Breaking: Obama speech moved indoors due to … weather; Update: Obama tried downplaying attendance expectations

posted at 10:31 am on September 5, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

It’s official now — Barack Obama’s acceptance speech tomorrow night won’t take place in The Stadium Whose Real Name Shall Not Be Mentioned.  Instead of the 73,000-seat venue, the DNC has opted to move Obama back indoors, where they only need to fill 20,000 seats.  The campaign blames incoming weather, but CBS sounds a little skeptical:

 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.

National Journal also notes the political benefits of using a much smaller venue for Obama:

  • “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 Democratic National Convention Committee CEO Steve Kerrigan.
  • Moving Obama to the much smaller Time Warner Arena, which holds about 22,000, could be seen as something of a political letdown after Obama accepted his party’s nomination in 2008 at Denver’s Invesco Field. But organizers also feared the possiblity of televised images of Obama speaking to a half-empty stadium.

So does The Hill:

The Time Warner Cable Arena, where the Democratic National Convention has been taking place all this week, is a much smaller venue.

It holds less than half the amount of people the stadium does — 22,000 to the stadium’s 73,000 — and Obama will address those with stadium credentials in a conference call Thursday, the committee said.

But the move will also raise questions as there has been speculation Democrats would be unable to fill all the stadium seats. Party officials had arranged for bus loads of supporters to be brought in for the occasion.

Not for nothing, but the weather forecast for tomorrow night at Weather.com looks rather … normal for Charlotte.  While it’s true that the weather service predicts thunderstorms tomorrow, they also predict that those will have passed by 10 pm ET tomorrow, before Obama would have taken the stage.  By 4 pm ET, the prediction for “scattered thunderstorms” drops to “isolated thunderstorms,” and the precipitation chance drops from 40% to 30%.

It looks more like the attendance forecast was partly gloomy, with a large chance of Eastwooding at Bank of America Stadium.

Update: Brad Panovich, an anchor at local TV station WCNC, asks a pretty good question:

I’d guess the answer would be no.  Then again, I’ve never heard that the Carolina Panthers have trouble filling the stadium, either.

Update II: It was the weather, eh?  Earlier this morning, the local NBC affiliate reported that Obama himself downplayed attendance expectations:

In an exclusive one on one interview with NBC12, President Obama himself was hesitant to guarantee a packed house.

“Well we got to check the weather,” he said.  “But hopefully, we will have good weather and I’m looking forward to what is going to be a terrific event.”

The president then quickly changed the conversation to the message he hoped to send in his speech, regardless of how many people would be watching.

“My main goal is not to worry about the logistics of the convention,” Obama said. “My main goal is to communicate to the American people how we can move forward.”

If the weather turns out to be nice and calm tonight, will the press take a few pictures of the empty stadium?

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

I once saw Elton John in an outdoor stadium concert – in the pouring rain. One of best concerts I’ve ever seen (he IS a master showman).

Also, it looks like a little rain didn’t scare these guys!

JugEars, that could have been you.

pain train on September 5, 2012 at 1:04 PM

74K empty chairs at the stadium…..

empty…

….taunting….

…….mocking…….

……….defiant………

……………chairs………

Obama is afraid of furniture…

ted c on September 5, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Foxhound, look, they believe socialism/communism is their religion.

Schadenfreude on September 5, 2012 at 1:05 PM

I once saw Elton John in an outdoor stadium concert – in the pouring rain. One of best concerts I’ve ever seen (he IS a master showman).

Also, it looks like a little rain didn’t scare these guys!

pain train on September 5, 2012 at 1:04 PM

I’ve seen him too and you’re right, he is a master showman. Billy Joel as well.

ted c on September 5, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Well after 1 1/2 hrs later, Daily Kooks posts a story. OMG it is hillarious. Don’t let the GOP spin this as anything but weather related etc…

Too Funny, try not hurting yourself laughing at the suggested ways to spin it.

D-fusit on September 5, 2012 at 12:11 P

Denial isn’t just a river

koaiko on September 5, 2012 at 1:06 PM

The views of a Palin Democrat on the DNC speeches last night:
Abortion and Anger, with a Side of Hypocrisy, in Charlotte this Week

Mutnodjmet on September 5, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Hiring some 500 buses to bring people to the stadium and back would have cost millions from their depleated campaign funds, so they have scaled back into the indoor arena. Folks still have to provide photo ID’s to enter the arena.

