[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/01/art.bushmccain.gi.jpg caption="Laura Bush and Cindy McCain will address the convention."]ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – Cindy McCain and first lady Laura Bush will appear before the Republican convention Monday to encourage people to donate to the relief efforts in the Gulf region, a senior McCain campaign official told reporters in a conference call.
Republican officials have dramatically scaled back the first day of the convention as Hurricane Gustav slammed into the Louisiana coast. In addition to Bush and McCain appearances, the convention will perform the bare bones official business needed to start the convention. Rick Davis, John McCain’s campaign manager, emphasized that all political activity will be suspended for the time being.
“We hope to regain our schedule at some point,” Davis said.
Davis also said that Target and FedEx will help convention attendees and the Red Cross send care packages to the Gulf region. Later in the week, delegates, staff and other volunteers will meet in Minneapolis to assemble the care packages. In addition, the McCain campaign is setting up a phone bank in the Hilton Hotel in Minneapolis to raise money for Gulf Coast charities.