Storm spells problems for ‘bump’ GOP expected from Tampa convention

Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video

By Jim Rutenberg and Michael Shear. With the Tropical Storm Isaac now forecast to roar northwest past Tampa on Monday and Tuesday, officials scrambled to reconfigure what had been a four-night schedule into three and to make contingency plans for further changes.

But even if the storm largely bypasses this region, it holds the risk of creating an uncomfortable split-screen image, especially if it continues barreling toward New Orleans. The governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama declared states of emergency in anticipation of the storm.

Republicans were wary of the optics of television coverage split between the revelry and partisanship surrounding Mr. Romney’s nomination and the threat of the storm making landfall in Louisiana or Mississippi seven years to the week after Hurricane Katrina left an American city in ruins.

At the very least, Mr. Romney’s image makers were coming to terms with sharing the news spotlight with the storm just as they were hoping their gathering would give their candidate the exposure he needs to surge ahead of President Obama.

Instead of focusing on the convention and on Republicans descending on the swing state of Florida, local news outlets were giving constant and increasingly urgent updates on the storm’s path. Network correspondents here were girding to be reassigned from convention coverage to hurricane coverage, heavy rain gear and all. Fox News Channel said it was diverting a marquee anchor, Shepard Smith, to New Orleans from here. Read more from this story HERE.

Due to state of emergency, Gov. Bobby Jindal decides to stay in Louisiana rather than attend the Tampa GOP convention

By Adam Levy. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is staying in his home state for now as Tropical Storm Isaac heads towards New Orleans.

The two-term governor was to arrive in Tampa on Tuesday to address the delegates of Republican National Convention that evening. Instead of preparing for his high-profile speech, he declared a state of emergency Sunday and asked for voluntary evacuations in 15 low-lying parishes on or near the Gulf Coast.

“My priority is the safety of our people. And certainly as this storm threatens the public safety here in Louisiana, I’m not going anywhere,” Jindal said at a news conference. “As long as we’re in harms way, I need to be right here doing my job and that’s what I’m going to be doing.”

Under the RNC’s new revised schedule, Jindal is expected to speak Wednesday night should he attend the convention.
Jindal isn’t the only member of the Louisiana delegation not attending the convention. Jefferson Parish President John Young canceled his plans due to the potential impact Isaac could have on his constituents. State Rep, Lenar Whitney and New Orleans public service commission member Eric Skrmetta are currently driving back to Louisiana as well.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced Saturday night that all programs for Monday, the first day of the convention, were canceled. Read more from this story HERE.