The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday March 30th

Chapel Hill residents shut out of Obama's speech

Chapel Hill resident Terri Turner had planned to watch President Barack Obama’s speech Thursday night from the seats of Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.

But after heavy rain and thunderstorm forecasts forced Democratic National Convention organizers to move the speech indoors, Turner and her son were among the estimated 65,000 looking for another place to watch Obama accept his nomination for re-election.

“I understand their decision,” she said. “Electricity, giant televisions, rain and lightning are not a good mix.”

Instead, she said her family would watch Obama speak from her home.

“Even my Republican mother-in-law is planning to join us,” she said.

Convention officials announced Wednesday that the speech would be moved from Bank of America Stadium to the smaller Time Warner Cable Arena, which holds about 15,000 people.

About 75,000 people had received community, or public, credentials to attend Obama’s speech.

None of those people were admitted into the arena, though Obama held a conference call with those credential holders Thursday.

“For a politico like me, this feels like having a Super Bowl ticket — and being stuck at home watching the game with the parents,” said Russell McIntyre, a vice president of UNC Young Democrats.

McIntyre said members of Young Democrats, Tar Heels for Obama and the Black Student Movement planned to watch Obama’s speech live at UNC’s Sonja Haynes Stone Center instead.

Others watched the live broadcast at home with friends, family and neighbors.

Connie Mullinix, first vice chair of the Orange County Democratic Party, invited several friends over to watch the speech at her home.

And 150 UNC students who had planned to take a bus to the convention were also left without a ticket to the speech.

Lauren Hovis, another vice president of Young Democrats, said most students received tickets after volunteering nine hours through the Obama campaign’s 931 program, which rewarded voter registration volunteers with a ticket.

She said was disappointed she wouldn’t get to see the speech.

“I was already at the DNC, soaking in all of the convention energy,” she said.

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