Advertising

The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds | seattletimes.com

Politics & Government


Our network sites seattletimes.com | Advanced

Saturday, August 30, 2008 - Page updated at 10:25 PM

Print      Share:    Digg     Newsvine

McCain, Palin in Pa.; GOP convention eyes Gustav

John McCain voiced concern for Gulf Coast residents fleeing the path of Hurricane Gustav on Saturday and made plans to visit Mississippi even as he reintroduced running mate Sarah Palin to a raucous crowd in a key battleground state.

Associated Press Writer

PREV  of  NEXT

Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., waves before making his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Enlarge this photo

RON EDMONDS / AP

Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., waves before making his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., waves to the crowd as he prepares to address the Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field in Denver.

Enlarge this photo

PAUL SANCYA / AP

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., waves to the crowd as he prepares to address the Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field in Denver.

Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., waves before making his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Enlarge this photo

CHRIS CARLSON / AP

Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., waves before making his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., right, and Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., are seen at the Democratic National Convention in Denver Wednesday.

Enlarge this photo

PAUL SANCYA / AP

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., right, and Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., are seen at the Democratic National Convention in Denver Wednesday.

Former presidential candidate New York Senator Hillary Clinton is surrounded by the media as they arrive on the floor during the presidential nominating process at the Democratic National Convention.

Enlarge this photo

PAUL J. RICHARDS / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Former presidential candidate New York Senator Hillary Clinton is surrounded by the media as they arrive on the floor during the presidential nominating process at the Democratic National Convention.

Addressing the convention Wednesday night, Biden said Obama was right about Iraq, a war he opposed from the start, and McCain was wrong.

Enlarge this photo

RON EDMONDS / AP

Addressing the convention Wednesday night, Biden said Obama was right about Iraq, a war he opposed from the start, and McCain was wrong.

Former President Bill Clinton addresses the crowd as he takes the stage during the Democratic National Convention in Denver Wednesday.

Enlarge this photo

CHARLES DHARAPAK / AP

Former President Bill Clinton addresses the crowd as he takes the stage during the Democratic National Convention in Denver Wednesday.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton waves to the crowd during day three of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at the Pepsi Center August 27, 2008 in Denver, Colorado.

Enlarge this photo

SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton waves to the crowd during day three of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at the Pepsi Center August 27, 2008 in Denver, Colorado.

Delegates cheer during the counting of nominating votes during day three of the Democratic National Convention.

Enlarge this photo

SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES

Delegates cheer during the counting of nominating votes during day three of the Democratic National Convention.

 U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) delegates watch as she releases her delegates during day three of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Enlarge this photo

MAX WHITTAKER / GETTY IMAGES

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) delegates watch as she releases her delegates during day three of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

The schedule

Thursday

Theme: "Change You Can Believe In."

Headline prime-time speaker: Barack Obama delivers acceptance speech at Invesco Field.

Others of note: Look for a special appearance by former Vice President Al Gore.

Also: "Unity breakfast" marking the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

Convention coverage on TV

ABC (4), CBS (7), NBC (5)

One hour a night, starting at 7.

KCTS (9)

5 p.m. to the convention's conclusion each night.

CNN

Coverage starts at 3 a.m. daily.

MSNBC, Fox News

20 hours a day live, starting at 3 a.m.

Sources: The Associated Press,

Cox News Service, Seattle Times archives, Orlando Sentinel

WASHINGTON, Pa. —

John McCain voiced concern for Gulf Coast residents fleeing the path of Hurricane Gustav on Saturday and made plans to visit Mississippi even as he reintroduced running mate Sarah Palin to a raucous crowd in a key battleground state.

"I would like, obviously, to keep in our thoughts and prayers the people on the Gulf Coast, especially in New Orleans, that are threatened by this terrible natural disaster of a hurricane," McCain said, recalling the devastation New Orleans suffered after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city three years ago.

Aides said McCain and his wife Cindy planned to join Palin in traveling to Jackson, Miss., Sunday at the invitation of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour because of concerns about people threatened by the storm. Gustav was heading into the Gulf of Mexico and menacing the same area ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The storm could hit the U.S. as early as Monday afternoon.

The McCains and Palin will receive a briefing at the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency - a permanent operations center monitoring hurricane response.

On Saturday, the Arizona senator appeared onstage with Palin at a baseball park rally under a hot sun outside Pittsburgh. To shouts of "Sa-rah! Sa-rah!" the Alaska governor thanked the crowd for the warm welcome.

"And it is warm! Not something I'm really used to," Palin said, laughing.

McCain aides say the campaign has brought in $7 million online since Palin's selection was announced Friday and that her strong anti-abortion credentials have helped energize conservatives, especially conservative women.

But the Palin rollout threatened to be overshadowed by Gustav, with the storm likely to change the course of the Republican convention scheduled to open Monday in St. Paul.

Gulf state governors could decide to remain at home if the storm threatens to bring serious damage. It could also affect Monday's opening-night address by President Bush. Gustav's projected path suggests it will make landfall late Monday or early Tuesday on Louisiana's central coast.

Earlier, in a television interview, McCain suggested convention plans may well be altered if Gustav continues on its projected path.

"You know it just wouldn't be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented in the form of a natural disaster, so we're monitoring it from day to day and I'm saying a few prayers, too."

He commented in an interview taped for "Fox News Sunday."

