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Saturday, August 25, 2012

With Storm Approaching, Republicans Cancel First Day of Convention


TAMPA - Republicans on Saturday canceled the first day of their national convention, saying their first concern was for the safety of delegates and guests in the face of Tropical Storm Isaac, headed toward Florida's west coast and strengthening.

“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,” Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement.

“RNC Convention officials and the Romney campaign are working closely with state, local and federal officials, as well as the Secret Service, to monitor Tropical Storm Isaac and preserve Florida's emergency management resources. Officials have predicted participants may encounter severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain.”

The convention will officially open on Monday but w ill immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon at a time to be determined later, Mr. Priebus said.

But convention planners stressed that the official business of the convention - nominating Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan - will go on as planned later in the week.

“The Republican National Convention will take place and officially nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and the Party has other necessary business it must address. We also are remaining in constant contact with state and federal officials and may make additional schedule alterations as needed,” Mr. Priebus said.

Republicans Consider Whether to Cancel First Day of Convention


TAMPA - Republicans here are warily eyeing the rapidly approaching Tropical Storm Isaac and are considering whether they will need to cancel the first day of their nominating convention on Monday, officials said.

Top aides to Mitt Romney who are in charge of the convention planning have scheduled a news conference call for 6:45 p.m. Eastern time to discuss the convention and the approaching storm.

A news release says the topic of the call will be to “discuss Tropical Storm Isaac and preparations to ensure the safety of Florida residents and visiting R.N.C. convention delegates and guests.”

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Russ Schriefer, a top aide to Mr. Romney, will lead the conference call.

Canceling the first day would disrupt a carefully planned schedule that had been designed to highlight Mr. Romney's qualifications and offer a critique of President Obama.< /p>

But the three broadcast news networks had already deemed the first day to be less interesting, deciding not to carry any of the prime time speeches live from that night.

In response, convention planners had already moved Ann Romney's planned Monday night speech to Tuesday.

As of Saturday evening, the tropical storm was headed into the Gulf of Mexico after battering Haiti. The track of the storm suggested that it could bring heavy rains and winds to south Florida and perhaps to the state's western coast, where Tampa is located.

Romney Compares Protesters to a Greek Chorus


POWELL, Ohio - Mitt Romney had a message for the protesters who greeted him and Representative Paul D. Ryan, along with 5,000 supporters, here on Saturday morning: “This is kind of like the Greek chorus in the background,” he said, in a reference to President Obama's speech four years ago at the Democratic convention in Denver, which he delivered in front of large Greek columns.

“Everything they do reminds us of Greece and we're not going to Greece,” Mr. Romney said. “We're going to get America back to being America.”

Mr. Romney said he had re-read Mr. Obama's Denver acceptance speech, and that it was “really a brilliant speech.”

“He says marvelous things,” Mr. Romney said . “He just hasn't done them.”

He returned to the Greek theme later in his speech, using the protesters to attack Mr. Obama's record.

“Our Greek chorus out there is chanting, ‘Four more years!' ” Mr. Romney said. “Do you want four more years of high unemployment? Do you want four more years of declining wages? Do you want four more years of home values in the basement? Do you want four more years of the big banks getting bigger, the small banks getting smaller? Do you want four more years of Barack Obama?”

As the crowd shouted “No,” Mr. Romney replied: “Neither do I.”

Mr. Romney, who often uses his wife, Ann, to make a pitch to female voters, made the appeal himself Saturday.

“Just a word to the women entrepreneurs out there,” he said. “If we become president and vice president, we want to speak to you, we want to help you. Women in this country are more likely to start businesses than men. Women need our help.”

He returned to the topic later.

“I want to speak to the women of America who have dreams, who begin businesses in their homes, who begin businesses out in the marketplace, who are working in various enterprises and companies: I want you to be successful,” he said. “Our campaign is about making it easier for entrepreneurs, women and men, to start businesses, to grow businesses.”

Even Mr. Ryan got in on the routine. Talking about growing “the pie so everybody has a chance at the American idea,” he made sure to use the female pronoun.

“We want every American to be able to achieve her potential,” Mr. Ryan said.

The Weekend Word: Crisis Management


Today's Times
- A 1968 car crash in France and the 1998 diagnosis of Ann Romney's multiple sclerosis were dark moments in what has otherwise seemed a charmed existence for Mitt Romney, Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes. Both offer clues into the Republican nominee's character and the way he reacts to challenges.

- The Capitol dome has 1,300 known cracks and breaks, and, according to the architect of the Capitol, has become a “public safety issue,” Jennifer Steinhauer reports. The dome is imperiled not only by inclement weather, but by tough economic times and a politically polarized Congress, with the Senate appropriators voting to repair the dome and their House counterparts saying there is not enough money to do so.

- After President Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage, coupled with the standoff between his administration and Catholic bishops over birth control, Republicans are sensing an opportunity to cut in to the advantage that Mr. Obama had among Catholic voters in 2008, Laurie Goldstein reports. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York will deliver the benediction at the Republican National Convention â€" a sign of a more aggressive push by Republicans to win over that voting bloc.

- While Mitt Romney's campaign will run a video tribute to Representative Ron Paul at the Republican National Convention, it is also proposing a new rule that would prohibit states from holding nonbinding primary contests and then picking delegates at a later state convention, Michael D. Shear reports. Mr. Paul used the existing process to amass a large delegation this year, primarily in states where Mr. Romney had won highly publicized but nonbinding contests.

- Representative Todd Akin's Senate campaign is seemingly reinvigorated after beating back attacks from the Republican establishment, John Eligon writes. He used his first public appearance since the controversial comments about ra pe victims as an effort to turn the focus back to his opponent, Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri.

- Mitt Romney seemed to make a joke about President Obama's birth certificate at a campaign stop in Michigan, but his aides quickly walked back the comments, saying he was only sharing his state pride, Ashley Parker and Trip Gabriel write. But other remarks by Representative Paul D. Ryan seemed to emphasize a cultural difference between his ticket and Mr. Obama's.

Weekly Address
- President Obama used his weekly address to add what he called “some actual facts” to the current political melee over Medicare, saying that there are “a lot of accusations and misinformation flying around.” He said that the health care overhaul has helped give older Americans deeper discounts on prescription drugs, made sure preventive care like mammograms and other cancer screenings are free without co-pay, and extended the life of Medicare by almost a decade. H e said he was willing to work with anyone wanting to improve the current system, but derided the plan by Congressional Republicans to turn Medicare into a voucher program. “I think our seniors deserve better,” he said. “Here in America, we believe in keeping our promises â€" especially to seniors who have put in a lifetime of hard work and deserve to enjoy their golden years.”

Around the Web
- The Romney campaign has barred one of its spokesmen in Colorado from dealing with the press after it was revealed that she prohibited a journalist from asking questions about abortion or Representative Todd Akin, Politico reports.

- Members of the tech community took to Twitter to voice their disappointment in the gender imbalance among the new crop of fellows selected for the White House Presidential Innovation Fellowship Program, The Hill reports.