TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Undaunted by Mother Nature, Republicans are set to descend on Florida as Mitt Romney's team works to cram four days of events into three after the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac forced the soon-to-be nominee to cut short his national convention.
Officials say they hope to begin laying out a revised schedule on Sunday.
As aides in Tampa scramble, Romney is taking a rare day off the campaign trail at his lakeside vacation home in New Hampshire, receiving updates on the storm and making final preparations for the Thursday speech with which he will accept his party's presidential nomination.
"The safety of those in Isaac's path is of the utmost importance," Romney tweeted after Republican officials announced they had called off Monday's convention proceedings.
Because of possible storm surges and flooding Isaac could bring, convention organizers said they were making contingency plans to move delegates who have been booked into beachfront hotels to other locations if necessary. They indicated the schedule shift also was meant to prevent overburdening emergency response personnel at the height of the storm.
The GOP made the announcement late Saturday, saying that while the convention would officially be gaveled into session on Monday as scheduled, events would be postponed until Tuesday.
With Isaac boring down on the coast, President Barack Obama, who was spending the weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland, dispatched the Federal Emergency Management Agency to establish a command center and move more resources into the state. Vice President Joe Biden scrapped a planned campaign trip into Florida that was to counter the start of the GOP convention.
Republicans hope to use this week's convention to cast Romney as a determined leader with the know-how to fix the country's economy. They also want to introduce him as a family oriented figure to counter the image of him as a ruthless businessman as Democrats have sought to brand him.