Lightning threat forces Obama to change convention plans

Updated at 10:22 a.m. ET

(CBS News) CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- 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 65,000. The basketball and hockey arena, however, seats just around 20,000.

The Obama campaign said this week that they would keep the events in the stadium through rain but that it would move to the arena if lightning posed safety threats. Rain has hit the Charlotte area every day since Saturday, with remnants of Hurricane Isaac drenching the area Tuesday.

The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) said that Mr. Obama will address those with "community credentials" to attend his speech in a conference call Thursday. To obtain community credentials, Obama supporters participated in the campaign's "9-3-1" program, which required nine hours of campaign volunteer work over the course of three days in order to get one credential. After that, the volunteers had to wait in line for their credentials.

The convention committee is promising that those unable to attend will be invited to see Mr. Obama sometime between now and Election Day. For now, the convention committee is encouraging those with "community credentials" to attend watch parties.

"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," DNCC CEO Steve Kerrigan said in a statement. "The energy and enthusiasm for our convention in Charlotte has been overwhelming and we share the disappointment of over 65,000 people who signed up for community credentials to be there with the President in person."

The effects of Isaac curtailed the Republican National Convention a week earlier in Tampa, prompting the GOP to cancel the first day of their convention.

Romney last week addressed the Republican convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, which seats around 20,0000. In 2008, Mr. Obama spoke to a full house at Invesco Field in Denver, which seats more than 75,000 for football games.

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

Download
The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App