News / USA

Republican Party Opens Shortened Convention as Storm Skirts Tampa

Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus gavels the Republican National Convention open in Tampa, Florida, Monday, Aug. 27, 2012.
Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus gavels the Republican National Convention open in Tampa, Florida, Monday, Aug. 27, 2012.
The U.S. Republican Party has formally opened its national convention to nominate presidential candidate Mitt Romney, but it postponed most of the first day's proceedings Monday as a tropical storm skirted the coastline of Florida, the southeastern state hosting the event.

"So it is my privilege to proclaim the 2012 Republican National Convention in session and called to order," said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

Priebus gaveled in the four-day convention in the city of Tampa, and immediately adjourned the session as party officials rescheduled speeches and other events for the remaining three days. The delay was prompted by Tropical Storm Isaac, which forecasters said would pass more than 300 kilometers to the west of Tampa as it moves and strengthens across the Gulf of Mexico.

A resident walks along Bayshore Boulevard in between squalls blowing across the bay in Tampa, Florida, Monday, Aug. 27, 2012.A resident walks along Bayshore Boulevard in between squalls blowing across the bay in Tampa, Florida, Monday, Aug. 27, 2012.
x
A resident walks along Bayshore Boulevard in between squalls blowing across the bay in Tampa, Florida, Monday, Aug. 27, 2012.
A resident walks along Bayshore Boulevard in between squalls blowing across the bay in Tampa, Florida, Monday, Aug. 27, 2012.
Some Republicans expressed concern that Isaac could overshadow the convention if it makes a destructive landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast later this week. They said such a development may prompt the party to tone down the event's celebratory nature.

Romney aide Russ Schriefer told reporters in Tampa the campaign is following the storm's progress closely.

"You are always concerned about the people who are in the path of the storm. And as I said, that is going to be our first priority, to make sure that we are taking their concerns into account," he said. "So we take it from there - that's where we start."

He also hinted the convention schedule could be revised again.

"As of now, there are no planned changes, but we are always revisiting [the issue] ... we are quick and nimble and I think we will be able to respond to whatever we need to," Schriefer said.

The Republican governor of the Gulf Coast state of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, canceled his planned convention speech, saying he was staying home to deal with the prospect of Isaac hitting the state as a hurricane this week. He said there is "no time for politics" in Louisiana.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus unveils a large U.S. national debt clock at the opening of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 27, 2012.Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus unveils a large U.S. national debt clock at the opening of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 27, 2012.
x
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus unveils a large U.S. national debt clock at the opening of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 27, 2012.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus unveils a large U.S. national debt clock at the opening of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 27, 2012.
At Monday's brief session, Republican National Committee chairman Priebus also activated two clocks showing the growth in U.S. national debt during the four-day gathering.

"We also want to draw your attention to the unprecedented fiscal recklessness of the Obama administration as depicted by the real time national debt clock shown here in the arena," he said. "For this convention, we've actually installed a second national debt clock that will log the amount of debt that accrues during the course of this convention."

President Barack Obama, the Democratic incumbent, has said federal spending has grown at the slowest pace in decades under his watch.

A Washington Post opinion poll published Monday shows Obama and Romney in a tight race for the November presidential election. It says Romney has the support of 47 percent of likely voters compared to 46 percent for Obama - little changed from early July's figures.

Another survey released late Sunday by CNN/ORC International says likely voters believe President Obama is more in touch with their needs than is his challenger. It also says those voters believe Romney has better managerial skills and a clearer plan to fix the nation's problems.

2012 Republican Convention

- August 27-30 in Tampa, Florida
- Brings together 2,286 delegates and 2,125 alternative delegates
- Will be covered by up to 15,000 members of the media
- Direct economic impact will be $175-$200 million
- More than 7,500 volunteers are expected
The Republican National Convention proceedings are due to begin Tuesday with a roll call of state delegations to formally nominate Romney and a speech by Romney's wife, Ann. The candidate's vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, is due to speak Wednesday, ahead of Romney's acceptance speech on Thursday.

Obama's running mate, Vice President Joe Biden, canceled a series of campaign stops in Florida scheduled for Monday and Tuesday because of the storm. But the Obama campaign kept up the pressure on Republicans Sunday, releasing a movie preview-style video clip mocking the convention as a vain attempt to "do over" Romney's image.

Democrats hold their convention to nominate Obama next month.

Loading...

Some information for this report was provided by AP.


Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid