Republicans Stay Upbeat Despite Convention Rain Delay

    Delegates watch a video presentation during an abbreviated session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012.
    Delegates watch a video presentation during an abbreviated session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012.
    Alex Villarreal
    TAMPA, Florida — Postponements and hurricane warnings did little to dampen the spirits of Republican party faithful in Tampa, Florida, Monday for their party's presidential nominating convention. Party officials cut back the day's events to a 10-minute opening ceremony as Tropical Storm Isaac surged through the nearby Gulf of Mexico, but many delegates were undeterred.

    Wind and rain from Isaac lashed Tampa early Monday, but the impact was much weaker than anticipated. Tornado warnings were issued shortly before the convention was gaveled open, but an overnight downpour had ended and Florida's famed sunshine was breaking through the clouds.

    Even so, a heavy security presence and the decision to cancel most of Monday's events had turned the area around the convention site into a virtual ghost town.

    Convention volunteer Will Rubens says even many of those tasked with working the convention stayed away. “The local volunteers we gave them the day off, because we didn't want them to drive here in bad weather in case it got really bad,” Rubens said.

    Republican leaders opened the convention with a simple 10-minute session in a mostly empty arena, the sound of a gavel signaling the official start of what will now be a three-day event.

    Organizers suggested there could be more changes to the convention schedule depending on the storm's impact along the Gulf Coast. The National Weather Service says the storm could be on track to strike New Orleans, almost exactly seven years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana city.

    “We are going to make sure that we monitor the storm as it proceeds and see what happens over the next few days,” said Chief convention planner Russ Schriefer.

    But convention officials said they still expect a successful event.

    Local businesswoman Angela Gard is overseeing the souvenir merchandise being sold at the convention - from t-shirts to hats to key chains, many featuring the Republican Party's signature elephant symbol.

    “Other than canceling for today, I don't think it's affected much of anything. We actually have people very interested in coming into the shop and shopping, so that's good for us,” Gard said.

    That positive attitude was echoed by delegates to the convention - individuals who were chosen by party officials in their home states to cast the votes that will formally make former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney the Republican candidate to challenge President Barack Obama.

    The delegation from Wisconsin, the home state of Romney's vice presidential pick Paul Ryan, was busy Monday morning posing for photographs at their hotel.

    Wisconsin Lieutentant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch says there is still a “tremendous amount” of energy and excitement.

    “There's a 16-point enthusiasm gap in Wisconsin right now. That means there are more Republicans who are enthusiastic about getting out there and voting for the Romney-Ryan ticket, the comeback team in November, than Democrats are enthused about voting for the failed policies of the president. And so I don't know that Isaac can rain on our parade,” she said.

    High-profile party members used the day to energize delegates and focus their attention on key issues. One of those events was led by Newt Gingrich, an unsuccessful contender for the Republican nomination. Gingrich conducted the first of several scheduled seminars dubbed “Newt University.”

    “When you talk about who's tearing up Medicare, it is in fact Obama, but we want a fact-based campaign, because we will win a fact-based campaign by a decisive margin,” Gingrich said.

    Delegates will hear from more of the party elite beginning Tuesday when the convention gets fully under way. Among those delivering speeches are Romney's wife, Ann, and convention keynote speaker New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

    • The weather was overcast and raining early Monday, when the convention site was largely deserted except for media and security in Tampa, Florida, August 27, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
    • Developments about Hurricane Isaac were closely watched at all parts of the convention site. (J. Featherly/VOA)
    • RNC banners are hung all over Tampa, Florida, August 27, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
    • One of the many security checkpoints leading to the Republican National Convention. (J. Featherly/VOA)
    • Streets within the security cordon were deserted ahead of the convention in Tampa. (J. Featherly/VOA)
    • All televisions were tuned to weather coverage inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum. (J. Featherly/VOA)
    • The Tampa Bay Times Forum before the convention was due to be briefly called to order, August 27, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
    • Officials meet on the main stage at the Republican National Convention shortly before it was called to order for ten minutes, Tampa, Florida, August 27, 2012. (N. Pinault/VOA)
    • Seating assignments are put out ahead of the convention, Tampa, Florida, August 27, 2012. (N. Pinault/VOA)
    • The debt clock on display at the Republican National Convention. (J. Featherly /VOA)
    • The Tampa Bay Times Forum before delegates began arriving. (J. Featherly/VOA)

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora