GOP mulls truncated convention

The Tampa Bay Times Forum is the hosting site for the 2012 Republican National Convention. The Tampa Bay Times Forum is the hosting site for the 2012 Republican National Convention. Dave Martin/AP

This story has been updated.

With Isaac on target for New Orleans, Republican National Convention officials were considering a number of worst-case scenarios on Monday, including a quick roll-call vote and a truncated speech by Mitt Romney.

No decision has been made yet and none is likely Monday, said two senior GOP officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss convention scenarios. But the convention conceivably could be as short as a single day, one of the officials said.

Planners are considering a range of options, depending on the vagaries of the storm. One of the worst-case scenarios would have Romney delivering a brief speech declaring the emergency bigger than politics, shuttering the convention, and turning the public’s attention to the Gulf Coast. Such a response would essentially be counter-programming to what people would expect from President Obama, one official said.

“That’s the worst-case scenario you just played out, and that might not be the worst-case scenario” politically for Romney if he’s seen as putting people ahead of politics, said the official who demanded anonymity.

Convention spokesman James Davis did not confirm the scenario planning but suggested that plans for a three-day convention are at the mercy of the weather. “We’re hoping we go forward with Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday,”  Davis said. “We are agile, and we can move things around, but we’re planning for” a three-day convention.

Throughout the Romney camp, officials struggled to grapple with the unpredictable storm and the challenge it poses. “How do you handle an issue over which you have no authority?” said Neil Newhouse, Romney’s chief pollster.

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