Republican National Convention opens, recesses due to Tropical Storm Isaac
TAMPA, Fla. (KABC) -- The Republican National Convention began Monday with the banging of a gavel, and then almost immediately recessed. Tropical Storm Isaac led to the cancellation of most of the opening-day program.
The rain and wind continued in Tampa as Isaac surged menacingly toward New Orleans and the northern Gulf Coast. The storm had lingering effects for much of Florida, including heavy rains and flooding.
Party Chairman Reince Priebus pounded the gavel, citing the convention rules requiring a 2 p.m. start.
"Our sons are already in Tampa and they say it's terrific there, a lot of great friends. And we're looking forward to a great convention," Romney said as he prepared to rehearse his convention speech at a New Hampshire high school auditorium.
Most of Monday's events were rolled over to Tuesday, including the roll call of delegates and a series of speeches. Anne Romney is expected to speak on Tuesday night.
Priebus then instructed delegates to look up at two "debt clocks," one that reflects the national debt and a second that counts up rising debt during the convention. It was quickly in six figures.
Tom Del Beccaro, a California delegate and chair of the state GOP, predicted the one-day delay in full convention events would supercharge the rest of the week's meeting.
"I think there's going to be a lot of bottled up energy, and I think that's going to show," he said.
At least one speaker bowed out. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Monday that he would not attend as the storm gathered strength and bore down on his home state.
Security was tight for the convention. Several checkpoints were set up to enter the premises, Coast Guard boats patrolled the waters and helicopters kept a close eye on the downtown area. Bomb-sniffing dogs also went from person to person, checking every bit of gear in the area.
The California delegates gathered for a breakfast, where New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talked about the importance of California. It's a largely Democratic state, but Christie encouraged delegates not to give up and to continue to work to get a firm foothold of the state.
"We know California's an uphill climb for Mitt Romney, the same way New Jersey's an uphill climb. But that does not release you from your obligation," Christie said. "There is still plenty for us to do for Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan over the course of the next 70-plus days. It is our job to be talking in the most powerful way we can."
Celebrities were also present at the convention.
"The Democratic Party is not the Democratic Party of old, it's not even the Democratic Party of John Kennedy," said actor Jon Voight, who was in attendance at the RNC to support Romney. "If you read his inaugural address today and ask people who said it, they'd say a conservative."
Look for ongoing reports from David Ono at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Eyewitness News will also be at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September.
storm, republican party, mitt romney, politics, david ono
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