Gustav & the RNC in St. Paul

Knopf240 There’s been much written about the changes underway to adjust the schedule of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul as Hurricane Gustav bears down on the Gulf Coast. Iowa delegate Mike Knopf of Dubuque at age 17 is the youngest delegate at the entire convention. He was waiting in the hotel lobby earlier today, dressed in his new suit and prepared with a neck tie, to be interviewed by NBC about his upcoming convention experience, but coverage plans were adjusted because of Gustav and the interview did not take place.

As Iowa delegates file into the hotel lobby, first-time delegates are expressing a bit of disappointment, but understanding because the convention’s schedule has been changed and President Bush and Vice President Cheney will not appear in person, plus the party-like atmosphere may give way to a more somber call to action to help hurricane victims.

Tamara Scott, a first-time delegate from Polk County, says: "I’m absolutely disappointed anytime I can’t see the president, but I certainly understand.  We have business to do and so does he…It’s always a delight to see him, but he’s got a job to do."

Ann Trimble-Ray, a p.r. person who’s done work for Congressman Steve King, is a first-time delegate, too.  Trimble-Ray admitted to being disappointed she won’t get the ultimate convention experience.  "Only in a selfish way," Trimble-Ray says.  "The big picture is much more important and with Gustav bearing down, he needs to be in San Antonio.  We need to be here.  That’s what we need to have happen."

Senator Chuck Grassley issued a prepared statement via email, reminding Americans that Iowa flood victims need sympathy just as much as the hurricane victims: "Senator McCain’s call to put politics aside was absolutely the right thing to do.  This is not a time to worry about politics, but instead a time to help our fellow Americans who are hurting.  Just as Iowans needed immediate help just a few months ago, and continue to need a helping hand, the people in the path of Hurricane Gustav need our support.  Republicans stand ready to be of assistance to those who are in need." 

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.