ST PAUL, Minn. (CNN) – Two Republican officials tell CNN “substantial” changes to the Republican National Convention program will be announced Sunday because of Hurricane Gustav.
One option on the table is delaying the planned Monday opening of the convention, both sources said, though one of them said “that has not been decided. We need a few more hours to look at all of the contingencies. But there will be some substantial adjustments.”
Already, the White House has said President Bush is unlikely to come. Other officials involved in the convention planning said it has already been decided that Mr. Bush will not attend, and instead is likely to address the convention’s Monday session, if there is one, via satellite. First Lady Laura Bush is scheduled to attend.
The final decisions will be made after top McCain campaign aide Rick Davis meets Sunday with convention planners in St. Paul. Shaping those decisions will be briefings Senator McCain has received in the past 24 hours from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, FEMA Director David Paulison and several Gulf Coast governors. “It’s a dire outlook and we need to make some changes,” one McCain campaign official said. “But this has never happened before to anyone’s convention so we need some time to touch all the bases.”
(CNN) - President Bush is unlikely to be attending the Republican National Convention as planned because of Hurricane Gustav, the White House said Sunday.
The president had been scheduled to address delegates in St. Paul Monday night.
"Due to the hurricane, the president is unlikely to travel to Minnesota on Monday,” White House Spokeswoman Dana Perino said. “We are working on alternate preparations and we'll provide details as soon as possible.”
In a conference call with reporters Saturday, Perino said the White House was making contingency plans for the president's travel schedule before and after the hurricane, given what she described as one of the largest and strongest storms to hit America since modern record-keeping began.
Officials had already developed an alternate scenario for Bush’s speech as the storm’s intensity grew, telling CNN Saturday that if the president was not on hand at the convention site, first lady Laura Bush would give a longer speech than planned.
Under this scenario, the president himself would then speak via satellite from the White House or a location affected by the storm. The White House said then that a final logistical decision would likely not be made until Sunday evening, or perhaps Monday.
DUBLIN, Ohio (CNN) – Barack Obama and Joe Biden urged Gulf Coast residents to evacuate as Hurricane Gustav bears down on the region.
"Even if you've ridden out this storm before, even if you think that it may pass over, even if you think that you can wait until the last minute, this is going to be, potentially, very, very serious," said Obama, in a hastily assembled press conference in front of their campaign bus in Central Ohio. "For your own safety and your family's safety, people have to follow the instructions of the officials there to make sure that this evacuation is going smoothly."
Obama spoke to officials including FEMA Director R. David Paulison, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Saturday and said he was passing along their message to evacuate. Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans Saturday, calling Gustav "the storm of the century."
Biden also spoke directly to those in the storm's path, telling them to get out of town to avoid weather that may be worse than Hurricane Katrina three years ago.
"Those folks who rode out, do not ride out again, ride out of town. Get out of town. Do what the governor is suggesting, what the mayor is suggesting, what the senators are suggesting. Get out of town," said Biden.
Obama says they're monitoring the situation and urged continued cooperation between FEMA and the Gulf Coast states, noting that not just Louisiana is likely going to be affected but Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Texas.
Word came late Saturday that John McCain would visit an emergency command post in Jackson, Mississippi on Sunday. Asked if he would visit the area, Obama said that because of the large number of staff and press traveling with him, he might be a distraction.
"I will do whatever is required that is useful but right now the main thing that's useful is letting everybody out there know, please evacuate the area," said Obama.
WASHINGTON, Pennsylvania (CNN) - This might not be the best way to reach out to those disillusioned Hillary Clinton supporters.
In just her second appearance on the campaign trail with John McCain, newly-minted GOP running mate Sarah Palin was showered with boos on Saturday for attempting to praise Clinton’s trail-blazing bid to become the first female president.
As she did at in her debut speech in Ohio yesterday, Palin appealed to the women in the crowd here in Pennsylvania with a political shout-out to Geraldine Ferraro, who preceded Palin as the first women to be tapped as a vice presidential candidate.
But in contrast with the mild reception that greeted her comments at the Ohio event, when Palin praised Clinton here for showing “determination and grace in her presidential campaign,” the Alaska governor was met with a noisy mix of boos, groans and grumbles around the minor league ballpark where the “Road to the Convention Rally” was held.
