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This morning in the Tampa Bay Times



Isaac intrudes:

... the Tampa Bay area will almost certainly be struck late today with driving rain and winds of 39 to 73 mph.

Why? Because Isaac is big. Really big.

Tropical storm conditions will extend more than 200 miles from its center.

Those forces could ultimately shut down the bridges that connect Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Officials will close the Sunshine Skyway if sustained winds hit 40 mph.

Which means: Instead of a four-day convention set to begin Monday, officials said they're scrambling to plan a three-day convention. Now the RNC is set to start — weather permitting — on Tuesday and end with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan taking the stage as the GOP's presidential and vice presidential nominees in front of a national TV audience Thursday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Florida: the center of it all.

Jeb Bush: "I'm worried about our country ..."

Mitt Romney on why he should be president. Charlie Crist on why he shouldn't.

"The Republicans made very ambitious plans to basically transform the political world. I don't see much progress at all, frankly," said Norman Ornstein, a scholar with the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "It's a pretty dismal record." Click.

"Tampa brings the cool factor," says Shannon Rose, a Florida casting director and PR man. "We're right near Orlando, we're right near the theme parks. You can go to the beaches, you can go to the strip clubs. This is more of a city that invites people." Click.

The Times recently sent surveys to several hundred vendors on the convention's approved vendors list. Out of some 60 respondents, 57 percent said they do not expect any increased revenue from the convention, and an additional 10 percent were unsure. Out of those expecting a financial boost, 44 percent predicted the increase would be small. Click.

Arrivals at the airport:

Rove shot a glance at a pair of stars and stripes boots, on the heels of Don Genhart, 77, of Palm Desert, Calif.

"I'm a patriot and a strong Republican," Genhart declared.

"Those are strong boots," Rove said.

Mike Huckabee on the Panhandle, where he lives: "This part of Florida is God, guns, grits and gravy."

The police chief here is a woman. Also gay. And other things you should know about Tampa.

Quote of the day: "It almost seems like we're being confrontational before anything even starts." And RNC boss Reince Priebus: "We have put our faith in God that hurricanes will not be here."

Eric Deggans: How will the first political convention of the social media age be different than what came before? Laura Reiley: How many ways can you eat Gulf seafood with your fingers? More from Laura: Roses are red, violets are blue, and three local florists have furiously been purchasing the white flowers that complete the patriotic arrangements for the Republican National Convention.

Traffic. The summer of '72. Obama punching bags. The Tampa they don't want you to see. The once and future Florida.

[Last modified: Sunday, August 26, 2012 2:33pm]


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