August 31, 2008: McCain Cancel’s the first day of the GOP Convention

Damon Winter/The New York Times)

A cameraman kept a monitor tuned to a radar image of Hurricane Gustav as workers continued to prepare before the start of the Republican National Convention at Xcel Energy Cener in St. Paul. (Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

The Day That Was….

  • August 31, 2008: McCain Cancels First Day of Republican National Convention – Wall Street Journal, 8-31-08
  • August 30, 2008: McCain, Palin spend first full day of campaigning in Pa.; GOP leaders keep wary eye on Gustav … As Gustav approaches Gulf Coast, Obama expresses hope that lessons leaned from Katrina … Magazine: Obama told Petraeus some US forces in Iraq should be shifted to Afghanistan fight – AP, 8-31-08

The Stats

  • August 31, 2008: CNN Poll: Obama 49, McCain 48 – CNN, 8-31-08
  • Mr. McCain enters this year’s convention with the enthusiastic support of nearly 9 in 10 delegates, according to a poll of Republican delegates by The New York Times and CBS News. Just 8 percent have reservations about him, the poll shows. – NYT, 8-31-08
  • Sarah Palin, Profile in the New York Times – NYT

In the News…

  • Republicans Drop Most Convention Action on Monday – NYT, 9-1-08
  • Gauging Gustav’s Political Impact – WaPo, 8-31-08
  • McCain orders convention curtailed for Gustav – AP, 8-31-08
  • McCain hopes to reclaim reformist mantel – AP, 8-29-08

Campaign Bloopers

  • Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Don Fowler apologizes for joking about hurricane: “The hurricane is going to hit New Orleans about the time they start. The timing is, at least it appears now, it will be there Monday. That just demonstrates God is on our side,” Fowler said, while laughing. Fowler also told Spratt that “everything’s cool.”…”This is a point of national concern. I think everybody of good will has great empathy and sympathy for people in New Orleans,” Fowler also said. “Most religious people are praying for people in New Orleans. There is no political connotation to this whatsoever. This was just poking fun at Jerry Falwell and the nonsensical thing he had said several years ago.” – CNN, 8-31-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Henry Robertson on “McCain’s VP choice surprises La. GOP leaders”: And associate history professor Henry Robertson at Louisiana College in Pineville says the history doesn’t end there, with both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates snubbing political tradition by choosing their running mates from states with few electoral votes. Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, hails from a state with three electoral votes, the same as Palin’s Alaska. “On both counts, I think, it was kind of a surprise that they didn’t pick people to geographically balance or to have the kind of electoral count you would expect,” said Robertson, who also is the faculty adviser to the College Republicans, a student group at LC. Robertson did praise Palin’s selection, though, calling her “an excellent choice, a fresh new face” who will make the Republican ticket a strong contender. But as Republicans expressed glee with their completed ticket, they also expressed concern as Hurricane Gustav threatened to wreak havoc just as their convention kicks off. Robertson suggested that the party should consider delaying the convention should Gustav become a large national event. “I don’t think you want to have a convention when you have a major emergency in the United States,” Robertson said. “I do think it would be wise if they waited, or delayed certainly, the convention because the focus needs to be on what is going on, on the Gulf Coast.” – The Town Talk, LA, 8-30-08
  • John Fea on “GOP up for a big week Convention plans could stall when Gustav hits:: “This could be the split-screen convention,” said John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., in a swing state where McCain hopes his choice of Palin could help him. – Detroit Free Press,
  • William Lass on “Party like it’s 1892 For the Republican Party, this week’s gathering in the Twin Cities is a return engagement — after 116 years.”: “The principal reason Minneapolis got the convention in 1892 was the fear that the Populists were going to win Minnesota and adjacent states and therefore deny the Republicans an election win,” said William Lass, retired history professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato. “The similarity between then and now is that the Upper Midwest could have the swing votes that would decide the election,” he said. – Star Tribune, 8-31-08

On the Campaign Trail….

    Republican Presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) with his wife, Cindy and his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, accompanied by Jimmy and Jack McCain, visit the Mississippi Emergency Management Operations Command Center in Jackson, Mississippi August 31, 2008 (Washington Post)

    Republican Presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) with his wife, Cindy and his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, accompanied by Jimmy and Jack McCain, visit the Mississippi Emergency Management Operations Command Center in Jackson, Mississippi August 31, 2008 (Washington Post)

  • John McCain’s Statement on Hurricane Gustav…So of course this is a time when we have to do away with our party politics and we have to act as Americans. We have to join with 3 million other Americans on behalf of our fellow citizens. It’s a time for actions. So we’re gonna suspend most of our activities tomorrow except for those absolutely necessary. Rick Davis, our campaign manager, will be coming on right after me to tell you about the details of it.But I know you agree with me, it’s time to open our hearts, our efforts, our wallets, our concern our care for those American citizens who are now under the shadow and the probability of the natural disaster.So I hope that all of us and I’m very, I know that all of us will not only keep in our thoughts and our prayers the people of the Gulf Coast but we will act, we will act together, we will provide the necessary relief, the necessary comfort, we will open our arms as Americans always have in time of challenge to those in our society who are less fortunate because of any circumstance but in this circumstance because of this hurricane.

