Storm affecting plans for both parties
By Tom Raum, Associated Press
Isaac is blowing hard on the strategies of Republicans and Democrats alike, even though the strengthening tropical storm is skirting low-lying waterfront Tampa, Fla., where Republicans are struggling to get their national convention going so they can crown Mitt Romney as their nominee.
Not only has it forced Republicans to compress their schedule into three days instead of four, it also likely will dampen political rhetoric in both parties if it worsens. And it shifts much attention to President Barack Obama and how he deals with the storm.
Like Katrina seven years before, Isaac is churning into the Gulf of Mexico in the general direction of New Orleans.
The last thing Obama wants is a repeat of the flawed government hurricane response under President George W. Bush, who first glimpsed Katrina’s damage from the cabin of Air Force One while returning from a summer vacation. Bush’s praise for the head of the federal disaster agency for doing “a heck of a job” made things even worse.
The storm has already forced Vice President Joe Biden to cancel a planned trip to Tampa Monday to join other Democrats there to taunt Republicans.
Obama still plans to campaign Tuesday and Wednesday in Iowa, Colorado and Virginia. But that could change if Isaac intensifies into a hurricane and widespread damage seems likely. Aides said the president was being updated Monday at the White House on the storm’s progress.
Romney, meanwhile, rehearsed his convention speech in a New Hampshire high school auditorium. He said he hopes those in Isaac’s path are “spared any major destruction.”
Still, he said, “our sons are already in Tampa and they say it’s terrific there, a lot of great friends. And we’re looking forward to a great convention.”
Major polls show the race has tightened with no discernible edge for either candidate.