Convention schedule in flux
The cancellation of Monday's opening day of the Republican National Convention leaves organizers trying to cram four days worth of speakers into three.
The GOP is used to the challenge. In 2008, a threatening Hurricane Gustav in the Gulf of Mexico wiped out the first full day of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. The change in 2008 left some speakers, such as Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, without a spot.
What will happen this year? Tampa's convention planners say they hope to release revised convention schedules today. They'll likely have some tough decisions to make.
Convention delegates had been scheduled to get most of the official work out of the way during an afternoon session, including the roll call for the nomination of president and vice president. That likely will now occur Tuesday. Less clear is what happens to Monday night's speakers, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Speaker John Boehner, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
The night has so far been billed as a way to play off Barack Obama's "You didn't build that" comment and Romney's vision of less government regulation. The two big speakers planned for the night are Ann Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who will deliver the keynote address. (Mrs. Romney had been scheduled to speak Monday but was moved to Tuesday late last week so that her speech would be broadcast on network television.)
Also on the schedule to speak Tuesday are former Romney rival Rick Santorum and several prominent Republican governors, including Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Viriginia's Bob McDonnell.
The night's schedule was crafted to lead up to the prime-time remarks from Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
The speaker lineup so far for Wednesday also includes Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who has said she plans to discuss her opposition to the federal health care law, two people who were on Romney's vice presidential short list — former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman — and another who got VP buzz, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Most expect the final night of the convention to be devoted to Romney, who is scheduled to be introduced at the Tampa Bay Times Forum by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Also scheduled to appear Thursday are more than a dozen Olympians, including three who are to speak to Romney's leadership during the 2002 games: skeet shooting gold medalist Kim Rhode, speed skater Derek Parra and Mike Eruzione, captain of the gold medal-winning 1980 ice hockey team. The night also is expected to feature members of the Mormon Church who have been helped by Romney or served with him.
Romney has largely avoided talking about his faith, fearful of turning off evangelicals who are skeptical of the religion, but it also provides a window into his devotion and charity, and friends have encouraged him to be more open.
Aaron Sharockman and Alex Leary, Times staff writers