Gustav Derails First Day of the Republican National Convention

by Steve Handlesman

NBC News

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA - As Republicans gathered in St. Paul, Minnesota for a subdued and shortened convention session Monday, John McCain was in Ohio, collecting hurricane relief supplies.

McCain said politics were on hold as he packaged supplies for hurricane victims.

Convention participants got in on the new program as well.

Delegates texted pledges to the Red Cross for Gustav victims.

"It's an opportunity for the American people to see the compassion and caring that John McCain has," said Maryland delegate Chris Cavey.

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign confirmed that his running mate's 17-year-old daughter Bristol is five months pregnant.

Barack Obama said the issue was not relevant, and that his campaign would respect the family's privacy.

"I think people's families are off limits and people's children are especially off limits.  People's children are especially off limits.  This shouldn't be part of our politics.  It has no relevance to Governor Palin's performance as governor or her potential performance as a Vice President," Obama told reporters.

Obama also spent the day focused on hurricane relief as well, saying now is not the time for political speeches.

Indications are that John McCain will be at this convention on Thursday to accept the nomination and refocus Republicans on the campaign.