Despite earlier statements by officials, the Democratic National Convention is moving President Barack Obama's Thursday night speech from an outdoor football stadium inside to the much smaller basketball arena, putting Obama in a potentially less dramatic setting — and possibly leaving many expecting to see the president's speech out in the cold.
Los Angeles Mayor and convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa was asked earlier this week about how the weather might affect Obama's speech, which was to be delivered before more than 70,000 people in the city's football stadium. "The show must go on," Villaraigosa said.
Wednesday morning, as rain fell again, the DNC gave in. It's rained every day since I arrived on Saturday. Tuesday, delegates who mistimed their departure from their hotel arrived at the Time Warner Arena drenched from a series of downpours.
Security rules forbid bringing umbrellas into the convention area. There's a huge box of confiscated umbrellas near the screening area. I'm told the entire Charlotte region is sold out of plastic ponchos. Tuesday night, delegates were begging sign wranglers to give them the black plastic garbage cans that hold the signs to use as makeshift rain gear.
The arena was a tight fit Tuesday night, the first night of the convention. It should be downright cozy on Thursday. Republican critics were quick to point to alternative weather predictions, saying the problem was filling those 70,000-plus stadium seats, not a little precipitation.