2012 Democratic National Convention
2012 presidential election
Obama and Biden
Date(s)September 4–6, 2012
CityCharlotte, North Carolina
VenueTime Warner Cable Arena[1]
ChairAntonio Villaraigosa[2]
Keynote speakerJulian Castro of Texas[3]
Notable speakersJennifer Granholm
Cory Booker
Tim Kaine
Lincoln Chafee
Rahm Emanuel
Martin O'Malley
Michelle Obama
Sandra Fluke
Elizabeth Warren
Bill Clinton
Scarlett Johansson
Caroline Kennedy
Brian Schweitzer
Patty Murray
Barbara Mikulski
Charlie Crist
Presidential nomineeBarack Obama of Illinois
Vice presidential nomineeJoe Biden of Delaware
Other candidatesKeith Russell Judd, Randall Terry and John Wolfe, Jr. (disqualified)
Total delegates5,554
Votes needed for nomination2,778 (Absolute Majority)[4]
Results (president)Obama (IL): 5,415 (100%)
Results (vice president)Biden (DE): 100% (Acclamation)
‹ 2008 · 2016 ›
The Time Warner Cable Arena was the site of the 2012 Democratic National Convention
Map of United States showing Charlotte, Tampa, Nashville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Baltimore
Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Sites of the 2012 national party conventions.

The 2012 Democratic National Convention was a gathering, held from September 4–6, 2012,[5][6] at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, in which delegates of the Democratic Party nominated President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for reelection, in the 2012 United States national election.

On April 3, 2012, President Barack Obama won the Maryland and District of Columbia primaries, giving him more than the required 2,778 delegates to secure the presidential nomination.[7] He had previously announced that Vice President Joe Biden would remain as his vice presidential running mate in his re-election bid.[8] As of 2023, this was the most recent time that the Democratic Party nominated a ticket without a woman.


The convention was the 47th Democratic National Convention.

Site selection

Finalist bid cities
City Venue Previous major party conventions hosted by city
Charlotte, North Carolina (winner) Time Warner Cable Arena[9]
Cleveland, Ohio Republican: 1924, 1936
Minneapolis, Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome[10] Republican: 1892, 2008
St. Louis, Missouri Scottrade Center[11] Democratic: 1876, 1888, 1904, 1916
Republican: 1896

First Lady Michelle Obama announced on February 1, 2011, in an email to supporters that Charlotte, North Carolina, had been chosen as the site for the 2012 Convention.[12][13][14] The event was the first nominating convention of a major party ever held in North Carolina.[1] Charlotte had beaten three other finalists, Cleveland, Minneapolis and St. Louis.[15][16] It was expected that Charlotte's hosting of this event would generate more than $150 million for Charlotte and surrounding metropolitan areas and bring over 35,000 delegates and visitors.[17][18] North Carolina was a closely contested state in the 2008 presidential election, with Barack Obama winning the state's 15 electoral votes by just 13,692 votes (out of more than 4.2 million votes cast) and Democrats Kay Hagan and Bev Perdue winning close elections for U.S. Senate and Governor, respectively.[19]

On October 28, 2009, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) sent out letters to potential host cities seeking their interest in bidding for the convention.[20] The deadline for cities to submit letters of interest was January 11, 2010.[20] In March 2010, the DNC emailed interested cities request for proposals.[20] The deadline for cities to respond was May 21, 2010.[20]

On June 30, 2010, the DNC announced the four finalist cities.[15][20]

Convention activities

All three dates of the convention were held at the Time Warner Cable Arena. The last night, Thursday, September 6, was originally scheduled to be held at the 72,000-seat Bank of America Stadium, where presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama was to deliver his acceptance speech.[21] After Convention officials insisted that they would hold Thursday's activities at the stadium "rain or shine",[22] the venue was moved to the 20,000 seat indoor arena "due to thunderstorm threat."[23] Some in the media questioned the move, wondering whether it was motivated more by an inability to fill the 70,000-seat stadium and the possibility that empty seats would show a lack of enthusiasm.[24] The risk of severe weather wasn't high;[25] Charlotte NBC affiliate WCNC-TV chief meteorologist Brad Panovich tweeted that the "[s]evere threat is almost zero Thursday night & chance of rain is 20%", adding, "It's a simple question...if you had a Panthers game, concert or soccer match with a 20% chance of storms would you cancel 24 hrs prior?"[25] The date of Obama's acceptance speech caused the National Football League to move the Kickoff game, normally on a Thursday, to Wednesday, September 5, to avoid a conflict.[26] This in turn caused the DNC to move Joe Biden's vice presidential acceptance speech, normally held the day before the presidential acceptance speech, to Thursday, before Obama's speech, to avoid a conflict with the NFL game.[27]

The convention was the first Democratic convention scheduled for only three days since 1948, joining only the 1972 Republican National Convention as the only conventions in modern convention history to be scheduled for three days.

