Caitlin Thompson, Executive Editor
Caitlin Thompson is WNYC.org's executive editor.
The Democratic National Convention Committee and President Barack Obama have faced harsh criticism this week after deciding to keep the final night of the DNC at the Time Warner Arena in Charlotte, NC in from the significantly larger Bank of America Stadium. DNC officials cited concerns about the weather in keeping the event indoors, but the Obama campaign has fought off accusations that they were worried about filling the stadium to capacity.
Responding to criticism that a large portion of the public and many volunteers would be left out, the president joined a conference call with volunteers Thursday afternoon to apologize and explain the decision.
"The problem was a safety issue. I could not ask you -- our volunteers, our law enforcement, first responders -- to subject themselves to the risk of severe thunderstorms," Obama said. "And you guys can imagine, with all the magging that goes on and the security issues involved, getting 70,000 people into a place is tough; getting them out of there is even tougher."
Obama called out volunteers who had earned their public access through what the campaign called a ' 9-3-1 program, requiring nine hours of volunteer work over three days for one community credential ticket.
"So my main message is we can’t let a little thunder and lightning get us down. We’re going to have to roll with it. And while we may not be able to be together in person, I hope you’re still going to gather together at community watch parties that are happening not just here in Charlotte, but all across North Carolina, all across the rest of the country."