you know that?

    If I had a 20% chance of rain dousing my speech, I’d also be prudent and move it indoors.

    Prudence used to be a GOOD thing that Republicans liked. Now they don’t.

  16. mantis says:

    Charlotte is experiencing a thunderstorm now, with rain expected through at least mid-evening. Switching locations was a prudent choice based on the information at the time, and was motivated by concern for the safety of attendees.