BLOG: Scrambling to change plans

August 31, 2008 7:57:49 PM PDT
The Republicans are in crisis mode trying to rework the convention due to Hurricane Gustav. When I arrived in Minneapolis - St. Paul, I quickly learned that the RNC had suspended most of its convention program and would only conduct official business tomorrow. I immediately thought about the group of New York delegates from Syracuse I ran into at the hotel. They had just arrived after driving 17 hours straight. I am sure they feel a sense of disappointment. Many of them plan for months, take vacation, and look forward to the convention because of the high-profile speakers and the parties.

But the disappointment is tempered with the harsh reality of Gustav - how hundreds of thousands of people along the Gulf coast are suffering right now and also how the timing of the storm presents the McCain campaign with a tricky dilemma.

Diana Williams talked to a number of the delegates, and they all told her they support McCain's decision to suspend the celebrations on Monday.

But there may be at least one moment of excitement on the convention floor tomorrow. Security put us on hold coming out of the media camp, but wouldn't tell us why. We wondered if it was because someone high profile had just arrived.

A few minutes later, we were allowed to come into the convention center, and we were all surprised to see First Lady Laura Bush on the stage conducting a mic check. Ann Compton of ABC News reports that the First Lady may address delegates at some point tomorrow. But there are no guarantees at this hour. If she does, it will be interesting to see the tone she sets considering Gustav will be bearing down on the coast.

Political convention programs are set weeks in advance, but suddenly the RNC is a work in progress. The organizers know a lot is riding on how they handle it.

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