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Hurricane Changes Republican Convention Plans

  • VOA News

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator John McCain has announced major changes to his party's upcoming national convention because of the possibility of a natural disaster caused by Hurricane Gustav.

Republican officials announced Sunday that the convention will convene Monday as scheduled, but with an abbreviated schedule that will conduct only necessary official business before adjourning. In an interview broadcast Sunday, McCain said it would be inappropriate to appear festive during the weather emergency.

The convention will be held in St. Paul, Minnesota. Republican officials said they would decide each day which convention activities will be held.

The White House says President Bush will not attend the convention as scheduled, so he can oversee the federal response to the hurricane along the Gulf of Mexico coastline.

Presidential campaigning was in full swing on Sunday, with Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama (of Illinois) planning to discuss the economy in Ohio.

Obama said he would mobilize his base of supporters to assist hurricane victims.

McCain and his vice-presidential pick, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, traveled to Mississippi to review hurricane preparations.

McCain defended his choice of Palin, a relative unknown on the national political scene, during the Fox News interview.

Senator McCain (of Arizona) called Palin "a partner and a soulmate," saying she would be an asset as he works to reform the government.

He said he has been watching Palin for years and he trusts her judgment on foreign issues including the war in Iraq and Iranian nuclear ambitions.

McCain added his campaign has raised four million dollars in the past few days alone. He appeared to attribute those gains to Palin, saying that he wished he had brought her on board a month ago, as opposed to Friday.

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