Republicans set to nominate Romney at storm-shortened convention
The storm-shortened Republican National Convention begins in earnest Tuesday, a three-day coronation of Mitt Romney as the party's rival to President Barack Obama. Republicans seek to use the high-profile stage to rally their base, win over undecided voters and humanize a candidate often seen as aloof and wooden.
Once the scene of dramatic floor fights and backroom deals that determined nominees, U.S. political conventions are now carefully orchestrated spectacles with few surprises. Romney locked up the nomination months ago so there will be no drama in the roll call of state delegates affirming his nomination Tuesday.
Still, conventions are among the most closely watched events in the campaign, allowing the candidates to lay out their visions directly to millions of television viewers and marking the start of the final stretch in the marathon presidential race. And even the most carefully crafted convention inevitably has surprises such as the cancellation of the first day's activities Monday because of Tropical Storm Isaac.
Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus gaveled the session to order Monday, then immediately
Though the storm no longer threatens Tampa, it could affect the convention. Isaac was on the verge of becoming a full-blown hurricane Tuesday as it rolled over the Gulf of Mexico toward Louisiana, and could force Romney to share the spotlight.
Republicans may also have to scale down their celebration so they are not seen as partying as the storm barrels toward land.
Democrats have sought to cast Romney and fellow Republicans as indifferent to the hardships of non-wealthy Americans and Republicans recall how President George W. Bush was roundly criticized for his handling of
Hurricane Katrina in the same region that killed 1,800 people almost exactly 7 years ago. Bush is not attending the convention.
Romney said Monday that he hoped those in the storm's path would be ``spared any major destruction'' but indicated there were no thoughts of cancelling the convention.