Only a 30 or 40% chance of rain Thursday. Afraid the stadium would have only been half filled? Answer is YES!

Amazingoly on September 5, 2012 at 1:07 PM

So, the outdoor event was aborted?

kingsjester on September 5, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Whether it was the weather or other logistic reasons that went in to the decision to move the speech, the issue was not one of potentially empty seats.

Drew Lowell on September 5, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Actually the problem is one particular empty chair.

bayview on September 5, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Sorry to disrupt the latest chapter of Republican alternate-universe fiction, but the stadium seats were all spoken for, and there was a waiting list of 19,000, as reported here.

Drew Lowell on September 5, 2012 at 1:03 PM

That’s true. Unfortunately they were all reserved by his fake Twitter followers.

pain train on September 5, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Attendance – Incomplete

Peppa Pig on September 5, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Drew Lowell on September 5, 2012 at 1:03 PM

The spin that you and the DNC people tried to sell fails. In the article you cited, the DNC people ssid

Campaign officials said Wednesday that they will only be able to admit the roughly 21,000 people who are officially credentialed to the president’s speech at the Time Warner arena, a smaller venue than the Bank of America stadium where the event had been scheduled. They said 65,000 would have attended at the stadium.

From the Stadium’s official web site:

Seating Capacity

There are 73,778 seats at Bank of America Stadium

I guess math challenged liberals and democrats would not recognize 73778 – 65000 means 8778 unfilled seats.

bayview on September 5, 2012 at 1:20 PM

We need a picture of the empty stadium and empty chair on the podium.

anikol on September 5, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I guess math challenged liberals and democrats would not recognize 73778 – 65000 means 8778 unfilled seats.

bayview on September 5, 2012 at 1:20 PM

that’s 8778 empty chairs that would mock him…..

ted c on September 5, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Sorry to disrupt the latest chapter of Republican alternate-universe fiction, but the stadium seats were all spoken for, and there was a waiting list of 19,000, as reported here.

Whether it was the weather or other logistic reasons that went in to the decision to move the speech, the issue was not one of potentially empty seats.

Drew Lowell on September 5, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Spoken for= divided as quotas between union folk, black churches, and other willing accomplices. Bottom line you moron, if there were 19,000 people on a waiting list, they would not be out there figuring out how to bus in enough brain-dead takers to make it appear that the rat-eared bastard is still as popular as he was when he stood before those fake greek columns.

Happy Nomad on September 5, 2012 at 1:29 PM

I guess math challenged liberals and democrats would not recognize 73778 – 65000 means 8778 unfilled seats.

bayview on September 5, 2012 at 1:20 PM

that’s 8778 empty chairs that would mock him…..

ted c on September 5, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I don’t believe for a moment that if they thought they could fill the Bank of America stadium they would….

…COME HELL OR HIGH WATER.

PappyD61 on September 5, 2012 at 1:29 PM

If they expected to fill the stadium they wouldn’t change the venue no matter what.

cheetah2 on September 5, 2012 at 1:29 PM

That’s true. Unfortunately they were all reserved by his fake Twitter followers.

pain train on September 5, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Oh! I’m sure at least one of them would have been reserved for Julia.

Happy Nomad on September 5, 2012 at 1:30 PM

But Wait… The man who created the Heavens and the Earth in six days can’t stop a little rain?? What are these modern messiah’s oming too.

keithofboston on September 5, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Brillant!

If the weather turns out to be nice and calm tonight, will the press take a few pictures of the empty stadium?

The ultimate “eastwooding”. :-)

Is it true that NARAL and NOW are sponsoring a live abortion to introduce the President before his speech?

I mean what better way to introduce President Born-Alive?

Oh, well……what if they bring a pile of 23 million pink slips and stack them up on the floor?

Or, Maybe build a mock cliff and have Seniors be pushed off by Kathleen Sebelius and Rahm Emanuels brother?

Or they could have a “Arab Spring” Egyptian announcer dressed in a full hajib introduce him from the podium before they whip her off stage?

Just brainstormin’ for you D&C peeps reading here.

PappyD61 on September 5, 2012 at 1:01 PM

SoonerFn4Lfe on September 5, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Sorry to disrupt the latest chapter of Republican alternate-universe fiction, but the stadium seats were all spoken for, and there was a waiting list of 19,000, as reported here.