Tuesday, September 4 – Julián Castro and Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama speaks at the convention
Barbara Lee speaks at the convention
Cory Booker speaks at the convention
Charlie Gonzalez speaks at the convention
Tim Kaine speaks at the convention
Nancy Pelosi speaks at the convention
Tammy Duckworth speaks at the convention

In the opening session on September 4, the keynote speech was delivered by then-37-year-old San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. In his speech, Castro stated that "the Romney-Ryan budget … doesn't just pummel the middle class, it dismantles it...it dismantles what generations before have built to ensure that everybody can enter and stay in the middle class" and that "Now we need to make a choice...a choice between a country where the middle class pays more so that millionaires can pay less, or a country where everybody pays their fair share, so we can reduce the deficit and create the jobs of the future. It's a choice between a nation that slashes funding for our schools and guts Pell Grants, or a nation that invests more in education. It's a choice between a politician who rewards companies that ship American jobs overseas, or a leader who brings jobs back home...this is the choice before us … Our choice is a man who has always chosen us. A man who already is our president, Barack Obama", with the Global Post describing the audience as "adoring and appreciative" and the speech as "powerful words, and the audience responded with gratitude."[28]

First Lady Michelle Obama gave the final speech of the evening, stating that "Barack knows what it means when a family struggles...he knows what it means to want something more for your kids and grandkids. Barack knows the American dream because he's lived it, and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we're from, or what we look like, or who we love." Her speech lasted 25 minutes and focused on the Barack Obama she fell in love with as well as the strength of the American Spirit and those in the military. "I've seen it in our men and women in uniform and our proud military families…in a young man blinded by a bomb in Afghanistan who said simply, 'I'd give my eyes 100 times again to have the chance to do what I have done, and what I can still do."[29] Jim Rutenberg, of The New York Times, described the crowd as "electrified" by her remarks, "her impassioned delivery drawing the crowd to its feet."[30]

The speakers for the day included:

Wednesday, September 5 – Elizabeth Warren and Bill Clinton

Elizabeth Warren speaks at the convention
Former President Bill Clinton delivers his speech nominating Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination

The speakers for the day included:

David Foster was identified as a former employee of Bain Capital, advertised as an employee of GST Steel during Bain's acquisition of the then-bankrupt company in 2001, after Romney had taken a leave of absence for the company. Foster, however, was never a GST Steel employee; instead, he was an employee of the United Steelworkers of America assigned to organize the local chapter of the union.[35]

Platform vote and controversy

The Ohio delegation brought Obama's vote tally over the top
President Barack Obama subsequently accepting his re-nomination on the closing night of the convention

The original 2012 party platform caused controversy after it was written, because the typical invocations and references to God and God-given rights were omitted, and language affirming the role of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was removed. On Wednesday, September 5, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland introduced an amendment on the floor of the convention to reinsert language invoking God and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa put the amendment to a voice vote requiring a two-thirds majority for passage. After the first vote was indecisive, Villaraigosa called for a second vote, which was again met with an equal volume of "ayes" and "nos". A woman standing to his left said, "You've got to rule, and then you've got to let them do what they're gonna do." Villaraigosa called a third vote with the same result. Villaraigosa then declared the amendment passed, causing an eruption of boos on the floor.[36]

Nomination of Obama

Bill Clinton officially nominated Obama for re-election and Obama was nominated unanimously by the 5,556 delegates of the convention. During the roll call, Mississippi delayed its vote so Ohio could give Obama the nomination, putting the tally over the top of 2,778 votes.[37] The roll call continued while delegates started to leave and ended with Wyoming casting its votes in an almost empty hall.

The Balloting:

Name Barack H. Obama
Certified Votes 5,556 (100.00%)
Abstentions 0 (0.00%)
total: 5,556 (100.00%)

Thursday, September 6 – Joe Biden and Barack Obama

Vice President Joe Biden accepting his re-nomination

Nomination of Biden

Vice President Biden was nominated by voice vote.