    So ahead of time I wanna thank all of my fellow Republicans as we take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats and we say “America, we’re with you. America, we’re going to care for these people in their time of need” and we’re gonna display it in every possible way as Americans always have and Americans always will.

    I thank you. I can hardly wait to get up there and I hope and pray that we’ll be able to resume some of our normal operations as quickly as possible but some of that is, frankly, in the hands of God. So keep ’em in your prayers and also when you get a chance to thank these wonderful thousands and thousands of volunteers who have turned out in these efforts not only now but will in the future, God bless them and thank God, it makes me proud to be an American. Thank you. The time for action is now.

  • Senator Barack Obama on Hurricane Gustav:“We can activate an e-mail list of a couple million people who want to give back. I think we can get tons of volunteers to travel down there if it becomes necessary.”… “The thing that I always am concerned about in the middle of the storm is whether we are drawing resources away from folks on the ground,” Obama said. “Because the Secret Service and various security requirements, sometimes it pulls police and fire and other departments away from concentrating on the job.”
  • Rudy Giuliani speaking on “Face The Nation” with anchor Bob Schieffer on Gov. Palin: “You know why? She had to make decisions. All Senator Obama has had to do is talk. That’s all he does.”… Palin is “somebody of accomplishment” because “she’s vetoed legislation, she’s taken on corruption, and in her party, and won. She took on the oil companies and won. She administered a budget successfully.”.. Obama “is the least experienced candidate for president in the last 100 years.” “I mean, he’s never run a city, he’s never run a state, he’s never run a business, he’s never administered a payroll, he’s never led people in crisis,” Giuliani said…. “there’s no question” that McCain would put the focus of the Republican National Convention “on the South and on Louisiana and Mississippi” because of Hurricane Gustav. “Senator McCain has already indicated that it would be inappropriate to have celebrations, that things have to be scaled back,” Giuliani said.
  • Joe Lieberman speaking on “Face The Nation” with anchor Bob Schieffer on Gov. Palin: McCain’s decision to add Palin to the ticket “is a little bit like opening a door and letting some fresh Alaska air into Washington. “I think here he wanted to send the message, get somebody fresh, somebody really who represents the other America outside of Washington where people don’t care whether you have an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ after your name, they just want you to get something done to help them deal with the problems they have,” Lieberman said. “And Sarah Palin comes from that other America.”
  • Carly Fiorina, a senior McCain advisor, speaking on “Face The Nation” with anchor Bob Schieffer on Gov. Palin: Palin is “a person of great accomplishment” and suggested she excites women because she is “a woman trying to balance her work life and her family life, not to mention her incredible track record of reform and taking on, as she said, the good old boy network.”… Fiorina said Palin’s anti-abortion rights position would not keep former Hillary Clinton supporters from backing a McCain-Palin ticket. “I think, frankly, the Democratic Party has done a disservice to women by trying to hold women hostage to the issue of Roe v. Wade,” she said. “The truth is the most important issue to women, all the polls say this, is the economy. Women are not single issue voters. Yes, there are some women for whom the issue of
    reproductive rights trumps everything else. But the truth is most women are not that way.”
  • John McCain talks Palin on Fox News Sunday: She’s a — she’s a partner and a soul-mate. She — she’s a reformer. I don’t particularly enjoy the label “maverick,” but when somebody takes on the old bulls in her own party, runs against an incumbent governor of her own party, stands up against the oil and gas interests — I mean, they really are so vital to the economy of her — of the state of Alaska. I mean, it’s remarkable. It’s a remarkable person.
    And I’ve watched her record, and I’ve watched her for many, many years as she — as she implemented ethics and lobbying reforms. And I mean, she led. She didn’t just vote for it. She led it. I’ve seen her take on her own party.
    Look, one thing I know is that when you take on your own party in Washington, you pay a price for it. You do. You pay a price for it. And she’s taken on the party in her own state. She takes on — she took on a sitting governor and defeat him — defeated him.
    And so I’ve — I’m so pleased and proud, because this — this is a person who will help me reform Washington and change the way they do business. And that’s what Americans want….
  • Barack Obama Explains His Choice, Reacts To Palin:Tells 60 Minutes Biden “Can Step In And Become President,” Calls McCain’s VP Pick An “Up-And-Coming Public Servant”
  • Sens. Obama and Biden issued a more carefully considered response: “We send our congratulations to Gov. Sarah Palin and her family on her designation as the Republican nominee for vice president. It is yet another encouraging sign that old barriers are falling in our politics. While we obviously have differences over how best to lead this country forward, Gov. Palin is an admirable person and will add a compelling new voice to this campaign.
  • John McCain’s Response to the Obama Campaign’s attack on Gov. Palin
    She first ran for office back in 1992. I don’t know what Senator Obama was doing then, but the first time she ran was 1992. That’s 16 years. I think that’s a pretty, pretty event-filled and record- filled resume.
  • Bill Burton, Obama Campaign Spokesman “Obama Response to Palin” Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush’s failed economic policies — that’s not the change we need, it’s just more of the same.
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