Gustav Dampens Mood At GOP Convention

The Republican National Convention in St. Paul has dramatically scaled back opening day plans in deference to Gustav. President Bush scrapped his in-person appearance, and convention organizers are keeping official business to a minimum.

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It's Day to Day. I am Alex Chadwick. And to St. Paul Minnesota now, where the Republican National Convention is supposed to be getting underway today. Things have been scaled way back thanks to the hurricane. Day to Day producer Steve Proffitt is in St. Paul. Steve welcome to the show. And the schedule's been - I guess it's been cut back quite a lot. What's left?

STEVE PROFFITT: Well, not much. Of course the president was going to speak. The vice president was going to speak, all of that is off. Really all of the speakers are off. We recently learned that this evening Laura Bush will be speaking and possibly also Cindy McCain. But I think what they're going to be speaking about is how these delegates here can volunteer their efforts to help victims of Gustav.

CHADWICK: There is some business done by a political convention. What are they going to do about getting this process going there? What business are they trying to do today?

PROFFITT: Well, Alex, you know, it's kind of really just the cut-and-dried stuff: convene the proceedings, elect the officers, adopt the rules, approve the party platform. They are things that must be done in order to legally nominate a presidential candidate. And they're just going to kind of tick off some of those today.

CHADWICK: You have to wonder about the energy level there. I mean there were very enthusiastic Democrats last week naturally, and there had planned to be enthusiastic Republicans there in St. Paul this week, but the oomph has gone maybe.

PROFFITT: Well, I suppose there are some people who are disappointed. They really aren't showing it, of course, I haven't seen Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. He was on the short list. There are probably some restaurant owners who may have had cancellations though, Alex. Probably their from the press rather than from the delegates. As is often the case, you know, these Republican delegates are very much on message.

I met one, his name is Hugh Hallman. He's the mayor of Tempe. He's a delegate. He says that his not dismayed by the fact that all this hoopla has been canceled, and he thinks John McCain did exactly the right thing.

Mr. HUGH HALLMAN (Mayor, Tempe Arizona): I'm heartened because I think the message that Senator McCain is putting out is the right one, and that is we're Americans first. And I think most people who really understand what politics ultimately is about, recognize that that's the right message. I think the fact that he very quickly and easily makes the decision that the convention is almost irrelevant compared to what we need to deal with in the gulf coast, speaks volumes about his character.

PROFFITT: So, hearing that a lot from a lot of different delegates. They're saying we're going to make the best of it. This is a time to be Americans, not Republicans or Democrats or independents. And it seems like a lot of the activity here around the convention is now going to focus on what can we do to help the victims of Gustav.

CHADWICK: Day to Day Producer Steve Proffitt in St. Paul. Thank you, Steve.

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