TAMPA, Fla. (8/28/12)--Although Tampa dodged the bullet in terms of bearing the brunt of Tropical Storm Isaac, which is expected to become a hurricane today, the storm's threat managed to delay convention events by a day and presented other challenges for GOP organizers, points out Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Executive Vice President John Magill at the Republican National Convention (RNC) here Monday.
"The storm also is having some impact on news stories the convention organizers--as all organizers do--hope to generate to create buzz for the man they will nominate as their presidential candidate," he said. In this case, that is Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican candidate for the nation's highest political office. His running mate is certain to be Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
While Tampa is still expecting bad weather into today, this host city of the Republican National Convention (RNC) here this week was spared the brunt of Tropical Storm Isaac. However, the storm forced convention activity delays and has been quite a competitor for news attention that convention organizers would prefer stay focused on presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his assumed running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. (CUNA Photo)
At 2 p.m. (ET) the RNC chairman Reince Priebus called to order the political convention and then at around 2:10 p.m. adjourned until Tuesday at the same time. Republican organizers have sent out a message repeatedly that people's safety must take precedence above all else.
"Convention organizers are accomplished at meeting each and every challenge that comes their way--and often they have to do it on the fly. But having the threat of Isaac's approach to the convention city--well, that is unusual if not unique to this convention," Magill observed.
RNC organizers want the media to be entirely focused tightly on RNC events. Isaac has, to say the least, distracted some of that focus, Magill observed.
Although the city is decked out with "Welcome Republican National Convention" banners and signs from the airport to local eateries and shops, the airwaves here on Sunday and Monday were dominated by Isaac. And while news reports predicted that anywhere from 50,000, 70,000 or more than 100,000 people might flood the city for the convention, it is difficult to know how many decided to stay away because of the unsettled weather outlook.
"There is no 'normal' for a political convention," Magill said Monday. "But this storm goes beyond the 'normal' excitement and controlled chaos and brings an element all its own."
Although the convention has suffered delays, the work surrounding the event goes on, and CUNA and the leagues have hit the ground running to represent credit unions here, Magill noted. "Our thoughts are certainly with those who are now more possibly in the storm's path. But we will do everything to represent credit unions at this important national political venue," he said.
With an 8 a.m. daily organizational meeting to go over strategy, a daily 9:30 a.m. briefing by National Journal Group, for which CUNA is a sponsor, and issues meetings on such things as a new housing policy plan and member business lending strategy, as well as delegate events, and plans for the ribbon cutting at All Children's' Hospital in St Petersburg Wednesday, among many other responsibilities, CUNA officers and staff are deeply engaged, Magill said.
CUNA also attended the opening session of the convention, which was held in the Tampa Bay Times Forum.