Republican Convention’s Big Squeeze: Planners Trim Schedule to Three Days

Aug 26, 2012 7:19pm

TAMPA, Fla. — Republican officials are getting a lesson in how to squeeze a national convention into just three days.

In a conference call with reporters today, Romney campaign strategist Russ Schriefer said that Tropical Storm Isaac — soon to be Hurricane Isaac — had forced Republican National Convention planners to eliminate “some parts of the program that weren’t essential in order to retain our headliners.”

Schriefer said that none of the “headliners” — those speakers who were scheduled for the prime 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. time slot — had been removed from the program, but other speakers had.

“We did not change the 10 to 11 p.m. hour on any night,” Schriefer said.

According to the revised schedule released by convention officials, the roll call vote officially nominating Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to the Republican ticket will take place on Tuesday. That night Ann Romney will speak. Ryan’s speech takes place on Wednesday and Romney’s on Thursday.

The trimming of the schedule to accommodate the party’s three-day time frame included cutting out some parts of the program entirely and “making a few of the speeches shorter,” Schriefer said.

And the RNC built in an additional half-hour of time by pushing up the start of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights to 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

“We’re obviously monitoring what is going on with the weather,” Schriefer said.

Tropical Storm Isaac will be making its way up the Florida coast tonight, bringing with it potentially damaging rain and wind. It is expected to strengthen into a hurricane as early as Monday morning, and then make landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast on Tuesday.

He left open the possibility that “if the weather changes,” further alterations to the schedule might be made, though none were planned at this time. And Schriefer declined to speculate about potentially extending the convention programming through Friday.

“It’s a hypothetical question and I really don’t want to kind of answer it in that way,” he said.

Monday’s session will be brief. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus plans to gavel in the convention and then immediately call it into recess until Tuesday.

“If the session lasts more than five minutes I would be surprised,” Schriefer said, noting that although delegates are invited to attend he did not anticipate many would show up.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Priebus emphasized that “the show is going to go on.

“We’re going to get the business done at the RNC,” the chairman said. “We’re going to nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. We’re going to have a great time in Tampa.”

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