CHARLOTTE, September 5, 2012 — Word around the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte where the Democratic National Convention is taking place is that there isn’t anything to write about.
That may be changing on the second night of the convention as weather, speakers and the NFL all seem to be converging to at least create something noteworthy for cynical reporters.
Around noon on Tuesday, the DNC stopped construction on the massive stage at Bank of America Stadium where President Barack Obama was scheduled to give his acceptance speech on Thursday night.
Unstable weather has played havoc with the convention since it began on Tuesday. It even created problems on Labor Day when a downtown festival was interrupted by showers in mid-afternoon.
Forecasts for Thursday night call for 40% chance of rain during the day with slightly less probability during the evening. But the prospect of lightning could disrupt the event even if rain does not, so, as a safety factor, the decision was made to move the proceedings indoors and do another night at the current venue.
Republicans immediately jumped at the opportunity to claim that the rock-star atmosphere of four years ago when Obama made his spoke in Denver has greatly diminished and the chances of filling 60,000-plus seats was a bigger factor than the weather.
The stadium where the Carolina Panthers play their home games during the regular NFL season holds approximately 72,000, but several thousand seats behind the staging area would not have been used for the final night.
Perhaps the biggest fallout from the change is the number of people who will no longer be able to attend Obama’s speech. Thousands of people, supporters and non-supporters alike, stood in line for several hours to obtain tickets to hear the president’s address at Charlotte’s first national political convention.
One of many speeches that will go as planned will happen when Bill Clinton takes the stage on Wednesday night. Much has been written and said about the animosity between Clinton and President Obama, resulting in rumored concerns within the Party that the former president might make a detour that could be detrimental to the current president.
Most of that is media hype, but the anticipation surrounding Clinton’s comments and curiosity about how he will address the delegates and the nation is not. Clinton is clearly the most anticipated speaker on the three-day docket. That said, there is also some apprehension that Clinton might overshadow Obama.
The most formidable competition to Clinton’s speech comes from the NFL. The football season kicks off between the Cowboys and the Giants about an hour before Clinton speaks. The ratings for the competing events will make for interesting comparisons and discussions on Thursday morning.
A concern for the president is that on Friday the employment statistics for August will be released within hours of his speech. With the rapid see-saw mindset of the media going from one hot story to the next, some of the impact of Obama’s showcase event could be dampened by more than the anticipated rain.
In the grand scheme of things, none of these events will matter much come November, but given the grousing by some members of the press, there seems to be plenty of food for thought and news stories on the immediate horizon.
Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in
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