Palin quickly recovered, promising the audience that female candidates weren’t yet finished, and that she and McCain were on their way to victory in November.
(CNN) - Since Barack Obama distanced himself from his campaign’s first tough reaction to presumptive Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin, his team seems to be figuring out the best way to direct their fire. In the meantime, their ad approach when it comes to the Alaska governor is simple: keep aiming at John McCain.
Obama’s campaign has begun airing its first ad that includes Palin – but never criticizes her, or even mentions her name. The 30-second spot, which started airing Saturday on national cable in advance of next week’s GOP convention, keeps up the line of attack ran through the Democratic convention: that a McCain presidency would mean the continuation of the Bush policy approach. The campaign would not say how extensive the ad buy was.
"Well, he's made his choice," says the announcer in ‘No Change.’ "But, for the rest of us there's still no change. McCain doesn't get it, calling this broken economy 'strong.' Wants to keep spending ten-billion-a-month in Iraq. And votes with George Bush 90 percent of the time.
(Updated with Joe Biden's first general election ad after the jump)
(CNN) - Cindy McCain told an interviewer that she was "offended by Barack Obama" and other Democrats who have been hammering her husband John McCain for being unable to immediately answer a question about how many homes he owns.
"I'm offended by Barack Obama saying that about my husband," she told ABC News in an interview set to air Sunday. Asked if she thought Obama had gone too far in his criticism, she said "I do. I do. I really do."
McCain - whose net worth has been estimated at around $100 million - said her father was a self-made man. "My father had nothing. He and my mother sold everything they had to raise $10,000," she said. "I'm proud of what my dad and my mother did and what they built and left me. And I intend to carry their legacy as long as I can."
(CNN) - McCain campaign manager Rick Davis plans to meet with Republican officials in charge of the party's convention planning in Minneapolis-St. Paul Sunday to review the latest news on Hurricane Gustav and discuss what their options might be - then consulting with the presumptive Republican nominee to determine what changes may need to be made.
"I wouldn't call it a nightmare, but it is a very perplexing challenge," said a GOP official planning the event.
Read the very latest on convention changes
A senior McCain source tells CNN they are considering turning the convention into a service event - a massive telethon to raise money for the Red Cross and other agencies to help with the hurricane.
"He wants to do something service oriented if and when the storm hits and it’s as bad as its expected to be now," said this McCain source.
They are also hoping to get McCain himself to a storm-affected area as soon as possible.
(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.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - Police raided a rental hall used by a group organizing protests at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Friday.
The RNC Welcoming Committee, which describes itself as "anarchist/anti-authoritarian," accused St. Paul police of trying to disrupt their protest planned for Monday, the day the GOP convention is set to begin.
While no one was arrested, the group said police temporarily detained and photographed at least 50 people who were inside the building.
Watch: Police raid the group's headquarters Friday
St. Paul Police spokesman Tom Walsh said they were executing a search warrant.
"The cause for the search warrant is not public at this time," Walsh said.
As many as 30 police officers entered with guns drawn, according to witnesses in the building.
(CNN) - Barack Obama’s campaign has released another negative local ad that accuses John McCain of failing to protect American jobs. “In tough times, who’ll help Michigan’s auto industry?” asks the announcer in the 30-second spot. “Barack Obama favors loan guarantees to help Detroit re-tool and revitalize.
“But John McCain refused to support loan guarantees for the auto industry. Now he’s just paying lip service, not talking straight. And McCain voted repeatedly for tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, selling out American workers. We just can’t afford more of the same”
'Revitalize' is the latest Obama ad to hit McCain on jobs. The campaign ran radio and television ads that said the presumptive Republican nominee and his campaign manager Rick Davis were partly responsible for the potential loss of thousands of Ohio jobs, timed to coincide with his trip to the area where shipping giant DHL may make those cuts.
They also released a spot that charged the Arizona senator with failing to protect U.S. motorcycle manufacturing jobs, that hit the airwaves as he visited York, Pennsylvania, home of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle factory.
Earlier: Obama ads hit McCain on jobs; the Republican's campaign responds