Drew Lowell on September 5, 2012 at 1:03 PM

I’m sorry, but I don’t care if the seats were “spoken for” or not. The fact that the DNC was going to have to BUS PEOPLE IN to fill the stadium just wreaks of desperation to make their Dear Leader look as glorious as possible. If he is THAT popular within the DNC ranks, then keep the event there and let things fall where they may. A little chance of rain shouldn’t spoil things for them! As was said on Fox earlier, four years ago a blinding snowstorm wouldn’t have kept folks away from an Obama speech. Now he can’t even fill events on the campaign trail and has to give the ENTIRELY laughable excuse that they are “limiting crowd sizes”? I mean…really?? Does ANYONE believe that Obamaloney? :P

Highlar on September 5, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Were Dems paranoid that Thursday would be #EmptyChairDay at Stadium? Were they worried about a new hashtag #EmptyStadiumDay ?

from http://www.twitchy.com

The headline reads “Obama didn’t fill that”. heh.

PappyD61 on September 5, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Highlar on September 5, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Yes, and if anything would happen, Barry can have his “paralegals” take care of it.

bayview on September 5, 2012 at 1:35 PM

I just found a terrific shirt with Joe Biden’s portrait on it.

MJBrutus on September 5, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Sorry, guys, but Woodstock is moved to a small, indoor venue, due to 30% chance of rain. Oh, and don’t eat the brown acid.

Christien on September 5, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Ummm, Charlotte motor speedway attracts over 100,000 people for Cup races twice a year. People will make the effort to go see what they want to see on person if they want to bad enough. Let’s face it. The pres just can’t amass an audience that big anymore.

karenhasfreedom on September 5, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Oh dear, all those people invited and can’t get in. Where are they going to go? where are they going to sit? How will you know if you get a seat or are one of the ones left out in the rain?

Fleuries on September 5, 2012 at 1:47 PM

How about the D&C celebrate the War on Women in style by having that gal in the hajib be joined by her Egyptian sisters in a ritual flogging on the floor of the convention all the while the delegates chant out “Women, Women, war on Women“…

BTW, Nice visual appetizer below for #emptystadiumday coming up. Heh.

http://t.co/McAFZffC

PappyD61 on September 5, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Panthers-Jaguars “Rain Game,” Sept. 2011

B-b-b-but the DNC might get wet! WAAAAAA!

Christien on September 5, 2012 at 1:50 PM

UPDATE III: The Daily Mail — in the UK — had this yesterday:

Democrats are poised to avoid the danger of President Barack Obama accepting his party’s nomination before a partially-empty stadium by shifting his speech to an indoor arena and citing ‘severe weather’.

The Obama campaign have been working desperately to ensure that the 74,000-seater Bank of America stadium in Charlotte would be filled.

Buses for students from across North Carolina and even members of black churches in neighboring South Carolina have been arranged.

…Democratic convention sources have indicated that the ‘contingency plan’ is at an advanced stage and that a move to the stadium appears certain.

‘It looks like a done deal to me,’ said one convention worker. ‘The decision’s apparently been taken and it’s just a matter of spinning it as being forced on us by the weather.

Paul_in_NJ on September 5, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Allah, and people,

Why on earth did they choose an open air stadium in Charlotte, NC when summer time thunderstorms are quite common during that season in the southeast? Did they use the weather angle ahead of time, like months ahead, as a possible excuse to use fearing they wouldn’t get the crowd they wanted in the stadium?

Kokonut on September 5, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Imagine the RNC did this in Florida and had an open air venue instead of indoors during peak hurricane season.

Kokonut on September 5, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Wait….? So the messiah is going to leave 50,000 adoring worshippers out in the deluge??
That’s not very caring is it boys and girls?

keithofboston on September 5, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Well yeah but do you have any idea how many fish sandwiches that is!? The baskets of loaves and filets alone would be a logistical nightmare!

onomo on September 5, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Shrinkage

Schadenfreude on September 5, 2012 at 2:03 PM

If I were one of the networks, I would just show footage of Bank of America Stadium during Obama’s speech anyway.

73,000 empty chairs.

steebo77 on September 5, 2012 at 2:04 PM

I wonder how long ago the dems cancelled Bank of America Stadium so they didn’t have to pay for the use of it.

dragondrop on September 5, 2012 at 2:06 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2IWaetjNqA&feature=plcp

??? “…I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States”

WTF?

creeper on September 5, 2012 at 2:08 PM

UPDATE :

Forecast has changed to read only 20% chances of precip.
Via Rush.

pambi on September 5, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Here’s my forescast for the Democrats between now and November:

Gloomy with dashed hopes and broken change. Severe political storms will sweep through the ranks causing voters to make a voluntary evacuation of the Democrat Party.

