Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., plans to make his Democratic National Convention speech on Aug. 28 at the 76,000-seat Invesco Stadium in Denver, rather than using the smaller Pepsi Center, where the rest of the party’s convention will be held.
The change will allow Obama to address his largest crowd yet. A few months ago, the Illinois senator addressed a record crowd of 75,000 in a speech in Portland, Ore. Changing the location of the DNC speech — in which he will formally accept the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination — keeps in tone with Obama’s appeal to large crowds and dynamic settings.
“It’s a dramatic ‘change,’ for a campaign running on that theme,” the National Review’s Jim Geraghty wrote. “The crowd should go berserk for him.”
The Obama campaign said changing venues is an attempt to share the political moment with a large number of potential voters.
“Barack has made it clear that this is your convention, not his,” an e-mailed statement from campaign manager David Plouffe said.
Although tickets to the event will be free, the Obama team is using news of the shift to help with fundraising. On Obama’s campaign Web site, those who make a donation of $5 or more will be entered into a contest to share the moment with the presumptive Democratic nominee.
“Each of the 10 selected supporters can bring a guest, and will be flown to Denver to spend two days at the convention, culminating in Barack’s speech,” the site says.
The fundraising effort should help with Obama’s task of helping the DNC with its convention funding challenges.
In June, the Democratic National Convention Committee announced it needed nearly $12 million more to reach its goal of $40.6 million, the Associated Press reported.
DNC Chair Howard Dean denied recent allegations that the organization is struggling for funding. On a conference call with reporters Monday, he said, “we’re not over budget. (The venue change) will add additional expenses, but we believe that it is something we can do with help.”
On top of an increase in cost, the shift may pose logistical complications for the press and convention organizers, since the venue is not as easy to film as the convention site.
“By taking his moment out of a near-studio environment and turning into a rock-star moment … (Obama) will be setting a new aesthetics standard for one of the most important moments in a presidential campaign,” CBS News reported.