The Republican National Committee decided to cancel its Tampa party convention programming for Monday and postpone until Tuesday all important events and speeches due to Tropical Storm Isaac.
The convention is where Mitt Romney will be officially nominated to be the Republican Party's candidate for president in the November election.
"Due to the severe weather reports for the Tampa Bay area, the Republican National Convention will convene on Monday August 27th and immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, August 28th, exact time to follow," RNC chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.
Shortly before the RNC statement was issued, Florida Gov. Rick Scott had cancelled his speech to open the convention scheduled for Monday so that he could focus on coordinating the response of state authorities to the storm. Earlier, he had declared a state of emergency given the strong possibility that the storm could become a hurricane.
"The Republican National Convention will take place and officially nominate Mitt Romney and (Wisconsin Congressman) Paul Ryan, and the Party has other necessary business it must address. We also are remaining in constant contact with state and federal officials and may make additional schedule alterations as needed," Priebus said.
"Our first priority is ensuring the safety of delegates, alternates, guests, members of the media attending the Republican National Convention, and citizens of the Tampa Bay area," Priebus said.
The RNC chief had been scheduled to open the convention at 2 p.m. Monday in a ceremony that, at present, will continue in severely abbreviated form, although the event will immediately be recessed until Tuesday.
However, the speeches by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was originally slated to give his speech on Wednesday although that was changed to Monday at the last minute, as well as by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, will be postponed or cancelled altogether.
Romney's wife Ann was supposed to give the convention's main speech on Monday, but her husband's campaign decided to change that address to Tuesday due to an agreement among the main television networks to broadcast convention events starting only on its second day.
This is the second consecutive Republican national convention to have to cut back its programming due to a storm. In the summer of 2008 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the events on the first day of the convention were cancelled due to Hurricane Gustav in the Gulf of Mexico. EFE