With focus on Gustav, scaled-back Republican National Convention begins
Posted September 1, 2008 6:15 p.m. EDT
Updated September 1, 2008 9:15 p.m. EDT
Saint Paul, Minn. — Hurricane Gustav reached Louisiana on Monday and was downgraded in the afternoon to a Category 1 storm, but not before it turned the Republican National Convention upside down.
The official party business got underway in St. Paul, Minn., but most other events were canceled.
The North Carolina delegates are coping best they can with the constantly changing schedule. The convention is primarily about nominating John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, but there is also disappointment.
The convention took years to plan. A member of the N.C. delegation even took out a second mortgage just to attend. So, there is a lot at stake there, both personally and politically.
Delegates are spending the down time redefining their purpose, while praying for those in the storm's path. On a positive note, it has allowed delegates to mobilize a relief effort for the victims.
“The reality is, Katrina never happens again,” Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. said.
The party conducted the business it had to, but you likely won't see the rousing speeches and festive events that took place in Denver last week during the Democratic National Convention.
“Everybody would like to compare conventions. I want to compare ideas, and the power of ideas. And I think when people get an opportunity to look at the difference between the two candidates, what we're going to find is that no matter how long or short our convention lasts, we're going to win on the issues,” Burr said.
Members of the N.C. delegation will spend part of Tuesday working with charities in Minneapolis, keeping with the theme of the convention, "Country First."