Susana will now speak Wednesday as Republicans adjust to tropical storm Isaac
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New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez will now precede Paul Ryan on the speaker’s list on Wednesday night as officials rejiggered the format of the Republican National Convention in Tampa as tropical storm Isaac begins to lash the Gulf Coast.
Gov. Martinez originally was going to be the second-to-last speaker on Tuesday night in prime time but with Isaac expected to hit landfall early Monday, GOP officials decided to cancel Monday’s scheduled opening of the convention and plan to start on Tuesday (Aug. 28).Under the revised schedule, Martinez will still receive a plumb assignment — being the penultimate speaker on Wednesday night, following former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and coming right before Vice Presidential candidate Ryan concludes the day’s events — guaranteeing her a national audience.
Officials lumped Rice, Martinez and Ryan together in a listing slated to start at 10 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
As of Sunday night, forecasters think the full force of Isaac will miss Tampa but the storm is packing 100 mph winds and could be upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane.
Does that mean there could be more changes to the convention schedule as events dictate?
In a conference call with reporters Sunday afternoon, Russ Schriefer, a top adviser to Mitt Romney who is helping produce the convention, said, “Until we know that and we can predict the weather, we are going to continue with our Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday schedule.”
If the storm packs a real wallop and leaves a trail of devastation, the GOP will have to walk a fine line during its convention: Trying to generate national enthusiasm for nominee Romney but avoiding looking too joyous should those affected by the storm be left in dire straits.
“We are obviously monitoring what is going on with the weather,” Schriefer said. “Our concern has to be with the people who are in the path of the storm.”