Hurricane Forces GOP To Scale Back Convention

The Republican National Convention is changing in response to Hurricane Gustav hitting the Gulf Coast.

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

We're going back to St. Paul, Minnesota, where the Republican National Convention is underway. Expected to be the big story all this week; somehow the hurricane got in the way of that. Producer Steve Proffitt is there in St. Paul. Steve, remind us again what is the convention going to do today?

STEVE PROFFITT: Well, they're going to stick just to the business, which is the kind of boring business of electing officers and adopting platforms. Initially they had canceled all the speeches. Now we've learned that the First Lady, Laura Bush, will speak, probably to tell the delegates the kinds of things that they might be able to do to help the victims of Gustav.

CHADWICK: We had expected to hear today from President Bush and Vice President Cheney; big, big speeches coming at this convention. Now, neither one of them is going to go there.

PROFFITT: That's correct, but the delegates here are all saying that's OK, this is a time for us to be Americans, not Democrats, Republicans and Independents, and that we should put politics in the backseat and help people who are suffering from the storm.

There is one thing, though, Alex, that is going on today, and it's a big, big anti-war march, which is gathering at the state capitol, then circling around by the Xcel Center where the convention is. So, the organizers of that event, which is taking place on Labor Day, when many people aren't working, said it was just too difficult to, to delay that event, so they're going ahead with that.

CHADWICK: I have to ask you, what are the plans for the rest of the week? I heard earlier today on NPR that Senator McCain might give his, kind of, acceptance speech not from the site of the convention but from elsewhere. What are they going to do?

PROFFITT: Well, there have been all of these rumors. There was a briefing today in which we basically learned about the Laura Bush thing, and the watchword seems to be, well, it's sort of the title of this program, Day to Day. They seem to be working this out; they're no doubt going to look today, see what sort of an impact Gustav has and figure it out from there.

CHADWICK: Day to Day's Steve Proffitt in St. Paul covering the Republican National Convention. Steve, thank you.

PROFFITT: You're welcome, Alex.

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