G. K. Butterfield speaking at the convention

The speakers for the day included:

Pledge of Allegiance:

Live Music Performances:[40]

Military montage

During the last night, as Senator Kerry and retired Admiral Nathman spoke, there was a montage of military ships and aircraft, as a tribute to veterans;[41] the ships were Russian warships,[41] and the aircraft were Turkish F-5s.[citation needed] The Democratic National Convention Committee later apologized for the featuring of Russian warships.[42]

Protest activity and policing

Police working crowd control near the NASCAR Hall of Fame during Manning-related protests
Military patrol providing security to the convention
Vehicles are inspected at a security checkpoint near the convention hall

Protest activity and demonstrations was anticipated at the convention. Over ninety organizations[43] gathered into a group known as the Coalition to March on Wall St. South, and declared their intention to protest at the convention.[44] The left-leaning coalition reflected the rhetoric and ideology of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and several Occupations from North Carolina endorsed of the coalition.[43] Demonstrators said they want to call attention to the influence of corporations on politics as well as the role of the military-industrial complex in US politics; they scheduled a dance party to honor then-imprisoned soldier Chelsea Manning.[45] One group of undocumented immigrant workers travelled to the convention via bus, "The Undocubus." They risked deportation if arrested.[46][47]

Charlotte received a $50 million grant from the federal government for convention security. The city spent roughly $25 million on its police force.[48] Some of the money has been allocated to police bicycles ($303,596), software ($61,000), and a 'command center upgrade' ($704,795). The city also spent $937,852 on officers from neighboring forces.[49]

In anticipation of protest activity, the city of Charlotte passed a variety of new ordinances. These include:

These ordinances were permanent and remained effective after the end of the convention. The camping prohibition was used to evict Occupy Charlotte from its encampment in January 2012. .[51] A request by Occupy Charlotte to enjoin enforcement of the camping prohibition was rejected by a State Court judge in March 2012.[52]

The DNC was designated a National Special Security Event, and the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security did some of the policing. The Charlotte Police Department was also responsible for the areas outside the convention venues. Police noted that it would be relatively easy to surround protestors in the city's downtown business district, which is enclosed by expressway.[49]

By contract the DNC required Charlotte to create a demonstration area for people to exercise their First Amendment rights. Eventually the city of Charlotte became an open Free Speech Zone with peaceful protests, pickets, and pamphlets throughout the city.[53]



After North Carolina voters passed Amendment 1, on May 8, 2012, banning same-sex marriage in the state, several groups called for the DNC to pull the convention out of Charlotte.[54] Unions also complained about North Carolina's labor laws.[55][56] However, the DNC said that they would still proceed with their plans to hold it in the state.[57]

The leader of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz verified in an interview that North Carolina was chosen due to the controversy in the state and stated that it is "a critical battleground". When questioned about being able to raise the funds for the convention Schultz stated "We're not having a hard time raising the funds", contrary to reports.[58]

Disqualified delegates

Randall Terry, a vocal pro-life advocate and former Republican congressional and state senate candidate, received a large enough percentage of votes in the Oklahoma Primary to receive as many as seven delegates. However, the DNC has declared him as "illegitimate"[59] because he failed to inform the Oklahoma Democratic Party of the names of his delegates.[60] As such, no Terry delegates were in attendance.[60] Keith Russell Judd and John Wolfe, Jr., who have also both qualified for delegates to the convention by virtue of their performances in West Virginia (in Judd's case), Arkansas and Louisiana (in Wolfe's), faced similar obstacles to having their delegates seated.[61][62][63] Wolfe commenced legal proceedings to have delegates in his name seated[64] but lost his case one week prior to the start of the convention.[65][66]


The Democratic Party announced in February 2011 that it would not accept corporate donations to fund the convention.[67] This decision was made to increase the party's populist appeal and create distance from Bank of America and the financial industry.[68] In June 2012, the convention was $27 million short of its fundraising goals and consequently canceled some planned events.[69] The previous DNC raised $33 million from corporate donors.[70]

The Obama campaign also received less in union donations than it did in 2008.[55][56]

Corporate sponsors were able to make in-kind donations such as transportation, as well as to host parties.[67] They could also donate to a non-profit called "New American City, Inc.", which was run by the directors of the convention host committee.[55] New American City, incorporated on April 4, 2011, existed to "defray administrative expenses incurred by the host committee organizations". (The host committee, in turn, provided "goods, facilities, equipment and services".)[71]

Donors to this group included Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Duke Energy.[72]

The Party's convention funds were stored in a Bank of America account.[55] The convention also had a $10 million line of credit available from Duke Energy.[72]

