Democrats scramble to relocate Obama speech



CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Georgia Democrats returned to work at their national convention Wednesday and quickly learned party leaders had made major changes to the event overnight.

President Barack Obama was to accept his party's nomination at Bank of America Stadium on Thursday, but party officials decided to move the event back indoors after forecasters predicted severe thunderstorms.

The stadium holds up to 74,000 people and Time Warner Cable Arena holds about 20,000. The relocation means thousands of tickets handed out to the community, some as recently as Tuesday, will not be valid for Thursday night's speech.

"It's disappointing but I understand that it's a huge liability to have a stadium full of people and a thunderstorm does come.  I understand that but it is disappointing. I don't think it will do anything to the momentum for the enthusiasm for the campaign," ticketholder Ashley Davis told Channel 2 Action News.

Georgians learned the news as they met for breakfast in their suburban hotel. While delegates were disappointed, they were looking forward to speeches scheduled for Wednesday evening, including former President Bill Clinton.

"When he was in office, he did so much for the economy. I just think that he can deal with the issues that are so pressing for President Obama and really frame it up for people to understand the challenges that he does face," delegate Mo Ivory told Channel 2's Lori Geary.

The Democrats had not released any details about a change in schedule for Thursday, when Georgia U.S. Rep. John Lewis was expected to speak leading up to Obama's address.

"He has been a mentor for me and a great leader in the eyes of many and I'm really looking forward to hear him speak," delegate Paul Bronson told Channel 2 Action News.

Regardless of the changes and the weather, delegates Geary spoke to remained very optimistic about the overall message.

"People are talking about an enthusiasm gap. I don't see it here. People are very enthused, very excited about coming here and hearing the president's plan for going forward in America," State Sen. Vincent Fort said.

"This week is an opportunity for Democrats to tell the truth about helping the middle class. What we're going to do, what we have done and what we are going to do in the future," Fort added.

Stay with Channel 2 Action News and for continuing coverage of the Democratic National Convention. Channel 2's Justin Farmer and Lori Geary will report from the convention all week. You can also get live updates on Twitter from @WSBTV and @WSBVOTE.