The enthusiasm barometer is dropping causing a deep rhetorical depression and a wid cold front of apathy in the near and the long term forecasts.

Growing ever darker toward November with complete power loss on November 6.

Medical facilities are alerted for overflowing ER rooms for grief counselling and suicide watch.

And moving inside isn’t going to save them from the conservative CAT-5 hurricane and voter storm surge that will overwhelm the Democrat’s defenses.

BMF on September 5, 2012 at 2:26 PM

creeper on September 5, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Wow…That YouTube was kinda prophetic, yes???

Also, it’s a bit pathetic when even CBS is skeptical of the DNC plans…

StarLady on September 5, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Forecast has changed to read only 20% chances of precip.
Via Rush.

pambi on September 5, 2012 at 2:24 PM

The chance of Barry not filling the stadium is still a 100%.

bayview on September 5, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Campaign aides had just days ago said he’d appear ‘come rain or shine’

Schadenfreude on September 5, 2012 at 2:30 PM

“You didn’t fill that” Day, for Thursday!!!

Schadenfreude on September 5, 2012 at 2:32 PM

The DNC journey: 1) was going to be 4 days, then 3.. 2) was going to be at Charlotte speedway with 135,000 seats 3) fundraising fell short, so moved to Bank of America stadium which holds 73,000 4) DNC then paying to have church/univ. bus in folks to give stadium look of being full 5) couldn’t’ fill the buses, now they are moving it to the 20,000 capacity arena due to 20% chance of rain. BWAHAHAHA!

THE CONSEQUENCE OF A 4 YR TRACK RECORD VS. 2008 RHETORIC.

hillsoftx on September 5, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Look, if you think there won’t be a great deal of beotching from those denied seeing their god, as planned, I have a bridge to sell ya.
I don’t thnk this will end well, especially if they have to send folks back home.
Yikes.

pambi on September 5, 2012 at 2:32 PM

I can’t wait to see the video of Obamabots crying that the stadium event has been canceled, kicking their dreams of Obama’s ascendency to the curb.

redguy on September 5, 2012 at 10:59 AM

They’re bussing in North Koreans?

Barnestormer on September 5, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Cue CCR: “Who’ll Stop The Rain?”

As for those shafted ticket holders…it’s a flashback to the Purple Tunnel of Doom!

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Surviving-the-Purple-Tunnel-of-Doom.html

Galtian on September 5, 2012 at 2:40 PM

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Hear the lying leftist filth try to claim the stadium seats were “all spoken for” – what? Do they take us for fools?

They’ve been giving away those tickets wholesale and talking about 10-hour bus trips. The fact is that it would have been half empty and looked very bad for Obama. Same reason they cancelled the Monday “kick-off” party at Charlotte Motor Speedway. No way they would have filled that more than halfway either.

Will all these True Believers slit their wrists when Obama goes down (I mean in November, not on Reggie Love)?

Adjoran on September 5, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Moved indoors due to EMPTY CHAIRS.

lilium on September 5, 2012 at 2:51 PM

So, someone tell me how his making a conference call is gonna fare with the masses ???
Where will these parties be ?? Are businesses being commandeered to make this happen ??
Oh, Charlotte … What a fiasco !!

http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/09/potus-will-do-conference-call-with-outofluck-ticketholders-134495.html

“Organizers said in a conference call with reporters that they will encourage those who can no longer attend to go to watch parties in their area and to participate in the call, which President Obama will do Thursday. There are no plans for the president to address them in person.”

pambi on September 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM

I guess I’ll HAVE to watch CSPAN again tonight TO SEE IF ANYONE MENTIONS ALL OF THE SUFFERING GOING ON IN NOLA/Gulf Coast.
Nothing last night … will wait.

pambi on September 5, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Question. What happens to people who had tickets to the original venue for whom there are no longer enough seats in the new location?

Doughboy on September 5, 2012 at 10:34 AM

I’m guessing there aren’t any such people!

Night Owl on September 5, 2012 at 3:14 PM

I’ll admit. I was listening to Eastwood’s GOP Convention speech online C-SPAN, and glancing at the screen during a punchline, I imagined he was talking to an empty space in front of a teleprompter.