See also


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  2. ^ News & Observer: LA mayor to be Charlotte convention chairman
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  11. ^ Tritto, Christopher (April 18, 2010). "St. Louis City makes play for DNC convention". www.bizjournals.com. St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  12. ^ WSOC-TV: Charlotte wins DNC 2012 Archived February 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Murray, Mark & Montanaro, Domenico (February 1, 2011) DNC choose Charlotte for 2012 convention Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  14. ^ Cillizza, Chris (02/1/2011) Charlotte will be site of 2012 Democratic National Convention Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  15. ^ a b Zeleny, Jeff (July 1, 2010) "Four Cities Vie for 2012 Democratic Convention", The New York Times. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
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  18. ^ Jim Morrill (February 2, 2011) Democratic National Convention puts Charlotte, South in spotlight Archived March 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved April 23, 2011
  19. ^ The New York Times (12/9/2008) North Carolina – Election Results 2008. Retrieved August 25, 2011.
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  22. ^ Obama campaign: DNC is on, 'rain or shine'
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  24. ^ Is Bad Weather Really the Reason to Move Obama's Speech Indoors?
  25. ^ a b Obama's Democratic National Convention speech moved indoors due to thunderstorm threat
  26. ^ "Giants to host NFC East rival Cowboys in 2012 season opener". NFL.com. March 27, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2012. The NFL announced last month that the season opener would be held on a Wednesday night instead of the traditional Thursday night to avoid a conflict with President Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention
  27. ^ Tracy, Marc (August 31, 2012). "Football Wreaks Havoc on Democratic Convention Schedule". The New Republic. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
  28. ^ "Julian Castro seeks to deliver the Hispanic vote, Analysis: The Democrats' rising star rocks the convention with an appeal to immigrants".
  29. ^ "Michelle Obama's full DNC speech". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  30. ^ Rutenberg, Jim (September 4, 2012). "Michelle Obama Tops Opening Night For Democrats". The New York Times.
  31. ^ Camia, Catalina (August 7, 2012). "Jimmy Carter to speak by video at Dem convention". USA TODAY. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
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  33. ^ Becerra, Hector (September 6, 2012. Illegal immigrant makes history, addresses Democratic convention. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
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  35. ^ Karl, Jonathan (September 6, 2012). Steelworker featured at DNC didn't work for Bain. ABC News. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  36. ^ Democrats put God, Jerusalem back in platform over objections
  37. ^ Naureen Khan (September 5, 2012). "Obama nominated". National Journal. Archived from the original on September 6, 2012. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
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  45. ^ Lennard, Natasha (August 16, 2012). "Crashing the conventions". Salon. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012. Antiwar activists and Occupy participants from around the country will take part in "Occupy the Military Industrial Complex," which aims to launch an Occupy-style camp in Charlotte's Frazier Park, beginning on Sept. 4 with a dance party "in the Charlotte streets" in honor of imprisoned Pfc. Bradley Manning.
  46. ^ Cusido, Carmen; Fred Clasen-Kelly (July 31, 2012). "Busload of illegal aliens to protest at DNC". Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on August 11, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2012. The occupants will risk deportation to demonstrate in Mecklenburg County, where sheriff's deputies check the immigration status of people who are arrested. The group will join hundreds of other illegal immigrants who could march during the convention, protest organizers said.
  47. ^ Kolb, Joseph (August 6, 2012). "'UndocuBus' Heads Toward Democratic Convention Demanding Immigration Reform". Fox News Latino. Archived from the original on August 10, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 'We're sharing our stories about being undocumented and addressing local policies that are targeting undocumented immigrants,' said Tania Unzueta, who is originally from Mexico City and now lives in Illinois. 'We want to be able to show in a very public way the power of undocumented people traveling across the country and organizing.'
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  56. ^ a b Mason, Melanie (August 11, 2012). "Democrats and labor part ways for convention". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 17, 2012. Unions, meanwhile, are aiming to assert their political autonomy in a rally Saturday in Philadelphia, which organizers say will highlight concerns of working families they believe both parties have not sufficiently addressed. [...] But many labor leaders said they have little desire to cut a big check this year, in part because union coffers have shrunk, but also because North Carolina is the least unionized state in the nation. A particular sticking point: Charlotte, which will be housing scores of Democratic delegates, has no unionized hotels.
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  68. ^ Dunn, Andrew (August 1, 2012). "BofA and DNC: Quiet mutual support". Bend Bulletin. Retrieved August 2, 2012. Party leaders, too, have sought to downplay corporate America's role. Much of it has to do with President Barack Obama's decision to eschew corporate contributions for an event typically awash in them. But public anger at the financial industry and the president's own criticism of Wall Street have put Bank of America in an even more awkward position, even though Obama will be renominated in a football stadium named for the bank.
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  72. ^ a b "Democratic Convention Benefits From Corporate Cash". NPR. Associated Press. July 21, 2012. Archived from the original on August 1, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
Preceded by
Denver, Colorado
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by