Carolina Journal News Reports
CJ Associate Editor Barry Smith interviews Obama volunteer Karen Fountain of Moss Point, Miss., who's disappointed she will not be able to witness the president's acceptance speech.
CHARLOTTE – Some saw wisdom in the decision by the Democratic National Convention Committee to move tonight’s nomination speeches by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden from Bank of America Stadium to Time Warner Cable Arena. Others had mixed emotions. Many were displeased.
Take Candace Brown. Brown traveled to Charlotte from her Woodbridge, Va., home in hopes of seeing the presidents speech.
“I’m bummed,” Brown said. “It’s just disappointing.”
Brown said that she has volunteered a lot of time, not just for Obama, but for other Democrats also.
“We volunteer with the campaign three days a week, with my kids,” Brown said. She said she registers people to vote and volunteers for the national Democratic Party in Washington and for the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Virginia, former Gov. Tim Kaine.
Brown said that her family was so excited about her opportunity to travel to the Democratic National Convention and see Obama. And, she’s said the trip has come at a cost. “I’ve probably spent almost $1,000, for nothing,” Brown said. In addition, her husband, a new car salesman, took off three days work to travel with her and will be missing potential sales commissions.
Citing the potential for bad weather, DNC officials decided Wednesday to move tonight’s program indoors. Charlotte has experienced rainstorms in the early part of the week, with skies clearing a bit Wednesday.
Weather forecasts called for a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms today, when convention-goers would be lined up and filing into Bank of America Stadium, and 30 percent Thursday night.
Obama held his acceptance speech Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver four years ago. A report in the Denver Business Journal leading up to the 2008 convention said that Democratic officials planned to hold the speech in the stadium, rain or shine.
Lien Reuter of Akron, Ohio, and Jessica Suboticki of North Canton, Ohio, also were disappointed in the move.
Suboticki said convention planners should have taken potential bad weather into account when setting up the event. Reuter agreed.
“I think they should have planned it out better, or at least took into consideration the location and time ofyear,” Reuter said. “I’m highly upset. I don’t think it’s fair at all.”
“That’s one of the main reasons we came here,” Suboticki said, referring to the Obama speech. “I was really looking forward to it.”
Reuter said they’d probably go to a viewing party, noting it’s not the same thing as being there.
Karen Fountain, who traveled from Moss Point, Miss., to Charlotte to work as a volunteer for Obama, said she was sad to hear of the change. She said she left an area that was hit by Hurricane Isaac last week.
“We wanted to get in so we could hear the president speak,” Fountain said. “Now we’re not going to get to see him.” Fountain said that, despite the disappointment, she’s still glad she made the trip.
John Haresch of Kings Mountain said the move is disappointing. “Everybody was looking forward to getting tougher and having a good time,” Haresch said.
Not everyone is upset, however. Take Cecelia Hendking, a volunteer from Charlotte, and Mark LaChey, a floor delegate from Detroit.
“It’s fine with me,” Hendking said. “I live uptown and I do have a ticket.”
LaChey sees the change as a mixed bag.
“They’ve got to keep everybody safe,” LaChey said, noting the danger that could be caused by a thunderstorm.
LaChey will be able to get inside the arena with his delegate credentials. But that doesn’t cover his partner.
“My partner, who is with me, he had a community credential,” LaChey said. Community credentials were given to people who wanted to attend the event at the stadium, but didn’t otherwise have a ticket.
“We thought he would be able to see him with no problem,” LaChey said Wednesday. “Now it’s certainly a crap shoot whether or not he’ll see him tomorrow night.”
Barry Smith is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.