After delay, Republican convention kicks off

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 28: People from the Texas delegation bow their heads during the second day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Today is the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

People from the Texas delegation bow their heads during the second day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Aug. 28, 2012.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

(CBS News) TAMPA, Fla. - After a delay because of Hurricane Isaac, the Republican National Convention kicked off in full force this afternoon to officially nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as the GOP presidential ticket.

As the hurricane moves toward the Gulf Coast where President Obama has urged residents to listen to the directives of their local governments, the GOP convention is expected to move forward "as planned as of now," a Romney campaign aide told CBS News.

The afternoon's agenda is mainly procedural and consists of mostly party business including the formalization of its rules and the official roll call vote of all the states and territories - in alphabetical order - to officially chose the nominee. Interestingly, even though the party is going through the roll call process to nominate Romney and Ryan, they won't officially be the party's nominees until Thursday.

A Romney campaign official explained that they're holding off on officially nominating the two in order to take advantage of a campaign fundraising loophole and postpone spending their general election funds until as late as possible. The moment they are nominated, they are officially running in the general election in the eyes of the Federal Election Commission and that's when they begin to dip into the campaign's deep pockets - estimated to be upwards of $150 million - for the final stretch.

As for the roll call, there's no drama about Romney having enough delegates to become the nominee but his support is not totally unanimous.

A small number of delegates backing Ron Paul, the GOP presidential candidate who built a movement with his smaller government and "end the Federal Reserve" platform, have yet to fully get behind Romney. Paul supporters feel slighted after the GOP has made moves to marginalize them at the national and state level.

For instance, the GOP has changed the rules to ensure Paul does not receive a roll call vote during Romney's nomination, even though there are some states with a number of Paul delegates.

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In Maine, the Republican Party altered the rules to strip half of Paul's unanimous delegate slate. "It is all of us, or none of us. We are dually elected. We represent the voters at the convention for the GOP of Maine and we still expect, even though it's late in the game, at some point to be fully seated. We will not stop until that happens," said Mark Willis, a Maine delegate who was stripped from the delegation after the Republican Party's rule change.

The Maine delegation that backs Paul says that during Tuesday's session, they will ask the convention leaders for an amendment so the entire original Maine delegation can be seated. "If that fails then they are going walk out and boycott the convention," Willis told CBSNews.com.

After the roll call vote, the main speaking slate begins at 7 p.m. ET. Highlights include speeches from Ann Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.


  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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