President Barack Obama on Thursday described the November election as, “A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.”
Floridians attending the speech have already made their choice.
The delegation of 300 plus alternates and friends accounting for a total of more than 500 of the 15,000 or more packed into Time Warner Cable Arena leapt to their feet at 11:03 p.m. as Obama concluded his acceptance speech by asking for their votes.
Former Collier County Democratic Chairman Steve Hemping was with the delegation during the speech.
“The enthusiasm was over the top. Barack always does well in these kinds of settings,” Hemping said.
Mickey Gargan, the current chair of Collier Democrats, said Obama’s speech brought together everything Democrats have been hearing all week.
“I’m really pleased to see how he summarized what everyone’s been saying. Democrats have finally realized they need to have a consistent message,” she said.
Not everyone who made the trip from Florida was lucky enough to get into Time Warner Cable Arena to hear Obama speak.
Tony McCray Jr. of Pensacola drove eight hours to be in Charlotte for the convention.
He had a ticket for Obama’s speech at Bank of America Stadium but once the venue was changed due to the threat of bad weather, he was shut out.
Obama held a phone conference with those who were denied tickets. “He basically apologized profusely but they felt safety was important,” McCray said.
He said people on the list for the stadium event will be notified of upcoming campaign appearances near them and given first crack at tickets for those. “Even though we’re disappointed, they did reach out to us,” he said.
In the meantime, McCray planned to watch the Thursday speech with other Democrats at a downtown ale house.
“After Bill Clinton last night, I don’t care where I am to see it. I’m pumped up,” McCray said.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said he too was disappointed the stadium event didn’t come off but the watch party at the ale house in Charlotte is one of more than 5,000 going on around the country.
No watch party was bigger than the one inside the arena.
“He delivered what he needed to deliver. It was fantastic,” Hemping said.
“I’m just thrilled to death,” echoed Gargan.