Yesterday, the Obama campaign repeatedly stressed that their decision to move Obama’s acceptance speech out of Bank of America stadium had nothing to do with fears that they couldn’t fill the 75,000 seat venue. They had more than enough supporters to fill the stadium, they claimed, but were very concerned about the possibility of rain or, even, lightning. Yesterday, there was a 30% chance of rain in Charlotte. Of course, there was also a 30% chance of rain when they announced the move to the outdoor Invesco Field in Denver in 2008.
The Denver Business Journal noted at the time the move was announced:
There is a 29 percent chance of at least some rain on Aug. 28, based on statistics for the last 14 years, according to Weather Underground, a website providing climate data
The Obama campaign brushed aside any concerns about rain:
Planners of the Democratic National Convention, meeting with hundreds of media representatives Tuesday, said presidential candidate Barack Obama will deliver his nomination-acceptance speech at Invesco Field at Mile High come rain or shine.
An August evening rainstorm will not move the convention’s climactic moment back to the Pepsi Center, which was to have been the site of the Aug. 28 speech until a venue change was announced Monday
Now, this 30% forecast was based on historical records, not any current real-time meteorological data. Over a month out from the convention, when the move was announced, was certainly not an unreasonable gamble. But, the important thing to note is that even a rainstorm wouldn’t cause them to move the venue.
LeCompte did say that especially severe weather might delay Obama’s speech “until it’s safe.” He did not say how bad the weather would have to get to trigger a delay.
Get that? “…especially severe weather” might delay the speech. Presumably the Obama campaign was perfectly content to let 80,000+ supporters sit-out a rain or thunderstorm until the skies parted to allow the Great One to ascend the stage. Not a word about lightning or safety. They would just wait it out until the rain stopped.
2012 clearly isn’t turning into anything like 2008 for the Obama campaign. Keep in mind that, tonight, there is currently 0% chance of rain during Obama’s scheduled speech. Its true that in the hours before the speech there is a 30% chance of rain. But, in 2008 the campaign was planning to have its supporters simply sit through any actual rainstorm.
I think it is increasingly obvious why the DNC moved Obama’s speech to a much smaller venue. Who knew, though, that Clint Eastwood was so damn prescient to use an empty chair metaphor.