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GOP convention: Getting started

“Republicans staged a remarkably subdued opening to Mitt Romney’s national convention Monday in the midst of a turbulent election year, wary of uncorking a glittery political celebration as Tropical Storm Isaac surged menacingly toward New Orleans and the northern Gulf Coast,” AP writes, adding, “The week was turning out to be about both meteorology and politics. Romney’s top aides and convention planners were juggling their desire for a robust rouse-the-Republicans convention with concern about appearing uncaring as New Orleans faced a threat from Isaac precisely seven years after the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.”

Some front pages – all about the hurricane, not the GOP convention:

Tampa Bay Times: “Isaac whispers old fear: Katrina.”
New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Many will weather hurricane at home.”
Birmingham News: “State coast bracing for Isaac” and Republican convention starts amid storms.”
Jackson Clarion-Ledger: “Coast braces.”
Pensacola News Journal: “Pensacola spared from Isaac’s worst.”

Of course, this was a story that gets written: “As tropical storm Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast, there should be plenty of money — some $1.5 billion — in federal disaster aid coffers, thanks, in part, to a new system that budgets help for victims of hurricanes, tornadoes and floods before they occur,”  the AP writes. “It’s a system that Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee-to-be for vice president, had hoped to scrap as a way to make his House GOP budget look smaller by about $10 billion a year. Politely, party elders told him no way, at least for now.”

“New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will deliver the most important speech of his surging political career Tuesday night, giving the Republican National Convention’s keynote address as the nation braces for another potential tragedy in the Gulf,” the New York Daily News writes. 

In advance of Artur Davis’ remarks before the GOP convention tonight, members of the Congressional Black Caucus pen a letter to him that highlights what they say are flip-flops by the former Democratic congressman. “Given the magnitude of your recent transformation, we can only conclude that, rather than a true conversion, your actions are the result of a nakedly personal and political calculation or simmering anguish after failing to secure the Democratic nomination for governor of the State of Alabama in 2010.” 

More: “Despite recent news reports that you sought advice from a Virginia political consultant about running for office as a Democrat, you currently proclaim to have switched to the Republican Party.  However, in 2009 you repeatedly criticized former Representative Parker Griffith for the same act, saying, ‘his decision repudiates the hard work of many Democrats who sustained him during his election to two high offices.’ You continued, ‘He leaves a party where differences of opinion are tolerated and respected to join a party that in Washington, marches in lockstep, demands the most rigid unity, and articulates no governing philosophy beyond the forceful use of the word, ‘no.’”  

In a USA Today story on Romney’s path to the GOP nomination, Romney adviser Stu Stevens said this: "At the debate in Michigan, he was giving an answer whether he had changed a position on this or that and just said, 'Look at my life. I'm a man of constancy,' It was very powerful." 

House Speaker Boehner’s on the shortened-convention train: The New York Daily News’ DeFrank reports Boehner told a group of reporters: “These are very expensive propositions to put on. I’m not sure that having a four-day convention, for the future, makes a lot of sense.”

“Rep. Ron Paul’s delegates are trying to mount a floor fight over new GOP rules designed to limit the ability of insurgent presidential candidates to amass delegates to future Republican conventions,” AP writes. “They are getting help from other delegates, though it is unclear whether they can rally enough support to challenge the rules on the floor of the convention Tuesday. Mitt Romney, the party’s presumptive nominee, has plenty of delegates to win any floor fight. Nevertheless, party officials agreed to ease the new rules on Monday in an effort to appease some disgruntled delegates. Still, the dispute could provide an unwanted distraction for party leaders who would rather focus on promoting Romney and defeating President Barack Obama.” 

NBC Latino’s Sandra Lilley attended a press conference for Hispanic journalists yesterday at the convention. “From the start, the questions dominating the press conference focused on the difference between the inclusive language in the [new Romney Spanish-language ad] versus the language proposed in the GOP platform, which states that the goal is for undocumented immigrants to voluntarily leave – in other words, ‘self-deport.’ And in an exclusive interview with Telemundo’s Angie Sandoval, Texas Tea Party senatorial candidate Ted Cruz said he would expect that if Romney were elected, he would rescind President Obama’s deferred deportation for Dreamers.  Ted Cruz will speak tomorrow night.” 

According to Pew, the interest level in Romney’s nomination speech (44%) is lower than any other recent presidential candidate or key speaker. The others Pew has measured: George W. Bush in 2000 (53%), John McCain in 2008 (52%), Bill Clinton in 2012 (52%), John Kerry in 2004 (51%), Barack Obama in 2012 (51%), Paul Ryan in 2012 (46%).  

D’oh: Political Wire: “Philip Klein: ‘All credentialed media checking into the Republican National Convention are being given a swag bag featuring brochures and items from various sponsors such as sunglasses and a pocket fan. But the bag also contains a copy of the original hardcover version of Mitt Romney's book No Apology, in which he suggested his approach to health care in Massachusetts could be accomplished in the rest of the country.’”