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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Obama\'s Speech Will Be Outdoors, Unless Safety Is an Issue, Aides Say


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - If the Carolina Panthers can play in the rain, President Obama can speak in the rain.

That is the guiding principle behind one of the biggest questions here at the Democratic National Convention: Will the weather allow Mr. Obama to carry through with delivering his acceptance speech on Thursday evening to an outdoor stadium crowd of about 65,000 people?

Jim Messina, the president's campaign manager, has a quick answer to that question.

“We plan to be there rain or shine - unless there's a safety issue,” Mr. Messina said, speaking to reporters at a Bloomberg News breakfast here on Tuesday. “We'll continue to monitor the weather. It's going to be a special moment, and we' re really excited about it.”

A week after Tropical Storm Isaac forced Republicans to cancel the first day of their convention, storms are also threatening Charlotte. A driving rain here on Monday afternoon and evening welcomed the convention delegates as they arrived.

The threat of storm is not a concern for the first two days of the convention, which will be held indoors here at the Time Warner Cable Arena. But the president is reprising a move from the Democratic convention four years ago and taking his acceptance speech outdoors to Bank of America Stadium.

Convention organizers are checking weather reports on the hour. Some forecasts for Thursday call for a 30 percent chance of rain. If that comes true, the president will speak. His aides note that he has delivered some of his best speeches in the rain.

If lightning or tornadoes threaten the area on Thursday, plans may change, since supporters will begin arriving about 10 hours before the speech to clear security.

But campaign officials are turning to local officials for guidance with this overriding thought in mind: If the weather would be good enough for the Carolina Panthers to play in the rain, it will be good enough for the president.