GOP Convention Will Convene Monday, Recess Until Tuesday
(AP/NBC MIAMI) TAMPA - Republican officials abruptly announced plans Saturday evening to scrap the first day of their national convention, bowing to a threat posed by Tropical Storm Isaac, churning toward Florida.
"Our first priority is ensuring the safety of delegates, alternates, guests, members of the media attending the Republican National Convention, and citizens of the Tampa Bay area," party chairman Reince Priebus said in an emailed announcement that followed private conversations involving presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign, security officials and others.
Priebus added that forecasters have predicted that convention-goers "may encounter severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain" on Monday, the day the convention had been scheduled to open.
The announcement said that while the convention would officially be gaveled into session on Monday as scheduled, the day's events would be cancelled until Tuesday.
That meant Romney's formal nomination would be postponed by a day, from Monday to Tuesday, but the balance of the four days of political pageantry and speechmaking would go on as scheduled.
Romney later tweeted his support of the decision. "The safety of those in Isaac's path is of the utmost importance. I applaud those in Tampa making appropriate schedule changes. #GOP2012."
The former Massachusetts governor campaigned in battleground Ohio during the day, pledging to help women entrepreneurs and innovators who are eager to create small businesses and the jobs that go with them. It was an economy-themed countdown to the Republican National Convention taking shape in a city already bristling with security — and bracing for a possible hurricane.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott had earlier announced that he's withdrawing from all convention activities on Monday due to Tropical Storm Isaac.
At a news conference Saturday, Scott said he would be flying to Tampa Saturday night but had made the decision to cancel his speech and other activities at the event.
He said his next briefing would come Sunday morning from Tampa.
Scott had declared a state of emergency in Florida on Saturday.
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