People Denied? Venue Change Dampens Democrats' Convention for the Public


Republicans were quick to seize the last-minute venue change as a way for Democrats to hide lackluster support for President Obama's re-election bid.

"Democrats continue to downgrade convention events due to lack of enthusiasm -- this time they are moving out of Bank of America/Panther stadium," said RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski, according to ABC News' Devin Dwyer. "Problems filling the seats?"

Some Romney campaign aides took to the Twittersphere, indicating that Democrats' claims of severe weather reports were overblown.

"What happened 2 rain or shine?" Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul tweeted, according to ABC News' Devin Dwyer and Michael Falcone.

As of today, Thursday's weather forecast for Charlotte read, "Humid. High 86F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40 percent," according to

In Tampa, the only members of the public who attended the four-day Republican National Convention were the 10,000 GOP volunteers already in place, according to convention officials.

"A lot of that is based on security concerns," said Ken Jones, president and CEO of the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee. "Given the nature and the security of the event, it's very difficult to do truly wide-open events."

Instead of inviting the public in, Republicans relied on their convention app and a social media push, "Convention Without Walls," for people to follow along with GOP happenings.

Some political observers said the choice to include the public or not in convention activities is simply a matter of preference.

"I don't think it says Republicans are closed to the public and the Democrats are more open to it," said John Geer, chairman of the political science department at Vanderbilt University.

Conventions are almost a "four-day political advertisement," he said, and it's important for each party to get its message out as effectively as possible.

For Obama, a public event to replicate his iconic 2008 acceptance speech might be just the ticket to boost post-convention ratings and re-energize supporters.

"A huge crowd like that, with a speech that he'll obviously have worked on a lot -- he'll hit it out of the park, because that's what he's good at," Geer said.

But though Obama will have made back-to-back convention speeches open to some of the public, that doesn't necessarily mean Democrats are setting a precedent yet.

"[If Obama loses], they'll re-think everything they did," Geer said. "If it works, it's likely to be continued, but it really depends."

Convention organizers said they will email community credential ticket holders today with dial-in information to President Obama's conference call Thursday.

An Obama campaign official said today that ticket-holders who are shut out from seeing the speech Thursday will "all get a personal touch from this campaign" over the next few months, reported ABC News' Devin Dwyer.

ABC's Devin Dwyer, Michael Falcone and Sunlen Miller contributed to this report.

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