"It is my privilege to proclaim the 2012 Republican National Convention ... in session and called to order," Priebus said.
After a round of applause, Preibus announced, "the 2012 Republican National Convention stands in recess subject to the call of the chair."
Priebus also activated a national debt clock inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum that will track U.S. debt during the convention.
The main debt clock digitally ticks away in New York. The national debt is about $15.9 trillion
The second clock will measure increases in U.S. indebtedness during the four days of the convention and "draw your attention to the fiscal recklessness of the Obama administration."
During a morning news conference Monday, Mitt Romney campaign aide Russ Schriefer said convention planners would go ahead with Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday programming, The Hill reported.
The convention begins in earnest Tuesday after RNC organizers decided during the weekend to cancel Monday's events because of Tropical Storm Isaac.
"However, we are going to make sure we monitor the storm as it proceeds and see what happens over the next few days," Schriefer said.
Schriefer said plans to significantly change the RNC program weren't in the works, but convention planners were monitoring the weather.
"If we're not anything, we're quick and nimble," Schriefer said.
In Wisconsin, Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, told a hometown crowd in Janesville the GOP ticket wouldn't avoid issues such as jobs and the growing federal debt if it wins in November, The Hill said.
"We are not going to duck the tough issues and kick the can down the road. We are going to lead," Ryan said during a send-off rally. "We are not going to spend the next four years blaming other people for problems. We are going to take responsibility."
Ryan zeroed in on comments Obama has made since he campaigned in 2008, saying the remarks show Obama and Republicans differ about government's role.
He said some of Obama's remarks indicate the president believes U.S. wealth is fixed and government must redistribute it.
"That's not the government's job," Ryan said. "The government's job is to set the conditions for economic growth so it can grow the pie for everybody."
Ryan said the 2012 election is critical because it gives U.S. voters the chance to choose which path the country should take now and in the future.
"This is a defining moment for our country. We have a big choice to make," Ryan said. "We're not just picking the next president for a few years. We are picking the pathway for America for a generation."
Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott canceled his plans through Tuesday so he could focus on storm-related matters.
The White House said Obama called Scott Sunday to offer assistance "to ensure the safety of those visiting the state for the Republican National Convention."
Governors in Gulf Coast states that could be affected by Isaac based on the storm's projected track said they would bow out of the convention to prepare their states for the storm.