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Obama moves site of convention address

Sept. 5, 2012 at 3:49 PM   |   Comments

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CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 5 (UPI) -- After Hurricane Isaac forced Republicans to alter their convention in Tampa, Fla., weather is again a factor at the Democrats' party in North Carolina.

President Barack Obama's acceptance speech Thursday at the Democratic National Convention, originally planned for the larger outdoor venue Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, has been moved indoors where the rest of the convention is taking place at Time Warner Cable Stadium, CBS News reported. Thunderstorms and the threat of lightning -- the remnants of Isaac -- are forecast for the remainder of the convention, forcing the change.

Campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the weather and possible security concerns were the determining factors in moving the speech indoors, adding the president was "disappointed" about the turn of events.

Psaki said there were no concerns Democrats would be unable to fill the 65,000-seat Bank of America Stadium.

"Absolutely not. I know our opponents on the other side of the aisle are pushing this. However, when you had 65,000 ticketed people and 19,000 on the waiting list, our concern was more about turning people away than filling the stadium," she said.

"This isn't a call we wanted to make."

The new venue will mean a significantly smaller setting for Obama's acceptance speech and contrasts with his address four years ago in Denver, where he spoke to an open-air football stadium packed with 75,000 supporters.

Instead, the indoor speech will take place before about 20,000 supporters.

"Well, if it were a light drizzle, it might still be in the stadium," Psaki said. "Between the possibility of severe thunderstorm and risks it could pose to tens of thousands of people in the stadium, there was a decision made by an advisory group that has a lot of experience ... we couldn't put people in public safety risk."

Those who had been issued "community credentials" from the Democratic National Committee for Obama's speech but not the remainder of the convention were being encouraged to attend a "watch party," CBS said.

Obama will speak directly with those supporters via a conference call Thursday. To obtain a credential to attend the speech volunteers had to pledge 9 hours of time volunteering for the campaign in a three-day stretch.

The convention's first night Tuesday featured first lady Michelle Obama, who told Democrats vision and values guide her husband.

"I've seen how the issues that come across a president's desk are always the hard ones -- the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer," she told the opening night crowd and a national TV audience.

"At the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are."

By contrast, keynote speaker San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, 37, the first Latino to deliver a Democratic convention keynote address, argued GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan offered ideas that have been shown not to work.

"Their theory has been tested. It failed. Our economy failed," Castro said. "The middle class paid the price. Your family paid the price. Mitt Romney just doesn't get it."

Former President Bill Clinton will speak Wednesday to nominate Obama for a second term.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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