Bracing for storm, RNC officials cancel first night of convention

The Tampa Bay Times Forum shown Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, in Tampa, Fla., is the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention. The 2012 Republican National Convention will be held in Tampa, Florida the week of August 27. AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

The Tampa Bay Times Forum shown Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, in Tampa, Fla., is the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention. The 2012 Republican National Convention will be held in Tampa, Florida the week of August 27.
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

(CBS News) The Republican National Convention will begin on Tuesday, not Monday, officials announced today.

With Tropical Storm Isaac looming off of Florida's coast, RNC Chairman Reince Preibus issued a statement saying that the convention would convene Monday, but immediately recess until Tuesday. No further updates on how the rescheduling will work have been yet issued. "Our first priority is ensuring the safety of delegates, alternates, guests, members of the media attending the Republican National Convention, and citizens of the Tampa Bay area," wrote Preibus.

The storm has been of quiet but careful concern to Republican officials for days. Today, a conference call was held with members of Mitt Romney's campaign, RNC, the Florida governor's office (also, Karl Rove, who runs a pro-Romney superPAC) to try to come to a final conclusion. A major point of concern that was discussed was transportation issues that could ensue if the programming was left at bay. In addition to traffic snarls already created by large gatherings such as the convention, many delegates and staffers rely on buses to get around town, which run the risk of being cancelled should weather so call for them to be. On a call with reporters, Preibus said the risk of "sustained wind and rain" was a point of concern when moving participants around. "We're not going to put delegates on a bunch of buses ... when we cant predict how severe the wind s going to be and what the damage could possibly be."

Before the official announcement was made, Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., had already pulled the plug on his attendance at all RNC related events for the next two days, which included a speech from the podium. "He's got to be the governor of Florida. Period," an adviser told CBS News.

Scott will still be physically located however. Much of his staff is already in town, and he plans to join them by Sunday morning from a command center so they he can monitor the storm's activities both down in the Florida Keys and up in the Panhandle.

Romney adviser Russ Schriefer, who has been in Tampa for weeks focusing on how the candidate would present himself at the convention, told reporters that moving the convention from four days to three is unexpected but will not pose a problem for the campaign. "We will absolutely be able to get our message out," said Schriefer.

Officials also say that the roll call to nominate Romney, which was supposed to start around 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday, will likely now start at the same time on Tuesday, and that no state delegations have withdrawn their plans to attend the convention. "We look forward to a great start on Tuesday and can think of no operational reason why that wont happen," said convention CEO Bill Harris.

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