RNC organizers: We have worst case plan in place
(CBS) Republican National Convention officials have developed plans to upend the convention if a "worst case scenario" involving Hurricane Isaac takes place, top Republican officials told CBS News Tuesday.
Isaac, which is currently nearing the Gulf Coast, is expected to reach landfall Tuesday night or early Wednesday - roughly seven years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region.
The GOP officials said they are prepared to turn the convention into a fundraising apparatus for Americans affected by Isaac, in part by tapping the Republican donor network on the ground in Tampa.
The officials left open the possibility of cancelling the convention program, though they noted that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan need to be formally nominated to the GOP ticket. That is now set to take place not at the roll call vote on Tuesday afternoon but on Thursday, with a declaration from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
The officials said that New Jersey governor and keynote speaker Chris Christie, who speaks Tuesday evening, has not drafted an alternate speech should the storm make landfall and begins to cause devastation - though they noted he could ad lib comments from the podium.
Christie's speech, they said, will be about "big, bold change." Former Democrat Artur Davis, meanwhile, will speak about the "disappointment" Americans feel about President Obama, they said. And former GOP presidential candidate and harsh Romney critic Rick Santorum will discuss the "value and meaning of work" in connection with Tuesday's convention theme, "we built it."
Ann Romney also speaks Tuesday evening. Her speech, officials said, will be "about love" and touch on her health struggles. The officials described Ann Romney as "the most potent surrogate" to address the empathy gap that Mitt Romney faces against Mr. Obama.
They also said that while Ann Romney and Christie will not necessarily be revealing new information about Mitt Romney, much of what they will discuss will be new to voters who are just starting to tune into the election.
"We have a new electorate," said one official, "and we have a new base of voters."
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