A scaled-back convention

A SCALED-BACK CONVENTION…. With Hurricane Gustav’s landfall expected tomorrow morning, mandatory evacuation orders are being heeded — by one estimate, 95% of coastal residents have fled their homes — and the National Guard is already in place in coastal areas. And what the Republican National Convention? It will begin tomorrow, at its regularly scheduled time, but only to take care of some official business, and will wrap up shortly thereafter.

[McCain] Campaign manager Rick Davis said Republicans would meet in an abbreviated fashion, conducting only what was necessary to constitute a convention, such as calling the convention to order, receiving a report from the credentials committee and adopting the party platform.

“Tomorrow’s program will be business only and will refrain from any political rhetoric that would be traditional in an opening session of a convention,” he said.

The convention will begin at its regularly scheduled time, 3 p.m. central time, and adjourn around 5:00 or 5:30, he said.

The GOP’s four-day program was originally scheduled to begin Monday in St. Paul, Minnesota. Davis said the rest of the week’s schedule would be determined on a day-by-day basis.

One assumes convention planners will have to consider just how serious the effects of the storm are before planning the rest of the convention, and officials may not have a real sense of the damage until Tuesday.

There were reports earlier that McCain might deliver his acceptance speech “from the devastation zone,” and Rick Davis suggested at a press briefing today that this remains an unresolved issue.

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