President Obama told ticket-holders now shut out of his acceptance speech because of a venue change that “a safety issue” prompted the shift from the Bank of America Stadium to the Time Warner Cable Arena.
Citing concerns about bad weather, the Obama campaign moved the speech from the 75,000-capacity stadium to the 20,000-capacity arena on Wednesday. The camp countered reports that it couldn’t fill the stadium, saying there were 65,000 ticket holders and scores of journalists to fit into the stadium, as well as thousands more Obama supporters on a waiting list.
“I just want to begin by saying how much I regret that we’re not all gathering together in one place to deliver my acceptance speech tonight,” Obama told supporters on today’s conference call. “…Because of the nature of our campaign, we’ve always been about getting everybody involved, making sure everybody is participating and making sure everybody has got access. And that’s why we took a chance in Denver four years ago, and that’s why we wanted to take a chance when it came to North Carolina.”
“The problem was a safety issue,” he continued. “I could not ask you — our volunteers, our law enforcement, first responders — to subject themselves to the risk of severe thunderstorms. And you guys can imagine, with all the magging that goes on and the security issues involved, getting 70,000 people into a place is tough; getting them out of there is even tougher. And if we had started seeing severe thunderstorms and lightning, in particular, it would have been a problem. And we would have had a situation where we were putting you guys at risk.”
It started raining heavily in Charlotte after 4 p.m. today.
“So I know it’s disappointing,” Obama said. “I’ve got to tell you, I saw some of my key staff who had come down here and they’ve literally been working non-stop for months just getting the logistics of this all put together. And obviously, they were a little bit crestfallen. And I know it’s especially disappointing for a lot of you who worked hard to get your tickets to the event, or traveled or planned to travel a long way at your own expense to be here.”