Isaac forces GOP convention delay

Aug. 25, 2012 at 7:59 PM
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TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 25 (UPI) -- The Republican National Convention will start a day late in Florida because of fast-approaching Tropical Storm Isaac, GOP leader Reince Priebus said Saturday.

Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, said in a statement posted on the committee's Web site, said because of the fast-approaching storm, the decision was made to convene the convention in Tampa Monday, but then immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon. He said exact times would be announced later.

"Our first priority is ensuring the safety of delegates, alternates, guests, members of the media attending the Republican National Convention, and citizens of the Tampa Bay area," Priebus said. "RNC Convention officials and the [Mitt] Romney campaign are working closely with state, local and federal officials, as well as the Secret Service, to monitor Tropical Storm Isaac and preserve Florida's emergency management resources. Officials have predicted participants may encounter severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain.

"The Republican National Convention will take place and officially nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and the party has other necessary business it must address.

"The convention staff is working around-the-clock to ensure the delegations housed in storm-impacted areas have alternative housing if needed."

Even before the storm forced a delay, party officials had decided to move the convention speech by Romney's wife Ann from Monday to Tuesday because of TV network broadcast plans, officials said.

Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said in a statement U.S. Sen. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida "was incredibly gracious to offer his speaking slot to Mrs. Romney, and we thank him for his kind offer," USA Today reported Friday.

"However, he will remain the last speaker in prime time on Thursday night before Gov. Romney accepts the nomination," Rhoades said.

The scheduling change also meant New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez will speak on Wednesday instead of Monday.

The convention's opening day was to feature the roll call of states, in which Romney and Ryan will be formally nominated as the GOP's presidential and vice presidential ticket.

Ryan was to deliver his acceptance speech Wednesday and Romney was to speak Thursday.

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