Empty chair’s far better.

maverick muse on September 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Obama blames Isaac on Bush. Barry inherited the flooding.

Brings Obama’s repetitive FEMA mailings to mind, each disclaiming any federal responsibility to respond to emergencies, reminding people to buy their flood insurance at least 36 days before the rains begin, providing at tax payer expense specific references to Farmer’s Insurance local agents, name/address/number.

maverick muse on September 5, 2012 at 3:27 PM

After taking GOD out of their platform, maybe they were a little worried that GOD would send down a thunderbolt and knock out Obama’s teleprompters. And you know if that happened he is done for.

KCinLV on September 5, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Behold, the Incredibly Shrinking President!

ThePrez on September 5, 2012 at 3:34 PM

How about we get thousands of Republicans to come to Bank of America Stadium, all carrying umbrellas, whether or not it’s raining. Then each of them can publicly interview the empty chair next to them, and say, “Mr. President, where’s the rain?”.

Steve Z on September 5, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Question. What happens to people who had tickets to the original venue for whom there are no longer enough seats in the new location?

Doughboy on September 5, 2012 at 10:34 AM

The campaign is sending tee shirts and coffee mugs to both of them.

Adjoran on September 5, 2012 at 3:46 PM

20% chance of rain
90% chance of fail
100% chance of empty chairs.

ted c on September 5, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Ojesus turns water into whine.

TheClearRiver on September 5, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Just saw Eastwood’s speech for the first time. Despite all the negative comments from liberals and some conservatives I thought it was utterly brilliant. Eastwood has always been the master of the understated. His use of farce to mock Obama was masterful. For a blowhard fraud like Obama, ridicule will always be the best response. Eastwood was gentle, regretful but utterly ruthless. Liberals will hate how “boring” conservatives completely deconstructed Obama using a brilliant theatrical device. The empty chair will go down in history, could be the symbol of this election. Not to mention the barbs at Biden, “we’re going to have to let you go” and the apt description of 23 million unemployed Americans as a national disgrace. The audience calling “make my day” was the perfect ending. This will open a lot of people’s eyes to the truth. It was theater in a speech.

breffnian on September 5, 2012 at 4:06 PM

BofA Stadium Kool-Aid vendors hardest hit.

jangle12 on September 5, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Have they used the “it’s quality not quantity” line yet? And this is with thousands of media people attending !
They may yet wind up in a local restaurant.

arand on September 5, 2012 at 4:25 PM

They set themselves up for this in 2008. You do it in a stadium the first time around, people will wonder why you’re not doing in a stadium the second time around. What made them think they’d be able to fill up the stadium again if they already had doubts about it beforehand? Why didn’t they just come up with some excuse months ago for why they’d be holding it in an indoor arena this time around?

This is very Ceausescu-esque.

ardenenoch on September 5, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Eastwood should have used several chairs. (BTW, those of you so ready to jump on him need to apologize—the man is a legend for a reason)

Portia46 on September 5, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Ok, now I smell fear. Fear of Eastwooding. When you keep changing plans, this is a harbinger of things to come.

Welcome to the Liberal empty chair campaign of 2012.

MrX on September 5, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Small speakers deserve small venues.

Another Drew on September 5, 2012 at 5:28 PM

“So, the outdoor event was aborted?”

kingsjester on September 5, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Snort!

sablegsd on September 5, 2012 at 5:59 PM

They set themselves up for this in 2008. You do it in a stadium the first time around, people will wonder why you’re not doing in a stadium the second time around. What made them think they’d be able to fill up the stadium again if they already had doubts about it beforehand? Why didn’t they just come up with some excuse months ago for why they’d be holding it in an indoor arena this time around?

This is very Ceausescu-esque.

ardenenoch on September 5, 2012 at 4:35 PM

To be honest, a lot of that was a scam in 2008. Those venues were full because the democratics paid for free rock concerts before the political appearances. Once little Bammie gets hard on the campaign trail we may see that again, if the performers are still interested and if the campaign can afford it.

slickwillie2001 on September 5, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Oh, and how could I forget? Are there any good photo shoppers out there? I would love see PBHO’s big zero logo displayed with an empty chair in the center!

MJBrutus on September 5, 2012 at 11:03 AM

Not an empty Chair, but you get the Idea… HERE

jrgdds on September 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM

BAD WEATHER?? You take God out of the equation and what do you expect, fair sky! God’s chair isn’t empty. He blesses those who remember Him.

aknews on September 5, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4