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A dampened tradition: No balloon drop for Obama

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — No balloons? What kind of a political convention is that?

With a threat of rain, there will be no downpour of Democratic balloons.

Thursday's national convention finale was supposed to be at Charlotte's huge outdoor Bank of America Stadium. Seventy thousand or more supporters cheering President Barack Obama's acceptance speech. Fireworks soaring into the skies to match the fiery rhetoric. That's the way it was four years ago as Obama stood before 84,000 exuberant followers in Denver's Invesco Field at Mile High stadium, an overflow crowd shouting approval.

But this year the rains came — every day this week in the convention city, with more possible on Thursday's final day. Thunderstorms, too, the final blow.

The finale is being moved back to the nearby Time Warner Cable Arena where the rest of the convention is being held, party officials said Wednesday.

It's a fine convention site. State delegate sections already in place. TV sky booths for the anchors. Big impressive stage. Flashy video backdrop.

But balloons? Thousands of red, white and blue balloons up in the ceiling, ready to come cascading down for the finish that America expects?

Nope. Sigh.

The Republicans had balloons aplenty, last week in Tampa, Fla.

Too late for the Democrats. But their spirits are still high. Stay tuned. Organizers are scrambling to come up with another festive way to punctuate the end of the convention.

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