While it is customary for presidential candidates to formally accept their party’s nomination at the site of the convention, Senator Barack Obama won’t be following this tradition when the Democrats take over Denver’s Pepsi Center later this summer. As The New York Times reported this morning, Obama will instead open the August 28 event to the public at Invesco Field, home of the Denver Broncos.
“This convention is meant to be opened up to the American people,” said Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean of the decision to move to the outdoor venue that holds over 75,000 people—dramatically more than the Pepsi Center’s capacity of 19,000.
This won’t be the first time Obama has forgone a more traditional venue for the grandeur of an outdoor football stadium during this election. His campaign gained considerable momentum in December with a key rally at the University of South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium, where Oprah Winfrey gave him a formal, public endorsement.
Obama also isn’t the first candidate to make such a move. He joins President John F. Kennedy as one of a handful of nominees to ditch the convention hall for a public venue. Kennedy made his 1960 acceptance speech to a crowd some estimated at 50,000 at Los Angeles’s Memorial Coliseum.
As for Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee will stick to the convention hall. His speech is expected to take place at the Republican National Convention venue of Minneapolis/Saint Paul’s 18,000-seat Xcel Energy Center. The Republican National Convention Committee released a statement this morning shunning Obama’s plans as “theatrics.”