A top McCain aide, Mark Salter, said the campaign is drawing up contingency plans for what to do about the convention depending on when and where the storm hits. But he cautioned that it didn't mean the gathering would be canceled outright.

"It might change what we do at the convention" but wouldn't necessarily mean calling it off, Salter said.

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, in his first direct comment on McCain's unexpected running-mate choice, said he had called her on Friday to wish her luck "but not too much."

Asked whether he has plans to visit the Gulf Coast region, Obama said he was considering whether he should. Obama said such a visit with the accompanying media "can be a distraction in these kinds of situations. So we want to make sure that we're monitoring the situation and that we're being useful."

McCain and Palin made a morning stop at Tom's Diner in Pittsburgh's trendy Southside neighborhood. The running mates, with spouses in tow, greeted patrons and posed for pictures. Palin's daughters Willow and Piper were also on hand, with Willow carrying Palin's 4-month old son, Trig.

The first-term Alaska governor told reporters she was having fun in her new role. "It's great to see another part of the country," she said. She also said she'd managed to get a little sleep during the night.

"We're used to not getting too much sleep," she said, nodding her head toward the sleeping infant.

Palin also issued her first fundraising appeal, saying in an e-mail, "Some of life's greatest opportunities come unexpectedly, and this is certainly the case for me."

A day after his surprise selection of Palin, McCain planned to work part of the day on his convention acceptance speech.

The Democratic team of Obama and Joe Biden also began their day with a diner stop - in the Youngstown, Ohio, suburb of Boardman - as they pressed on with their post-Democratic convention bus tour of Rust Belt battleground states.

Obama said in a television interview that he had wished Palin luck "but not too much luck on the campaign trail" in a brief congratulatory phone call on Friday. He told CBS' "60 Minutes" he had yet to meet Palin but "she seems to have a compelling life story. Obviously, she's a fine mother and an up-and-coming public servant."

Of his own choice for a ticket-mate, Obama said Biden "can step in and become president. And I don't think anybody has any doubt about that."

He also said he wanted the "counsel and advice of somebody who's not going to agree with me 100 percent of the time." The Delaware senator, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has a reputation for outspokenness. "Joe Biden doesn't bite his tongue," Obama said in the interview that was taped Friday night in Pittsburgh.

As Republicans began to gather in St. Paul, a new Obama ad that began airing nationally on cable television on Saturday acknowledged McCain's selection of Palin - but in images and words that left no doubt that Obama still wants the public to judge McCain by the policies of Bush.

"Well, he's made his choice," the ad states, "But for the rest of us, there's still no change."

During their diner stop, Obama and Biden and their wives chatted with patrons and told reporters they hoped the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina would help the Gulf Coast this time.

"Hopefully we've learned from that tragedy," Obama said. Biden said the region was much better prepared than before Katrina. "Just pray to God that those levees hold," he said.

With memories still vivid of the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the possibility of serious damage threatened to cast a pall over the convention. It also could keep away some prominent governors - including Louisiana's Bobby Jindal and Mississippi's Haley Barbour. Depending on the path the storm takes, it could also affect the plans of governors Bob Riley of Alabama, Rick Perry of Texas and Charlie Crist of Florida.

Bush, faced with the chance of another devastating hurricane during his presidency, called Gulf Coast governors on Saturday and conferred with federal officials to keep a close watch on developments, said spokesman Scott Stanzel.

Forecasters on Saturday said Gustav had strengthened to a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds near 145 mph. The National Hurricane Center called it an "extremely dangerous" storm.

The president has been widely criticized for the way the government dealt with Katrina and its aftermath.

But the convention was still on schedule in St. Paul.

"There are no plans for any postponement," said Mike Miller, director of operations. "We plan to start when we're going to start and end when we're going to end.

Convention workers put up new barricades and closed off streets as Republicans made final preparations for the four-day GOP gathering at the Xcel Energy Center. Workers inside the arena were putting finishing touches on the stage and checking red telephones installed in the each delegation's seating area. The delegates' chairs were roped off with yellow caution tape in an effort to keep people from sitting on them.

Set-up crews and guards took a few seconds to take pictures of themselves in front of the large screen on the podium, which displayed an image of an American flag waving in the wind. Big signs ringing the inside of the arena highlight one of McCain's campaign themes, "Country First."

Elsewhere:

- Protesters said police raided three Minneapolis homes on Saturday after a late-night raid on a building used by protest organizers. No arrests were made, but the protesters said deputies seized laptops, protest literature, bus schedules, a map and sign-making materials. Sheriff Bob Fletcher said authorities moved to head off efforts to disrupt the convention.

-Not invited to the convention, backers of Rep. Ron Paul, defeated in the Republican presidential primaries, were flocking into town for their own counter-convention, which they dubbed "Ronstock '08."

-The public's curiosity of Palin seemed to get the best of the governor's Web site. Not long after Palin's selection was announced, the Web site crashed from too many hits, said her spokesman, Bill McAllister. "Right now, it appears to have restored a leaner version," he said Saturday. "I'm not sure when we'll have it back up the way it was."

---

Associated Press writer Steve Quinn in Anchorage contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

More Politics headlines...

Print

advertising

Others states' fights bring focus to Daniels

NEW - 07:13 AM
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is writing memoir

Bill would make jail mug shots available

Immigration, license bill voted down in state Senate

Rival Texas bills require sonograms before abortions

Advertising

This feature requires Flash 7.

Download Flash

Top video | World | Science / Tech | Entertainment

Marketplace
Advertising