Biden Cancels Tampa Visit During Republican Convention

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
Vice President Joe Biden has canceled plans to visit Tampa next week. Photographer: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden has canceled plans to visit Tampa during next week’s Republican National Convention because of concerns that his trip may disrupt disaster planning for Tropical Storm Isaac.

Biden’s plan to stop on Aug. 27 in the Florida city hosting the Republican convention was postponed so that local emergency management authorities “can stay focused on ensuring the safety of people who might be impacted by the storm, as well as those attending the activities in Tampa,” President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign said in an e-mailed statement last night.

Republicans are scheduled to gather next week in Tampa to nominate Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate. The Obama campaign had scheduled Biden for a two-day trip to Florida -- the biggest prize among swing states in the November election -- as a way to provide timely and proximate rebuttals to Republican attacks on Obama’s record.

The core of Isaac, which may threaten the Republican convention, was projected to cross Haiti overnight on a track toward Cuba and the eastern Gulf of Mexico, where it’s forecast to become a hurricane, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The hurricane center’s current tracking map shows Isaac nearing the Florida Keys tomorrow and becoming a hurricane on Aug. 27, the opening day of the convention. The storm may go ashore the next day on the Florida Panhandle, the center said.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said during a news briefing yesterday in the state capital Tallahassee that Isaac wouldn’t cause delays at the convention. Few delegates have canceled, he said. Scott is scheduled speak at the convention on Aug. 27.

Biden’s plans to visit the Florida cities of Orlando and St. Augustine, on the other side of the state, on Aug. 28 are subject to change because of weather-related precautions, the Obama campaign said in its statement.

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