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Tropical Storm Isaac’

Scott acknowledges RNC plans are “day-to-day”

Monday, August 27th, 2012 by John Kennedy

Gov. Rick Scott acknowledged Monday that the fate of the Republican National Convention is day-to-day as Tropical Storm Isaac continues on its path toward the Gulf coast.

“I think the convention has the same goal I have, we’re going to keep everybody safe,” Scott said, after giving Florida’s convention delegates a storm update at the Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor, where the delegation is housed.

The storm is expected to dump several inches of rain on an already saturated Florida Panhandle later this week, Scott said. There also remains the threat that Isaac will turn into a fierce hurricane when it makes landfall, now most likely in Louisianna.

Scott kept his distance from speculation the convention could be scrapped. But he said much depends on the storm.

“It’s day-to-day,” Scott said of convention planning. “But the positive is for Florida, not necessarily for Louisianna, is that it’s trending west. It has not become a hurricane yet.”

Convention organizers have been retooling the schedule for upcoming days. Monday is mostly a washout, with delegates being told largely to stay inside and avoid travel on roadways in the Tampa Bay area.

The party is certainly mindful of the political risk of scheduling convention events if Gulf coast citizens are scrambling for shelter.

Clint Pate, the Jackson County Republican chairman, said he knew his home Panhandle county was going to be deluged Tuesday, when the convention is expected to kick back into gear.

“We’ll be all right, though,” Pate said. “I don’t think this is going to take away from our goal of nominating Mitt Romney. The message is the same.”

Scott: Isaac will showcase how Florida handles storms

Sunday, August 26th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Even as Tropical Storm Isaac gains strength and poses a growing threat to Florida’s Gulf Coast, Gov. Rick Scott wouldn’t say whether holding a convention in Tampa during hurricane was a bad idea, repeatedly side-stepping questions about the site selection during an emergency briefing with the media this afternoon.

“Everybody likes to come to Florida. I’m sure they’re going to have a great convention,” Scott said.

Scott tried to turn the looming disaster, expected to bring high winds and gusts into the Tampa Bay region, into a Sunshine State sales pitch.

“The convention was a big opportunity for our state to show what a great place it is to live, work and play. Now what they’ve learned, what they’re going to find out this week, is we know how to deal with hurricanes. We’re prepared. This is a state that knows how to deal with those things,” he said. “On top of that we’re the best hospitality state around. We have 87 million tourists here a year. We know how to have conventions, how to have large events and we’re going to do a great job.”

Florida officials’ job is to keep residents and visitors safe, Scott said.

“We’re going to make sure that happens and we’ll do everything we can to make sure they have a great time,” the governor said at convention emergency operations center in Tampa at noon.

Winds are emergency officials’ greatest worry for the Tampa region, Scott said.

“But around the state we’ve got rain, we’ve got wind, we’ve got storm surge and then we’ve got the risk of tornadoes,” he said.

Scott warned visitors to the area who are staying at neighboring Pinellas County beaches to stay put instead of heading into the water-surrounded downtown convention site.

“If someone’s staying close to the beach, stay close to the beach. Don’t start venturing into the Tampa side because you don’t know what’s going to happen as far as your ability to get home,” Scott cautioned, adding that he planned to be in Tampa today only.

Scott said he spoke with Mitt Romney twice yesterday and “brought him up to speed” about emergency preparations statewide and in the Tampa area.

Late yesterday, GOP officials canceled Monday’s opening day Republican National Convention events and said the convention would resume on Tuesday. They are expected to issue a revised schedule later today.

The “roll call of the states” officially nominating Romney was supposed to take place at 2 p.m. tomorrow. But the nomination is now expected to happen on Tuesday along with other events previously scheduled for Monday.

Gov. Scott on Florida: “We do hurricanes and hospitality well”

Sunday, August 26th, 2012 by John Kennedy

Gov. Rick Scott said Sunday at the delayed Republican National Convention in Tampa that he’s worried about Tropical Storm Isaac making two landfalls in Florida as a hurricane – in the Keys and Panhandle — but that the state is accustomed to handling bad weather.

“We do hurricanes and hospitality well, and this week we have to show both sides,” Scott told CNN.

With the storm bearing down on Key West, Scott changed from his political uniform of dark jacket, shirt and tie into his more accustomed open collar, blue shirt — the image of a shirtsleeved, hardworking chief executive.

But he also offered Mitt Romney some advice for winning Florida in November. Scott said Romney and running mate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan need only look at the governor’s own campaign in 2010 for a game plan.

“I think as long as Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan talk about how they’ll get this state back to work, they’ll win Florida,” Scott said.

Scott says RNC now working with state on storm-watch

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 by John Kennedy

Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday that state emergency officials will be working with Republican National Convention leaders in tracking the course of Tropical Storm Isaac, but that a decision on whether to delay or postpone the gathering planned for Tampa next week will be up to the GOP.

“With good information, I think everybody is going to make the same decision,” Scott said.

With almost 4,500 delegates and alternates, along with tens of thousands more media, guests and other visitors heading toward Tampa this weekend, the storm looms as a logistical nightmare is evacuations are needed, or if the convention must be delayed.

 Scott, though, said he was confident that Florida emergency officials could handle any challenge before them.

“We’ll have to wait and see what’s going to happen,” Scott said. “But this state’s prepared. We’ve gone through hurricanes. We have great local emergency teams, we have great state emergency teams, so depending on what happens, if we have a hurricane, where it’s going to hit in the state, we’ll deal with it. That’s what we do as a state.”

Scott is scheduled to arrive Sunday at the Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor, which will house the Florida delegation during the Aug. 27-30 event. Scott also is scheduled to address the convention on its Monday opening night. 

Those plans are still on course, said Scott, who also pointed out that the resort’s location — almost an hour from the convention site in downtown Tampa — could now prove fortunate.

Although Florida delegates have squawked about their hotel’s site, Scott said, “I guess we now have one benefit of being further away from the beach.”

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