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. Eight is enough ...

    Even God wants to cancel the convention - my read ... stay home John ... count your money with Cindy ... and don't forget to take a viagra so she will continue to love you the way that only an ice princess can - you both deserve each other - and I look forward to not having to see you or George or Sarah "I used to be a mayor" Palin

    August 30, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. LaDon

    McCain wasn't concerned about celebrating a festive occasion three years ago when Katrina swept through New Orleans and destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of people. He and President Bush were celebrating McCain's birthday, eating cake, and having a jolly good time. Why the sudden concern? Those Republicans who were praying for a downpour during Senator Obama's speech may have caused this for their own party. It's called the law of reciprocity, or in layman's terms...you reap what you sow.

    August 30, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. CO

    Weren't some Republicans praying for or rain to pour down during Obama's acceptance speech in Denver?

    August 30, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. MCSHAME LEFT HIS FIRST WIFE!

    IT BETTER RUIN YOUR CONVENTION, DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT YOUR PEOPLE DID TO OBAMA PRAYING FOR RAIN.

    WELL THE TABLES HAVE TURNED

    August 30, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. Nija

    Because your campaign is synonymous to Hurricane. Disaster awaits the wicked at the door prosperity.

    August 30, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. Bob Stephens

    John,

    Just mimic your idol, GW Bush and ignore the Hurricane.....

    August 30, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. larsonst San Diego CA

    Would a disruption such as this be called an act-of-god?

    August 30, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. MCSHAME LEFT HIS FIRST WIFE!

    I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU REPUBLICANS, NOW ALL OVER SUDDEN THIS UNKNOWN PALIN WILL BE GREAT FOR THIS COUNTRY.

    NOW U WANT TO GIVE THIS WOMAN A CHANCE, YEAH RIGHT.
    DID U GIVE OBAMA A CHANCE?

    WHY SHOULD WE GIVE HER A CHANCE BECAUSE SHE IS WHITE?
    NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN SHE IS GREAT AND WE SHOULD GIVE HER A CHANCE?

    NOW U ARE USING THE FACT THAT SHE IS A MOTHER AND SHE HAS FIVE CHILDREN AND ONE WITH A SYDROME AS AN EXCUSE TO VOTE FOR HER.

    WELL I GOT NEWS FOR YOU

    NO WAY, NOHOW., NO PALIN, NO MCSAME

    WE ARE NOT STUPID, WE KNOW WHY U DID THIS

    August 30, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. Griff

    Never mind about Gustav, John... November is your Important Date...
    Have a few Bevie's at home.

    August 30, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. the Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Sorry for those in the way of the Hurricane but here is the news:

    Sarah Palin is a wonderful, terrific, outstanding pick; her biography is inspiring; she's a Washington outsider with a commitment to the conservative principles that will make our nation stronger; she is a “pleasant surprise” because of her pro-life record and she is a reminder to women, that if they are not welcome on the Democrat’s ticket, they have a place with Republicans; and she has repeatedly initiated bi-partisanism on her state's workload. She is a lifetime member of the NRA and can shoot a gun.

    Senator John McCain has made a great pick in Governor Sarah Palin. She has demonstrated tremendous leadership as the chief executive of her state…and she is really easy on the eyes.

    August 30, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. sick n tired

    Well Johnny Boy im sure the people of the Gulf Coast are feeling alot better about their situation now that you and the GOP will be keeping a close watch on things! Because we all know what an outstanding job you and your pal Bush did handling Katrina. NOT!!!!

    August 30, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  12. yvonne in columbus

    This amazing the republicans prayed for rain in bibcal proportions to rain out the democratic convention....but look what God did instead. Furthermore, you people know you can't hold anything as interesting as the democratic convention...so you'll just cancel and use it as a public service event because you KNOW you won't have half the audience the democratic convention had.

    August 30, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. You prayed

    You prayed and the Lord answered It with "Biblical proportions".

    August 30, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. Jeff K. / Galena, MO

    I bet McCain will end up blaming Gustav on the Democrats somehow.

    August 30, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  15. Jackson

    As a veteran of this great country i,m terrified and shocked that he would make such horrible decision.

    August 30, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  16. gm

    IT IS VERU HONORABLE THAT MC CAIN AND THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE ARE SENSIVITIVE TO GUSTAV. AS FAR AS IT REMINDING THEM OF BUSH FAILURES THIS IS ONLY ONE OF MANY FAILURES THE PEOPLE OF THE U.S. AND ALL AROUND THE WORLD SHOULD BE REMINDED OF.
    ONCE MC CAIN AND OBAMA GET INTO THE DEBATES WATCH THE STORMS THAT WILL BE PRESENTED BY THE HONORABLE
    SEN BARAK OBAMA.

    August 30, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  17. Anna

    The timing of this hurricane is so symbolic. If I believed in God I'd take this as a sign.

    August 30, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  18. Nevada dude

    looks like God is trying to tell you something McCain!

    August 30, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. Peter E

    Hypocrisy alert! I'm detecting Obama supporter arguments about how Obama helping a humanitarian crisis is 'leadership' whileMcCain doing the same thing is 'political exploitation!'

    August 30, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. the Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    PUMA let's unite behind McCain and Palin

    August 30, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. Ron DC

    Yea the mccain rep is right. You don't want to be partying while New Orleans citizens drown again. They all know too well that the failed flooding rescue seen around the globe happened while Mccain was with Bush at his birthday party.

    No shame but we remember. It was all caught on video for the sake of history.

    obama/biden yes we can!

    August 30, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  22. TheTruthHurts

    They need to postpone the convention to get Palin ready.

    I have to say, I don't think Palin was a bad pick, it was a hypocritcal one. He said his criteria was the person MOST ready to be commander-in-chief. He attacks Obama continuously on his lack of foreign policy experience. This is the largest HYPOCRISY of the campaign.

    As for Palin, maybe she'd make a great president, maybe not. I don't know. This choice tells me more about McCain's lack of judgement that it tells me about Palin herself. I gotta give him credit though. He's got a pair the side of two Jupiters.

    This choice will begin a worthwhile debate about what skills a president must have, what the job actually entails and how the choice of a vice-presdent should be made. I think that is a healthy debate that will enlighten America. Without this choice, we wouldn't have had that debate.

    August 30, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  23. Sarge in Florida

    Yes grandpa keep talking about off shore drilling when Gustav might destroy the oil rigs in the Gulf...Wait until the biggest oil slick happens after it.....$10.00 per gallon of gas is headin our way folks...Mark my word.....Now grandpa wants to use another disaster to his advantage to get elected..Grandpa where were you after Katrina 3 years ago> People there are still living in FEMA trailers.....You are such a joke old old old man.

    August 30, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  24. Janice Clark

    I read Dobson was asking people to pray for rain the night Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech Thursday night. It turned out to be a most spectacularly beautiful clear evening. Now the Republicans are facing the nightmare scenario that a devastating hurricane may revisit the New Orleans-Gulf Coast area on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina during the Republican festivities. Nero fiddled, Republican administration "sat on their hands while a city drowned." God does work in mysterious ways.....oh, yeah, another cliche, the chickens have come home to roost. God save New Orleans.

    August 30, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. Dee

    McCain should just cancel the convention all together because he's wasting his time. I am highly upset that McCain would offer the Vice-Presidency to someone he's only met one time. He has experience in making crazy, illogical decisions. He does not have this country's best interest at heart...it's so obvious in so many ways.

    August 30, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
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