GOP convention to finish Thursday night

Aug. 26, 2012 at 10:17 PM
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TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Republican officials say party delegates will get Mitt Romney nominated and wrap up business by Thursday night in Tampa, Fla., despite Tropical Storm Isaac.

The GOP convention was to have started Monday, but with Isaac looming out at sea, the decision was made last week to postpone the speech-making and other business until Tuesday afternoon. On Sunday, the party officials released the revised schedule calling for the convention to begin in earnest at 2 p.m. Tuesday starting with a Knights of Columbus color guard, the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem sung by Philip Alongi, followed by a string of speakers starting with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Romney's wife Ann will be among those addressing the convention Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, delegates will be shown a video featuring Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, while his son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky will be among the afternoon speakers. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty are among the evening's speakers.

Thursday night is when Romney will take the podium, after remarks by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and others.

Meanwhile, a man with a machete posed an early test Sunday for security officials poised for protests at the convention.

Tampa Bay Online reported Jason T. Wilson, 31, of Tallahassee was arrested about 12:15 p.m. after Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies spotted a machete strapped to his leg as he walked into the political event zone.

Wilson allegedly told the deputies he was free to carry whatever he wanted and resisted when they tried to physically stop him, the news Web site said.

He was charged with possession of prohibited items in the event zone and resisting arrest without violence.

Several thousands demonstrators are expected in the city despite the bad weather expected from Isaac, and a federal, state and local contingent of police and counter-terrorism experts are on hand to maintain order.

A security bulletin from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said it was likely self-styled anarchists could try to start trouble; however, the U.S. Secret Service said it was not making any predictions on what might happen this week.

"We don't make estimates or predict what will or will not happen -- a part of our planning process is planning for any and all scenarios," George Ogilvie, a spokesman for the Secret Service, told The Hill.

The Washington newspaper said a $50 million federal grant helped the Tampa police add to its bike and horse units and also paid for new all-terrain vehicles that will carry officers to trouble spots quickly.

A so-called free speech area has been established as a secure rallying point for protesters. Republican officials said their party was all for freedom of speech and assembly.

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