CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Delegates at the Democratic National Convention are counting down the hours Thursday until President Barack Obama takes the stage to official accept his party's nomination and make his case for re-election.
Excitement among the delegates lingered on Thursday, long after their chants from the night before died away following former president Bill Clinton's rousing endorsement of President Barack Obama. Clinton offered a strong defense of the current president's economic record against Republican attacks.
Diane McMillan, a teacher from the northern state of Michigan, is in Charlotte for the convention. She says Clinton brought so much excitement to the event and defended Obama's record so well, that to her surprise, even her son who’s not interested in politics called her from back home.
“And he was listening to it and sharing, so I know [Clinton] had to be saying something important if my son called and watched,” she said.
McMillan was one of the lucky ones. Even though she is not part of an official delegation, she still found a coveted spot inside to watch Clinton's speech live. Many convention delegates and reporters were stranded outside the arena when authorities closed off access hours ahead of time because of the packed house.
Now, McMillan says she is scrambling to find a spot to watch the president'sacceptance speech.
Convention organizers had planned to stage the event at the Bank of America Stadium - an outdoor location with 74,000 seats. But they have moved the speech to a much smaller indoor arena, citing the threat of thunderstorms. As a result, Obama held a conference call Thursday for the tens of thousands of ticket holders who will not be able to witness the event.
“As I travel around the country over the next couple of months, I hope we're going to be able to get together in your own towns, in your own cities,” he said.
Some delegates, like George El-Khouri from North Carolina, say the change in venue is a letdown.
“It's just so much different having 70,000 people versus 20,000,” he said.
But others, like Doris Crouse-Mays from Virginia, say it does not matter.
“President Obama can have the same amount of energy if he's talking to one person or if he's talking to 100,000."
Regardless of the venue, political analysts expect viewers from around the country to tune in to what is likely to be an important opportunity for the president to gain much needed momentum in the final two months of this close presidential race.