Big speech, big venue

Barack Obama's campaign has officially announced that the presumptive Democratic nominee will accept the nomination not at the convention site but at a 76,000-seat stadium nearby.

Published July 7, 2008 1:45PM (EDT)

A bit of campaign news that might have gotten somewhat lost in the Independence Day fireworks haze was the report -- now confirmed -- that Barack Obama will move his nomination acceptance speech in Denver from the formal convention site (the 19,000-seat Pepsi Center) to Invesco Field, the Denver Broncos stadium that seats 76,000.

It's not surprising that the Obama campaign would want a big venue for a very big speech. Make no mistake, it will be that. When you consider the historic nature of his speech (on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" address, no less), the vast international audience it will command, the high expectations surrounding Obama's oratory, and the rapid development of new media for its secondary distribution, this could well be the most watched, listened to, heard, and generally observed political speech in, well, the history of the world. Think about it.

Indeed, it's possible that this move is less about the festive trappings of a huge and excited horde of Democrats than a matter of simple pity for the fire marshals and other security personnel who would have to control access to a Pepsi Center speech. Virtually everyone who will be in Denver for the Convention will want to personally witness Obama's apotheosis, making the typically vicious competition for credentials on Acceptance Night something terrifying to behold.

By Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is the managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and an online columnist for The New Republic.

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