August 30th, 2008
04:31 PM ET
6 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. Abigail

    . . . KARMA!

    August 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Speider

    "McCain suggests Gustav could disrupt Republican convention."

    ...so he has ordered security to deny entrance to anyone looking "slavic."

    August 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. COUNTRY FIRST?

    Update at 12:30 p.m. ET. USA TODAY's Susan Page just reported that:

    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin faces a getting-to-know-you process as the Republican vice presidential candidate, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds: Most Americans say they've never heard of her.

    There is also wide uncertainty about whether she's qualified to be president. In the poll, taken Friday, 39% say she is ready to serve as president if needed, 33% say she isn't and 29% have no opinion.

    That's the lowest vote of confidence in a running mate since the elder George Bush chose then-Indiana senator Dan Quayle to join his ticket in 1988. In comparison, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden was seen as qualified by 57%-18% after Democrat Barack Obama chose him as a running mate last week.

    August 30, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. McCain=Bush

    So McCain, I guess you won't be eating cake and celebrating your birthday while the city drowning this year.

    August 30, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. California Gold

    McCain has a bigger storm brewing than Gustav. The Democrats are going to campaign hard and rain down on him like his worst nightmare.

    August 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. Billy

    McCain, you are sensitive to the nations needs? Then why risk our countries security with your reckless VP decision?

    August 30, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. mendemoi

    THEY SHOULD POSTPONE IT TO PREVENT DEMOCRATS TAKING POLITCAL ADVANTAGE OF THE SITUATION.

    August 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Charles

    Like they care..

    August 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Mike Dallas

    HHMMM didn't the rabid Right group Focus on the Family pray for rain last Thursday night in Denver? Ish't Monday night the night HRH and The Dick were to mumble and rale? The Republicans should now offer up prays of thanks for sending Gustav during the Republican convention, so, they can use the storm as a cover and close early and hide the fact that it should have closed due to lack of interest.

    This should free up HRH so he can do another flyover and then ride in on an Army convoy on Thursday 4 days after the storm, for a photo op,.
    At least Cheney will not have to prompt hiim this time he should know the drill. Silly me, I forgot my native Louisiana now has a Republican governor, that should make him move the convoy up to Wednesday.

    August 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. John in Mlps

    I really thought it was a bad idea to start the convention on Labor Day. Gustav now makes matters worse for the Republicans during the convention.

    What may be impressive is if McCain cuts the convention short by having an immediate roll call, have Palin and himself give quick acceptance speeches, give a prayer for everyone on the Gulf Coast, and run like hell down there to help out.

    Then again, McCain would be criticized for that too.

    August 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Ali Gust

    Take it as bad omen McCain ...

    You are own the wrong side of history.

    August 30, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. Ian MacIsaac

    They're in a total bind. If they celebrate the opening of the RNC with Bush and Cheney as Louisiana drowns once again, the American people will condemn them. If they postpone it they lose their momentum.

    August 30, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. s.positive

    Where is James Dobson and his ignorant weather man? Be very careful what you ask for because it is not man that in charge but GOD...

    August 30, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Rich

    Oh get on with it. Your'e gonna loose anyway hurricane or not.

    August 30, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. Franky

    The Republicans have won already?? And do they know that once it hits, we're gonna waste a lot of money...I mean, A LOT OF MONEY! And guess what? Who's gonna get the tab??? That debt is gonna go up!

    I appreciate that they care, I really do. But come on! Even we can't do nothing about it. I believe we're doing a heck of a job letting people informed. We're gonna respond fine. We're a whole lot smarter than befrore...

    And by the way, if something happens to McCain, his V.P pick is ready for this?? The pressure is building...

    August 30, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. Think fast

    God works in mysterious ways. You praied for rain of biblical portions and you got it! Praise the Lord.

    August 30, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  17. McCain and Palin

    Disrupting the convention with a hurricane? hmmm..

    This is proof that God doesn't like ugly.

    Stop lying, deceiving, and cheating us all, McCain/Bush..

    August 30, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. Sam, GA

    What? We saw you with a birthday cake while Katrina was going on.

    Good Job Brownie was about to take place.

    August 30, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. anonymouys

    what are you talking about mccain the hurricane something wont even hit the state that mccain and the republican have their convection in

    August 30, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. BGIV in NC

    Nah – they don't need to postpone anything – Brownie will do a hell of job taking care of things – wait, he's at a horse show? Oh no.

    August 30, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. Jim, Burlington NC

    I understand what McCain is worried about, he can't remember how many homes he owns in New Orleans...

    August 30, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  22. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    FInally McCain gets it! One disaster meets another.
    GOP Convention vs Gustav.
    Where is FEMA when we really need them!

    August 30, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  23. Niel

    FOUR MORE YEARS
    FOUR MORE YEARS
    FOUR MORE YEARS
    FOUR MORE YEARS

    McCain 08

    August 30, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. markus

    why not just turn a deaf ear?
    After all, that's what this administration did LAST time.

    August 30, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. Susan, PA

    It seems that God did not listen to pray for rain in Denver, instead he is unnecessary punishing other innocent people.

    August 30, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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