POLITICS

Isaac leaves GOP scrambling to reshuffle convention

By |
Politics,Congress,Susan Ferrechio,Campaign 2012

TAMPA, Fla. - As Tropical Storm Isaac churned into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, Republican National Convention officials scrambled to reschedule Monday's lineup of speakers after scrapping the first day of the session due to the looming inclement weather.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will open the session at 2 p.m. Monday but will almost immediately gavel it closed, organizers said Sunday.

Party officials made the decision Saturday to start their convention a day late. At the time, Isaac's trajectory appeared more of a serious threat to Tampa. It's now veered further west but is expected to bring wind, heavy rain and potential flooding to the area.

Despite the loss of a day, organizers said no headliners were cut from the speaking roster.

Ann Romney, who was scheduled to address delegates Monday, will instead take the stage Tuesday. Another Monday speaker, Republican Senate candidate and Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz, of Texas, will also get his turn on Tuesday.

Convention organizers even found a speaking slot for former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who in recent days put himself in opposition to the Romney camp by continuing to endorse Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin. Romney has called for Akin to drop out after he questioned the legitimacy of some rapes and whether they can result in pregnancy. Huckabee will speak Wednesday.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who will deliver the convention's keynote address, remains on Tuesday's roster.

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will address delegates Wednesday, as was previously scheduled, and Thursday will conclude as it traditionally does, with the Republican presidential nominee, in this case Mitt Romney, delivering his acceptance speech.

An RNC organizer said Sunday that planners were able to accommodate most of Monday's speakers by starting a little bit earlier Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, "and maybe making a few of our speeches shorter."

But Republican strategists told The Washington Examiner that the party has lost an entire day to deliver its message and showcase its candidates.

For instance, Monday's theme of "We Can Do Better" was to be the opening salvo of the GOP in its case against President Obama's policies. Now that message won't get its own day but "will become part of our overall theme," an organizer said.

And some key speakers will remain home in order to monitor the storm. Perhaps the most notable is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has declared a state of emergency in preparation for Isaac's likely direct impact there.

"There are a lot of rising stars that America has not met yet," Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak told The Examiner. "It's going to be more compact. So instead of someone having 12 or 15 minutes, they are going to have four minutes now. It's just less time."

Republicans said they are monitoring the storm and it is possible more changes to the schedule will take place. Four years ago, the RNC suspended action for a day in St. Paul, Minn., so organizers could monitor Hurricane Gustav as it made landfall on the Louisiana coast.

sferrechio@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment