Will Isaac Crash The Republican National Convention?

4:25 PM, Aug 23, 2012   |    comments
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As a possible hurricane makes its way through the Caribbean, Republicans say they're making plans to ensure Mitt Romney is formally nominated next week in Tampa as their presidential nominee.

"There is no such thing as canceling," Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer said today on CNN's Starting Point.

Spicer said the health and safety of convention delegates, guests and other visitors to the Republican National Convention are a top priority, but various contingency plans have been drawn up should Tropical Storm Isaac hit the Tampa Bay area. The political business will go on, he said.

"We're hoping for the best. We've got the plans in place should anything occur and that's how we're going forward," Spicer said. "We're going to keep looking forward to having a great convention."

A few hours later, convention CEO William Harris stressed the coordination and contingency planning and the constant contact among convention officials, the Romney campaign, emergency preparedness officials and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

"Governor Scott and local emergency officials have assured us that they have the resources in place to respond to this storm should it make landfall, as our primary concern is with those in the potential path of the storm," Harris said. "We will continue to work closely with them and federal officials to monitor the storm and discuss any impact it might have on the Tampa area and the state of Florida. We continue to move forward with our planning and look forward to a successful convention."

The convention begins Monday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum and runs through Thursday, when Romney is slated to accept the GOP nomination.

Weather forecasters say Tropical Storm Isaac will likely become a Category 1 hurricane by Friday. Isaac is expected to weaken a little over the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba and then possibly move to Florida by Monday.

While the weather's impact on the GOP convention has been talked about a lot, FEMA Director Craig Fugate said a bigger concern is making sure people in the Florida Keys and southwest Florida are prepared.

Fugate, a former emergency management official in Florida, said during a briefing this morning that the state conducted an exercise earlier this year to figure out what would happen if a hurricane occurred during RNC events.

"Put aside the RNC convention for a moment, Florida has a lot of experience dealing with hurricanes," said Scott, who is scheduled to speak at the convention on Monday. "We're going to be prepared for Isaac in the event it does impact our state, in the event it does become a hurricane."

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