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Republican Convention to Reschedule Most Monday Speakers

Florida Braces as Isaac Set to Strengthen Into Hurricane
Area residents fill sand bags ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac in St. Pete Beach on Sunday. Photographer: Edward Linsmier/Getty Images

The U.S. Republican National Convention schedule in Tampa, Florida, will be condensed into a three-day program by lengthening the sessions and eliminating some portions, as a tropical storm bears down on the region.

The prime-time speakers this week, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Representative Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s chosen running mate, both appearing on Aug. 29, will remain the same as previously scheduled, Russ Schriefer, a strategist for Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, said in a conference call with reporters.

“All of the headliner speakers I’ve been able to find a place for in the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday schedule,” Schriefer said. “There have been a few speakers who weren’t headliners who we had to let go.” Some speakers from tomorrow’s schedule will be dropped, he said.

The shortened schedule cuts into free television time that would benefit Romney and the narrative the party wants to present to voters.

Asked about the possibility of lengthening the convention by one day into Friday, Aug. 31, Schriefer said: “We’re planning on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,” and adding a day remains “a hypothetical.”

None of the speakers in the prime-time hours between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. for the remaining three days of the gathering will change, he said.

Wind, Rain

Tropical Storm Isaac is making its way to the Gulf of Mexico on a path to landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Republican Party leaders announced yesterday that they planned to essentially eliminate the first day of the convention because of wind and rain crossing Florida. About 50,000 visitors are making their way to the Tampa area for the convention.

Organizers of the convention are “obviously monitoring what is going on with the weather,” Schriefer said.

“Our concern has to be with the people who are in the path of the storm,” he said.

Monday’s schedule will likely last no more than five minutes as the convention will formally convene and then recess until the following day.

The theme that Republicans “can do better” that was planned for tomorrow’s session will be “weaved into” the other days, Schriefer said.

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