11:09 a.m. | Updated CHARLOTTE, N.C. – President Obama’s plans to deliver his acceptance speech on Thursday evening at an outdoor stadium rally has been foiled by a forecast of rain and heavy thunderstorms, aides said Wednesday, forcing organizers to scramble and move the final night of the Democratic National Convention indoors.
“We have been monitoring weather forecasts closely and several reports predict thunderstorms in the area,” said Steve Kerrigan, the chief executive officer of the Democratic convention. He said the venue change was an effort to “to ensure the safety and security of our delegates and convention guests.”
It was a disappointment for the Obama campaign, which had been working for months to build a crowd of at least 65,000 supporters for the president’s speech on Thursday. Campaign officials hoped that a packed stadium rally would answer the lingering questions about whether the energy surrounding Mr. Obama’s re-election bid is less than his first race four years ago.
A day after Jim Messina, the campaign manager, pledged to go forward with the outdoor speech “rain or shine – unless there’s a safety issue,” organizers concluded Wednesday morning that the weather was too unpredictable. The campaign dismissed suggestions that they would have had trouble filling the seats, which were distributed to people who volunteered on the campaign or waited in line for hours to get tickets.