Can Obama fill Bank of America stadium for his speech?
Democrats have been fretting about the crowd for the final night of the convention which will be held at the Bank of America stadium in Charlotte. The stadium holds 74,000 people and with convention delegates, workers, and party officials expected to fill out only about 1/3 of that number, the Obama campaign has been desperately casting about for warm bodies to fill the remaining seats.
College students from across North Carolina will arrive in Charlotte by the busload. Same with members of predominantly black churches in neighboring South Carolina.
Their goal: help fill a 74,000-seat outdoor stadium to capacity when President Obama accepts the Democratic nomination Thursday night.
Anything short of a full house on the final night of the Democratic Party's national convention will be instant fodder for Republicans eager to use empty seats as symbols of waning voter enthusiasm for Obama.
Democrats have been fretting for months over whether the president can draw a capacity crowd at Bank of America Stadium. Polls show voter enthusiasm is down, as are Obama's crowds for his battleground state campaign rallies.
Obama advisers insist the stadium will be filled when Obama delivers his speech. Vice President Joe Biden also will speak Thursday night, along with Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who will vouch for Obama's national security credentials.
"The response we've seen from the community has been incredible and it's obvious that people have a big interest in owning a piece of the most open and accessible convention in history," said Adam Fetcher, a campaign spokesman. "President Obama's speech on Thursday night will bring this election into focus for the American people, and it will be even more significant because so many North Carolinians will be there to see it."
Sounds to me like a little misdirection by the Obama campaign. All this hand wringing about filling the stadium could very well serve the purpose of lowering expectations. They may hand out thousands of more tickets than there are seats just to be able to say that they had to turn away a multitude of enthusiastic Obamabots.
If the Obama campaign can't find 50,000 supporters willing to see their president within a couple of hundred miles of Charlotte, that would be news indeed. But it looks like they'll make it with several thousands to spare.