[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/03/art.mccain2.gi.jpg caption=" McCain's first rally of the day was attended by only about 1,100 people."]
TAMPA, Florida (CNN) - Barack Obama may lead John McCain by just 2 points in the latest CNN Florida poll of polls, but the enthusiasm gap appears a bit wider.
John McCain’s first rally of the day, in Tampa outside Raymond James Stadium, only drew about 1,100 people. Local reporters noting that at almost the same spot just before the 2004 election, President Bush drew about 15,000 people. Two weeks ago, Obama drew an estimated 8,000.
Republican Gov. Crist, who had previously agreed to do interviews with CNN and various local affiliates, bolted right after the rally with no explanation.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/04/art.mccain.rnc2.jpg caption="McCain worked to calm the crowd after protestors interupted Thursday night."]
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - In response to early rumors that demonstrators might try to interrupt Republican presidential nominee John McCain's acceptance speech Thursday night, a number of delegations agreed to chant "U.S.A." in order to quell the sound of protesters.
"There's word of a possible demonstration coming. If it does, the chant is 'USA, USA'," a floor whip was overheard telling members in the New York delegation.
Similar whispers were heard from the Alaska delegation clear across to the Louisiana delegation on the other side of the hall only moments before McCain began speaking.
On at least three occasions during the early part of his speech, members of the audience began chanting "U.S.A." in response to protesters, who were then escorted out of the hall.
In one such case, McCain weighed in telling the crowd not to be distracted “by the static…Americans want us to stop yelling at each other.”
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/23/art.mccain.bush.wave.jpg caption="No word yet on whether Bush will appear with McCain at RNC. "]
(CNN) - White House Press Secretary Dana Perino has confirmed that President Bush will address the Republican National Convention on its first night.
Perino told reporters today at the White House briefing that President Bush will deliver a speech on September 1, Labor Day. She said incumbent presidents traditionally address the RNC on the first night of the convention.
The White House has not yet said whether Bush might appear with presumptive nominee John McCain at the convention. The two men have made few joint public appearances since McCain effectively claimed his party’s nomination this spring, as the president’s approval ratings continue to hover near historic lows.
Republicans will hold their convention September 1-4, 2008 in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Democrats are slated to hold their convention the week before in Denver, Colorado.