Follow The Money

Obama To Give Convention Speech At Charlotte's Bank Of America Stadium

Most current signs point to a very competitive re-election campaign for President Obama which means he's going to need to fire up every Democratic foot soldier and fundraiser possible.

Thus, the Obama campaign team's decision, announced Tuesday, to have the president give his nomination acceptance speech at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., home of the Carolina Panthers, makes sense politically and financially. (They also decided to shorten the convention to three days from four though a spokeswoman for the convention says the budget for the convention remains unchanged at $36.65 million.)

For Obama, it's partly about trying to recapture the excitement of his 2008 acceptance speech at what was Denver's Invesco Field at Mile High at the time (it's now Sports Authority Field.)

And that excitement will be essential since the president is trying to win re-election against the backdrop of an economy that still has relatively high unemployment, typically a difficult for a president trying to win a second term.

Using the stadium instead of Time Warner Cable Arena allows the campaign to cram many more people into what will essentially become the world's largest political rally. B of A stadium can hold more that 73,000 compared with the 20,000 or so for the arena.

With the president trying to win North Carolina's electoral votes as he did in 2008, being able to get more of the activists he's counting on to get out his vote come Election Day into the stadium could make the critical difference for Obama if it motivates his campaign workers to raise their game.

The change is also about money and lots of it. Bloomberg News reports that Democratic officials tasked with raising money for the convention have faced difficulty reaching their goals because of the Obama campaign's self-imposed ban on money from lobbyists and corporations. Having more skyboxes to sell in the stadium versus the arena might help.

Some are raising the point that maybe it's not the best idea for the president to give his big speech at a stadium named for a bank that has become, in many minds, synonymous with the mortgage mess.

But keep in mind, while B of A may be a dirty word for many, it's not in North Carolina and certainly not in the Charlotte area which has become one of the nation's most important financial centers.

In an another attempt to reach North Carolinians on their own terms, the convention will also get underway at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Labor Day.

And in an effort to make a virtue out of the necessity to get every last potential Obama voter to the polls, Democratic Party officials are spinning their shortening of the convention as giving them one more day to organize "and celebrate" North Carolina, neighboring Virginia and elsewhere in the South.

(This post was revised to correct an earlier statement that convention organizers would save money by shortening the convention by a day. The convention's budget remains unchanged, a spokeswoman said.)

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