• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Democratic National Convention: Stormy weather forces Obama's speech indoors

September 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Democrats find themselves in much the same position as the Republicans did last week. Inclement weather has caused them to change their plans. President Barack Obama's acceptance speech that was supposed to take place in an open-air stadium Thursday night will now be moved indoors.

The rain has been a problem all week in Charlotte, N.C. There have been thunderstorms every afternoon and heavy rain. The forecast called for more of the same Thursday, so the Democratic National Committee and the Obama campaign pulled the plug on the president's planned acceptance speech at Bank of America Stadium. A spokesman called it a public safety issue, saying the possibility of having to evacuate the stadium in the case of a lightning storm caused them to rethink their plans.

"Especially being from California, we don't really know about electrical storms, but boy, when that lightning started, your whole body shook, so I think it's probably smart to get people inside and be safe," said Lisa Star, a delegate from Los Angeles.

Obama's campaign promised to do some kind of large event in the Charlotte area to make up for the move.

"I'm pretty disappointed, but it's really about the message, it's not necessarily about being there in person," said Sue Martin, a volunteer from Virginia who is one of the thousands of volunteers who were given tickets to the venue in exchange for doing work for the Obama campaign.

A total of 65,000 tickets were handed out to the outdoor stadium event. The convention center where it's been moved to holds only 21,000 people. Delegates, media and VIPs could take up about half the available seats, which means most of the people who wanted to see the president in person won't get to do it.

Aaron Williams, a cook at Bank of America Stadium and an Obama supporter, said he and his co-workers put in 60 hours getting ready for the event that now won't be happening.

"I felt good working for him," Williams said. "It was a historic event for me, my children, my family, stories I can tell my family for years and years down the line. What am I going to tell them now? He told me he was going to come and never showed up."

Williams said he was unhappy but he was still going to vote for President Obama.

Some are content with watching Mr. Obama on television.

"It's going to be somewhere, whether it's in there or somewhere else, we're going get to see Obama," said a volunteer named Luther.

All 65,000 of those volunteers will also get an opportunity to see Mr. Obama over a national conference call Thursday.

There's no word yet on how much money this is costing the Democratic Party, but it has to be steep considering the security, stage and catering.

Look for ongoing reports from ABC7 Anchor Marc Brown at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.


Load Comments