In a move designed to take advantage of Barack Obama's huge popularity, the Democratic National Committee announced Monday that Obama would accept his party's presidential nomination at the football stadium used by the Denver Broncos.
The four-day convention, scheduled to begin Monday, Aug. 25, otherwise will take place at Denver's Pepsi Center. The change in locales is based largely on seating capacity. While Invesco Field at Mile High seats 76,000 people, Denver's Pepsi Center only holds up to 21,000 people.
Party officials say that having Obama's acceptance speech at a much larger venue will help boost fundraising. His speech will coincide with the 45th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963.
Obama has attracted large crowds in the past. In May, he drew 75,000 people to a riverside park in Portland, Ore., just before that state's primary.
This will be the first time in nearly half a century that a presidential candidate will give his acceptance speech at a different location from the convention site. In 1960, Democrats held their convention at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. But Sen. John F. Kennedy gave his acceptance speech in front of some 80,000 at the nearby Los Angeles Coliseum, an outdoor setting.
The practice of presidential candidates accepting their parties' nomination in person only goes back to 1932, when Gov. Franklin Roosevelt of New York flew from Albany to Chicago to do so. Four years later, Roosevelt accepted the Democratic nomination at an outdoor event at the University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field before a crowd estimated at 100,000.
Conventions And Their Cities
Regarding the events in Denver, convention spokesperson Jenny Backus is quoted as saying that "lots of conventions have had no connection to their host cities, but this one is really going to take advantage of being in a state that's going to be an important general election battleground. And what better way to kick off the fall campaign and get thousands of supporters and grass roots organizers all in one place to get fired up."
But history shows that parties don't necessarily carry the states in which the conventions have been held. In fact, in the 10 presidential elections going back to 1964, each party failed five times to win the state of its convention city.