Monday, September 1, 2008

McCain Urges Convention to Put Gustav Victims First

At Sen. John McCain's urging, the Republican National Convention will set politics aside and focus on helping the victims of Hurricane Gustav, according to RNC Chair Mike Duncan and McCain campaign manager Rick Davis.

Consequently, today's convention will include the official business required by law, followed by a short video regarding relief efforts for Gustav from the governors of the affected states. First Lady Laura Bush will make brief remarks to introduce the video, and Cindy McCain will make concluding remarks, which like Mrs. Bush's, will focus on raising money for relief efforts, not politics.

In addition -- also at the behest of McCain -- the convention has organized its own relief effort of assembling comfort boxes (including toiletries and nonperishable food). Target has donated the contents of the boxes, thousands of convention volunteers and delegates will pack them, and Fed Ex will deliver them to the Gulf victims.

Yesterday, the McCain campaign chartered a plane to fly home all affected delegates who wanted to check on their homes and families. Davis anticipates that those delegates will return to the convention with family and friends who have been forced to evacuate; the McCain campaign again will provide the transportation.

Other RNC responses include the establishment of working groups for state delegations in Gustav's path, information clearing houses and a phone bank to raise relief money. The RNC has worked with Gulf Coast governors to identify the charities that can most quickly respond to the needs of those in Gustav's path.

Davis anticipates that both McCain and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin will accept their nominations at the convention. Palin arrived in Minneapolis yesterday, and is using today to work on her acceptance speech and "catch her breath," according to Davis. Palin is apparently staying at the same hotel as the Kentucky delegation. Everyone who enters the hotel has the handle of their luggage and its zipper checked for residue of explosives.

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