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Hurricane Changes GOP Convention Plans

Hurricane Gustav has prompted U.S. presidential candidate John McCain to scale back plans for his Republican Party's convention.

Republican officials say this week's meeting will convene Monday as planned, but with a shorter schedule limited to official business. Senator McCain said it would not be appropriate to appear festive as Americans face the storm's threat.

The convention will be held in St. Paul, in the northern state of Minnesota. Republican officials say they will decide each day which activities to hold.

President Bush will not attend the convention so he can oversee the federal response to the storm. Mr. Bush was criticized for responding slowly to Hurricane Katrina three years ago, when he opted to share a birthday cake with McCain and held other minor events before focusing on the disaster.

In campaigning Sunday, McCain and his vice-presidential pick, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, traveled to the Gulf Coast state of Mississippi to review hurricane preparations.

Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama said he would mobilize his base of supporters to assist hurricane victims.

McCain defended his choice of Palin - a relative unknown on the national political scene - calling her "a partner and a soulmate," and saying she would be an asset as he works to reform government.

McCain said he has been watching Palin for years and he trusts her judgment on foreign issues, including the war in Iraq and Iranian nuclear ambitions.