Just a contingency plan, of course (wink, wink). Face with the prospect of all those empty seats, Democrats are scurrying for cover to protect the frail image of President Empty Chair. This all could have been avoided if Obama’s massive ego hadn’t gotten in the way.
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.
Images of rows of empty seats at the stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers, as Obama speaks on Thursday night would be politically disastrous – an enduring image of the contrast between his campaign of ‘hope’ and ‘change’ in 2008 and his dour, negative struggle for re-election in 2012.
Now, it looks like the weather has come to the President’s rescue.
As officials prepare to begin the convention this afternoon, there are strong indications that the speech will be moved to Time Warner Cable Arena, which has a capacity of just over 20,000.
Speaking at a background briefing for the press, a Democratic official said that the speech would be given in the stadium ‘rain or shine’ before quickly adding a major caveat.‘We do have a contingency plan, though, for lightning or other severe weather,’ he said. ‘We don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way so that’s really what we’re looking for, not if it’s going to rain but if it’s going to be really bad.