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Gustav scraps Monday speaking schedule

The threat of Hurricane Gustav prompted Republicans on Sunday to cancel most activities associated with Monday’s first day of the Republican National Convention.

GOP delegates will conduct only official business — establishing a quorum and adopting a party platform, among other parliamentary moves — on Monday. The session is expected to last about 2 hours, instead of the 7 hours that were planned.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney earlier Sunday told the convention they would not be in St. Paul, Minn., so that they could follow Gustav as it rumbled toward the Gulf Coast.

In a statement via video feed to reporters at the convention, presumptive presidential nominee John McCain said his party needed to put the welfare of America ahead of its convention.

“Of course, this is a time where we have to do away with our party politics and do what’s best for America,” McCain said from St. Louis, Mo.

Officials said they would decide “day to day” how to proceed with the rest of the convention. The only other official business that must be completed this week is the formal nomination of McCain for president and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, for vice president.

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