Storm Mangles Convention Plans
In the wake of a pending national emergency in the Gulf, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain announced Sunday that the Republican National Convention will be delayed. Most of Monday's schedule has been eliminated as attention shifts to Hurricane Gustave.
According to the New York Times:
Convention planners and delegates arriving in St. Paul said it would be politically perilous to hold a four-day party as Americans were evacuating New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in advance of Gustav, a Category 3 hurricane, with winds of up to 125 miles per hour, that is expected to make landfall sometime on Tuesday. The Bush administration’s unsteady response to Hurricane Katrina, which left New Orleans in ruins three years ago, outraged Americans and remains, for many, a stain on Mr. Bush’s record.
President Bush and party leaders are working round the clock to make sure the mistakes of Katrina are not repeated, both for the sake of the nation, and Republican party leadership. President Bush and Vice President Cheney have cancelled their plans to attend the convention on Monday. For his part, McCain called on party members, asking them to "take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats.”
"We must redirect our efforts from the really celebratory event of the nomination of president and vice president of our party to acting as all Americans,” said Mr. McCain, appearing with his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, and Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi. “We have to go from a party event to a call to the nation for action, action to help our fellow citizens in this time of tragedy and disaster, action in the form of volunteering, donations, reaching out our hands and our hearts and our wallets to the people who are under such great threat from this great natural disaster.
“I pledge that tomorrow night, and if necessary, throughout our convention if necessary, to act as Americans not Republicans, because America needs us now no matter whether we are Republican or Democrat.”