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Party delayed -- stay tuned

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We arrived at our workspace in the Xcel Arena in St. Paul Sunday afternoon just in time to see John McCain on a satellite feed say most activities of the first day of the Republican National Convention would be canceled because of Hurricane Gustav.

How's that for a welcome to your story assignment? And what a blow to thousands of convention delegates arriving today!

McCain and the GOP are walking a tightrope. They are trying to put a face of concern and competence on a response to a Gulf Coast hurricane. They would like voters to update the map they drew from the administration's bungled response to Katrina three years ago.

At the same time, McCain & Co. don't want their convention, their ticket, and their response to Barack Obama's lovefest in Denver to be overshadowed by a tropical storm.

National conventions, it can be argued, are no longer relevant to the political process.

However, in these extraordinary circumstances, the way the non-convention or the truncated convention plays out this week may give voters the chance to judge McCain's decision-making in real time as he orchestrates what his party's party turns into over the next four days.

Stay tuned.

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Bruce Lindsay


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