August 30th, 2008
04:31 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain suggests Gustav could disrupt Republican convention

(CNN) - As Hurricane Gustav's power increased and the storm bore down on the Gulf Coast, Republicans grappled with the problems both logistical and political.

Republicans are acutely sensitive to any suggestion that they might be sending the wrong impression by celebrating while Gustav, currently a Category 4 hurricane, batters the Gulf Coast. It is an image that might revive memories of the Bush administration's missteps in the days following Katrina in 2005.

Asked by a Fox News Sunday interviewer whether he officials might consider suspending the convention if the storm devastates the Gulf Coast, McCain would not rule it out, saying that he was afraid "we're going to have to look at that situation and we'll try to monitor it." He added that he was in contact with governors in the affected states.

"I've been talking to all of them, but you know it just wouldn't be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented in the form of a natural disaster," he said. "So we're monitoring it from day to day, and I'm saying a few prayers too."

Beyond the question of whether delegates and high-profile guests can make it to the convention safely is what happens when they arrive in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Last week there were reports that the storm might keep President Bush from visiting and speaking Monday night, the convention's first. In a McCain campaign conference call Saturday, RNC Deputy Chairman Frank Donatelli said that they were very aware of the situation, though he didn't think that moving the convention was a possibility.

And as the nation's attention turns to the biggest storm of this hurricane season to threaten the United States, reporters and voters alike may find their attention riveted by events far from Minneapolis-St. Paul, site of the Republican convention.

"Like all Americans, our prayers are with those who will be affected by Hurricane Gustav," said convention president and CEO Maria Cino. "We continue to closely monitor the movement of the storm and are considering necessary contingencies. ..."

"The safety of our affected delegations is our first priority and preparing for Gustav comes before anything else."

soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Johnny the Joker

    ((Really appreciate it if you post this, CNN. Thanks!))

    Better do something about it quickly. By the way, John, I´ve just watched a video where Sarah Palin herself says in an interview that she doesn´t even know what the V.P.´s role is and she asks for someone to explain her that. And that´s the person you chose as V.P. to be a step closer to the POTUS if needed? God help us all!

    August 30, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. Glen Parker, Glendora, CA

    Gustav will be a category 5 storm that will come ashore on the gulf coast and bring a storm surge of up to 25 feet will bring damage far inland from the ocean (depending on the tide). It will be a more important news story than the festive GOP convention. It will bring very-expensive-long-term damage and has already killed people.

    The Republican Convention must be postponed. It would be bad to celebrate in the face of disaster and suffering of thousands.

    August 30, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. fafa

    isn't this an omninous sound on the wall. Enough. Eight is enough.

    August 30, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. Brian, Pittsbrugh

    The best thing for the Republicans might be to postpone the convention. The media coverage will be constant hurricane news and images of Republicans celebrating at the convention. That would just remind people how badly the current Republican adminstration messed up during Katrina. They should show that politics are not the priority right now.

    August 30, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. PAW, CA

    One can only hope

    August 30, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  6. James Carville

    Sarah is the Gustav of Washington.

    You go girl...........

    August 30, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. Game



    August 30, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  8. Loretta from California

    Phony! Phony! Phony! Phony!

    They had their opportunity to demonstrate that they cared about the victims of Katrina, but failed miserably. Wake up America! THEY'LL DO AND SAY ANYTHING TO GET ELECTED.


    August 30, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. Emmanuel Obi

    The God's are angry at my party. How can MCCain choose someone for a runningmate who is not qualified to be President of the most powerful nation on earth. Perhaps Gustav will subside November 5, 2008, then they will have their National Convention.


    August 30, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  10. Ron

    The last storm didn't interfere with the GOP daily business. They didn't respond for @week. What make voters think this time their response will be different

    August 30, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. Enlightened Voter

    Not that the Repuglicans care anyway. John Mccain's event organizer got on CNN yesterday and said the convention would go on no matter what even after the reporter questioned whether it would be insensitive.

    August 30, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
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