Obama picks McCormick Place for election night rally


Barack Obama

plans to hold his election-night rally at Chicago’s

McCormick Place

convention center, a move aimed at easing concerns over weather and security, sources with knowledge of the event said Wednesday.

Given the indoor location, the event seems unlikely to match the electric atmosphere of Obama’s 2008 outdoor

victory rally

in Grant Park. That event drew an estimated 240,000 people downtown and created picturesque images of the city’s skyline that were seen worldwide.


While the decision to use McCormick Place will tamp down the crowd size, it will provide the president with greater security.

McCormick Place was the site of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in May, an event designated as a “national special security event” by the federal Department of Homeland Security.

Obama’s election-night rally is expected to receive the same designation.

The Obama campaign had no official word on rally plans. One source with knowledge of the event said an indoor event made security and logistics easier, avoiding the need to rent a lot of equipment and to prepare for the possibility of rain.

At the

Democratic National Convention

in Charlotte last month, the president’s nomination acceptance speech was moved from the outdoor

Bank of America

Stadium to the convention’s indoor home,

Time Warner Cable Arena

. That move was attributed to concern over storms.

Sarah Hamilton, spokeswoman for Mayor

Rahm Emanuel

, cited the

NATO summit

and the 2008 rally in asserting that “Chicago is more than capable of safely hosting this historic event.”

Still to be anounced is how ticketing will work.

In 2008, free tickets were offered online, and they quickly ran out.

Tribune reporters John Byrne and Christi Parsons contributed.