Obama disappointed over venue change for speech
Charlotte: US President Barack Obama has expressed disappointment over moving his Democratic presidential nomination speech to a much smaller venue due to bad weather forecast.
The decision to move the venue has disappointed several thousand people, including hundreds of Indian Americans, who had travelled to this city from far and wide, anticipating hearing their popular leader in a gigantic open stadium.
Organisers of the Democratic National Convention had no other choice but to cancel the final day of the three days party meet inside a stadium for which the Obama campaign had invited some 70,000 people, because of the forecast of thunderstorm on Thursday night, a possible safety hazard for thousands of people.
"I know it's disappointing," Obama said in a community teleconference for thousands of those who could not attend his acceptance speech because the change in venue from the large open stadium to a smaller indoor auditorium having a capacity of some 20,000 people.
Besides the hundreds of media and some 6,000 delegates, the Time Warner Cable Arena could not accommodate much of the people who had got tickets for the acceptance speech.
Officials said some 50,000 people had to be turned down.
They were asked by the campaign officials and even Obama to attend "watch" parties during his speech.
"I know it's especially disappointing for a lot of you who worked hard to get your tickets to the event, or travelled or planned to travel a long way at your own expense to be here," Obama said.
K Gupta, an Indian-American, who drove from upstate New York after having got a community ticket to attend the acceptance speech, said that he was deeply disappointed that he could not attend the convention.
"It's bad. I hope weather would not have had played havoc with the convention," he said several blocks away from the Time Warner Cable Arena looking desperately for a ticket to get inside the auditorium.
A democratic official later told reporters that they had to change the venue of the Obama speech from the perspective of public safety.
"We were disappointed to make that decision; I know our supporters who were coming to see tonight's proceedings in the stadium are disappointed.
But we don't consider energy an issue. It's going to be a great speech, it's going to be a great room, and we're all looking forward to it," said the official who requested anonymity.
In fact, nature has played hack with the schedules of both the Democratic and Republican conventions.
Last week, the Republican convention had to be cancelled on its first day due to Hurricane Isaac.
As a result the four-day convention was reduced to a three-day affair.