Obama campaign volunteers will be guaranteed seats at BofA Stadium speech

Charlotte ObserverJuly 17, 2012 

President Barack Obama’s campaign has come up with a plan to reward N.C. supporters with a seat in Bank of America Stadium on the night of his acceptance speech in September.

Dubbed “9-3-1,” the plan calls for guaranteeing one credential to any Obama backer in this swing state who is willing to do campaign volunteer work for three shifts – totaling nine hours.

The chores they’ll be asked to do: Make phone calls, register people to vote, or other traditional campaign volunteer work.

Obama’s N.C. campaign and Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx will be rolling out more details during a series of news conferences this week, including one Wednesday in Charlotte, an N.C. campaign official told the Observer.

Obama volunteers and supporters in North Carolina also will be emailed information about the plan this week.

The president’s acceptance speech, set for Sept. 6, will be the climax of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, which officially begins Sept. 4.

The stadium holds about 74,000 people. But it’s not clear yet how many people will be admitted – or how “community credentials” will be distributed – after the facility is reconfigured for the convention speech, which will be televised around the world.

Volunteering three shifts over nine hours is the only guaranteed way any non-delegate will get to be there, the N.C. campaign official said.

The Charlotte-based Democratic National Convention Committee announced it would open the last day of the convention – culminating with Obama’s speech – to thousands of non-delegates as part of its claim that this year’s convention will be the “most open and accessible” in history.

Four years ago, in Denver, the Obama campaign trail blazed the idea of using a convention to mobilize and energize supporters in a key battleground state. Obama, who gave his 2008 acceptance speech in Invesco Field, went on to carry Colorado in November.

The Obama campaign and DNCC officials have acknowledged that Charlotte was chosen as the 2012 convention site in hopes of repeating that strategy this year in North Carolina, which Obama narrowly carried four years ago.

By using the “9-3-1” plan to energize – and probably swell – its volunteer ranks in the Tar Heel State, it could enhance its chances of reaching and registering more N.C. voters.

The Obama campaign also plans to contrast its plan to involve non-delegates in its convention with the Republicans’ more traditional gathering of delegates set for Aug. 27-30 in Tampa, Fla.

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