Elections 2012: Mitt Romney’s Storm-Delayed Republican Convention Limps into Motion

Mitt Romney’s Republican convention started without a bang, as planned, as party leaders staged a session while Tropical Storm Isaac churned through the Gulf of Mexico.

A destructive landfall farther north later in the week caused some troubles in creating a split screen of TV coverage between the storm and the convention. Photo: Mitt Romney/Flickr

While about 50,000 delegates still struggling to reach the final destination because of storm-delayed flights, organizers compressed their lineup of speakers into a three-day plan, capped by Romney’s speech Thursday night.

Republicans arriving at the typically partisan event were under pressure to avoid the appearance of unseemly celebration while the Gulf Coast was under threat, NDTV reports.

“What would help is if we cut some of the fluff,” said Texas delegate Brad McCally, 32. “I don’t feel like we should have a party. We need to have a little respect for the heartache that Louisiana is going to suffer as the hurricane hits land.”

The former Massachusetts governor, who has spent the past few days in New Hampshire, is scheduled to appear at the convention on Tuesday to hear his wife, Ann, deliver a prime-time address.

“She’s going to do terrific,” Romney told reporters in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire as they emerged from a preparation session.

“I like my speech. I really like Ann’s speech. Our sons are already in Tampa and they say it’s terrific there, a lot of great friends, and we’re looking forward to a great convention.”

Ann Romney’s speech is believe to increase her husband’s likability by highlighting as she will single out Mitt’s human side, while former Olympians have recently remind Americans that he saved the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics from bankruptcy.

Channel New Asia writes that the storm provides the presidential candidate with the wide range of a natural disaster casting a pall over his big moment, and he must draw a line between his political ambitions and sensitivity to those in harm’s way.

“Our thoughts are with the people that are in the storm’s path and (we) hope that they’re spared any major destruction,” Romney said earlier Monday.

Romney changed his plans and decided to arrive at Tampa two days earlier than expected, as he seeks to prevent Tropical Storm Isaac from overshadowing his coronation as the Republican presidential nominee.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who was to deliver a speech at the convention, had to cancel his plans and prepare for disaster, while vice presidential pick Paul Ryan was forced to delayed his arrival until Tuesday because of the storm.

However, the Republican candidate’s aides assured that the show would go on largely as planned as they ‘frantically repackaged four days of events into three’.

Party officials reported that the key speaking slots on Tuesday and Wednesday, culminating in Romney’s acceptance speech on Thursday, remained unchanged.

“The hurricane presents a tough situation,” said Diane Heith, associate professor of politics at St John’s University in New York.

“In purely political terms, there is a lot competing for news attention, the convention versus this hurricane. The more significant the weather event, the harder it will be for Romney to get out the message the Republican party planned,” he added.

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