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GOP Convention Begins In Tampa [VIDEO]

The Republican National Convention is under way in Tampa, Fla., with a significantly abbreviated Monday schedule and only a smattering of delegates in attendance.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus bangs the gavel to start the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus bangs the gavel to start the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

With Tropical Storm Isaac forcing organizers to cancel most of the opening-day program, party Chairman Reince Priebus pounded the gavel, citing the convention rules requiring a 2 p.m. Monday start.

Two minutes later, he recessed the session.

FULL COVERAGE: Republican National Convention

Priebus then instructed delegates to look up at two “debt clocks” — one that reflects the actual national debt and a second that counts up rising debt during the convention. The latter was quickly in six figures.

 

 

The convention gets into full gear tomorrow, just as forecasters say Isaac could reach hurricane strength and make landfall somewhere between Mississippi and New Orleans.

GOP delegates keep busy despite Isaac delay

Governor Christie on a surfboard in a button from the California delegation
Governor Christie on a surfboard in a button from the California delegation (Twitter)

Delegates to the Republican National Convention spent Monday reuniting with fellow Republicans, getting pep talks from governors and party leaders, and bouncing from reception to reception.

With little taking place in the convention arena, where most events were scrapped Monday due to Tropical Storm Isaac, some delegates showed up to scope out their seats and take photos in front of the empty podium.

Pennsylvania delegate Marion Taxin says she didn’t take an umbrella as she headed to the aquarium in Tampa, Fla., for an event with her governor. Wisconsin delegate Sol Grosskopf says he feels like he’s gained a day to catch up with old friends.

Arkansas delegate Dorothy Crockett says she’s looking forward to a Republican hurricane: a GOP takeover of Congress and the White House in November.

1 arrest during GOP protests in Tampa

Activists demonstrate during a planned march in Tampa
Activists demonstrate during a planned march in Tampa (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Police in Tampa have arrested a protester after he refused to take off a mask covering part of his face.

Police on bicycles were following and surrounding a breakoff group of protesters Monday. Two men wearing masks were asked to take them off. One man complied, the other did not and was taken by police to an SUV and driven away.

The group was loosely protesting against the wars overseas.

Louisiana gov. cancels plans to attend convention

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says he won’t attend the Republican National Convention because his home state is in the crosshairs of Tropical Storm Isaac.

Jindal had been scheduled to speak in Tampa on Wednesday night.

But on Monday, he said he’ll be staying home, saying there “is no time for politics here in Louisiana” during such a storm. Isaac is supposed to hit a day before the seventh anniversary of devastating Hurricane Katrina.

Republican elected officials from Louisiana and Mississippi have scrapped or delayed travel plans for the GOP convention. Some who had arrived in Tampa turned around Monday and headed home to wait for Isaac.

Republicans postponed the start of speeches at the convention until Tuesday because of the storm.


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