Sen. Barack Obama will accept the Democratic presidential nomination at a 75,000-seat Denver football stadium, rejecting his party’s convention hall because it is too small to accommodate his supporters along with the usual convention delegates and party insiders.
Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean said Monday that moving the speech to Invesco Field at Mile High, home of the Denver Broncos, from the Pepsi Center, which seats 19,000, would drive up costs and complicate security planning, but that the extra aggravation would pay off with a dramatic Rocky Mountain tableau that reinforces Obama’s grass-roots style and historic ascent.
“Sen. Obama does not look at this as his convention; he looks at it as America’s convention,” Dean said of the Aug. 25-28 national convention. “It’s going to be new. It’s going to be different. It’s going to be incredibly exciting.”
But it is not unprecedented. John F. Kennedy delivered his acceptance speech before 80,000 people at Los Angeles Coliseum in 1960. Kennedy chose the outdoor arena to maximize the impact of his acceptance speech, with its call for voters to join him in blazing a “new frontier.”
Obama may also follow Kennedy’s lead later this month by speaking in Berlin during a trip abroad that will take him to England and France, and perhaps to Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel. An Obama campaign aide said that details about the trip are still being worked out and that a speech at the Brandenberg Gate is one option under consideration.