Politicians may temper tone at Convention due to Isaac

TAMPA -- GOP officials canceled Monday's planned first day of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida due to the impending Tropical Storm Isaac. Sunday, forecasts showed Isaac's path had moved east, toward the Gulf of Mexico and New Orleans. In advance of the Convention's start Tuesday, politicians may be tempering the tone of what they say in speeches, depending upon what happens with Isaac. 

The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning Sunday evening from east of Morgan City, Louisiana, to Destin on the Florida panhandle. Though it hasn't yet been officially declared a hurricane, Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to gain strength in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

UW-Milwaukee Professor of Governmental Affairs Mordecai Lee says just because the Republican Party unofficially determined its candidates for the White House weeks ago doesn't mean the 2012 GOP Convention in Tampa this week will be without meaningful moments.

"Generally speaking, the key to focus on is the last night of the Convention. The party is lifting the curtain on its star. Governor Romney is going to give us his best line, and in a sense, that is going to be the soundbite that is going to run for the rest of the year," Lee said.

Lee says a speech, or even a few words can prove to be a campaign boom or bust, propelling a politician forward, or clamping a candidate's clout.

"There have been some very effective acceptance speeches that have affected American politics in our lifetime. For example, it was Ronald Reagan who said what the Republican Party stood for and gave us a list. Similarly, there have been very lousy acceptance speeches. Michael Dukakis, when he accepted the Democratic nomination, in his speech he said the issue is competence as opposed to saying the issue is ideals and values," Lee said.

State politicians will have a role in shaping the success or failure of the overall tone in Tampa. Wisconsinites scheduled to address supporters include congressman and Romney VP selection Paul Ryan, congressman Sean Duffy and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

"We went from being cheese-heads to being the center of American politics," Lee said.

A post-Convention up-tick in polls is typical. Lee expects there to be about a five percent gain for Romney and Ryan after the GOP Convention wraps up Thursday, but adds that will likely happen on the Democratic side, following their convention. He expects public opinion polls to be more stable by September.

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