With Isaac bearing down on the Gulf Coast, Republicans are walking a fine line. They are trying to focus on the convention, while expressing concern about the storm and the people in its path. Our Grace Rauh has the story.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Republican leaders are treading carefully. Isaac threatens to wreak havoc not only on the Gulf Coast, but on the Republican National Convention as well.
“Everybody here has one eye on this storm. Right now, we are praying for the best and preparing for the worst,” said former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.
Indeed, the storm presents a real challenge for Republicans. Appearing too upbeat in the face of potentially dangerous weather could prompt a backlash and accusations of appearing callous during a possible emergency.
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin did not seem concerned that the storm would create an image problem for Republicans at the convention.
Walker said, “We're not afraid of this. We want everyone to be safe in this state and throughout the Gulf Coast but in the end, Republicans, we fix things. We will find a way to fix this too.”
Mississippi may be in the path of the storm. But the state's former Governor, Haley Barbour, suggested that the political show would go on. The convention is a potentially critical campaign moment for the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.
Barbour said, “I don't think it will have any significant impact on the capacity for this to be a springboard for Romney and Ryan.”
Mississippi Congressman Alan Nunnelee noted that some convention events are actually quite essential.
“The convention is required to nominate the Republican Party nominee for president. So there are activities that must occur,” Nunnelee said.
He praised Republican Party leaders for effectively balancing the requirements of the convention and the seriousness of the hurricane threat.
The weather is, after all, a sensitive subject. Wednesday is the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a stark reminder of the Bush administration's botched response in New Orleans seven years ago.