President Obama at his 2008 acceptance speech in Denver (Ron Edmonds, AP)
CHARLOTTE -- President Obama won't be giving a stadium speech after all.
Democratic convention officials said today that Obama's Thursday night acceptance address is moving from Bank of America Stadium to the Time Warner Cable Arena because of weather concerns.
"We have been monitoring weather forecasts closely and several reports predict thunderstorms in the area," said Steve Kerrigan, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee.
Those who have tickets for the stadium speech -- but who are not delegates and have no access to the arena -- will be invited to participate in a conference call with the president on Thursday afternoon.
"We will work with the campaign to ensure that those unable to attend tomorrow's event will be invited to see the president between now and Election Day" on Nov. 6, Kerrigan said.
Republicans mocked what some called "a convention downgrade," and offered an alternative theory for moving Obama's speech out of the Carolina Panthers' football stadium: Fear of empty seats.
"Problems filling the seats?" asked Republican Party spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.
Democratic organizers have said they had a waiting list for tickets.
NBC12 of Richmond, Va., which interviewed Obama this week, reported that the president "was hesitant to guarantee a packed house."
"Well we got to check the weather," Obama said. "But hopefully, we will have good weather and I'm looking forward to what is going to be a terrific event."
He added: "My main goal is not to worry about the logistics of the convention. My main goal is to communicate to the American people how we can move forward."
Obama accepted the 2008 Democratic nomination at the football stadium in Denver, and had hoped to replicate the experience in Charlotte.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., backed the decision to move the North Carolina speech, saying that "whether it rains or not is not in the president's control."
"We're talking about something other than being wet," Pelosi said. "It could be a danger."
Kerrigan, the convention committee CEO, added:
"We share the disappointment of over 65,000 people who signed up for community credentials to be there with the president in person.
We encourage our community credential holders and Americans across the country to continue to come together with their friends and neighbors to watch and participate in history.
The president will speak to these credential holders on a national conference call tomorrow afternoon, and we will work with the campaign to ensure that those unable to attend tomorrow's event will be invited to see the president between now and Election Day."
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David Jackson, USA TODAY