McCain Orders Republican Convention Changes

by Steve Handlesman
NBC News

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Gustav crisis means the Republican National Convention will not go as scheduled.

President Bush has canceled his appearance and John McCain, who flew to the Gulf Coast Sunday, has decreed that his convention not look like a party as Gustav comes ashore.

McCain ordered the Republican Convention to be delayed and downsized, and the event could still be effectively canceled.

McCain and his new running mate, Sarah Palin, flew to a hurricane center in Mississippi, where he vowed that Gustav will be their focus, not the Republican Convention.

There'll be procedural votes, but no Republican rah-rah.

Delegates had hoped for prime time, page one coverage.

"Its obviously disappointing because,  of course, like for the convention you do want a
lot of press for the convention," said Missouri delegate Jane Gibson.

The Louisiana delegation rushed home, while network TV anchors headed to New Orleans.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney both canceled their appearances.

In Ohio, Barack Obama offered help after Gustav.

"I think we can get tons of volunteers to travel down there if it becomes necessary," he said.  "I think we can activate an email list of a couple million people who want to give back."