- HURRICANE GOP: FRIDAY UPDATE. ABC’s Sam Champion reported on “Good Morning America” today that Tropical Storm Isaac is crawling over the islands of the Caribbean and it will continue to make its way to Cuba as a tropical storm, but once it reaches warmer waters in the Gulf of Mexico, it has every opportunity to strengthen to a Category One Hurricane. Right now, the center of uncertainty is right across the Gulf coastline — everyone from Houston all the way to the Florida Keys has to watch this system. Projected storm paths show Isaac passing 200 miles west of Tampa as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico. That will mean heavy showers and thunderstorms for the Republican National Convention.
- TAMPA TROUBLE? ABC’s Matt Guttman, reporting from Florida, notes that Tampa is the most flood prone city in America. Officials are fearful that roads, bridges, walkways in the convention area could be underwater. But, in an interview with ABC’s Steven Portnoy this morning, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said, “we feel really good” about convention preparation as well as contingency plans for the storm. “Everything’s moving forward as planned. We’re going to have a great convention,” Priebus said. “Obviously, we care about where this thing ends up and obviously we don’t want to see anyone get hurt. There may be a little rain Monday and Tuesday, but from everything that we’ve been told, it’s going to be maybe banded-type rain. So, we feel good about that.”
- XOXO –BO: ABC’s Jake Tapper reports that in the wake of criticism about Vice President Joe Biden’s “chains” comment — and calls from Republicans such as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sarah Palin for President Obama to replace him on the ticket — the president last night personally sent a tweet of support for his Number Two. “Today marks four years since I chose @JoeBiden to be my running mate,” read the tweet. “Here’s to an outstanding Vice President and a great friend. -bo.” The “-bo” signifies that the tweet was sent personally by President Obama. On Sunday, Obama campaign deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said Biden was “absolutely not” a liability. http://abcn.ws/NNPy7t
- THIS WEEK ON ‘THIS WEEK’: BOB MCDONNELL AND ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA. As Republicans gather for their national convention in Tampa next week, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Platform Committee, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, chairman of the Democratic National Convention, face off on the 2012 presidential election, Sunday on “This Week.” Plus, George Stephanopoulos and the powerhouse roundtable debate all the week’s politics, with ABC News’ George Will; Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md.; former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, host of Current TV’s “The War Room”; Republican strategist Mary Matalin; and FOX News anchor Greta Van Susteren. Tune in Sunday: http://abcnews.go.com/thisweek (h/t ABC’s Imtiyaz Delawala)
Mitt Romney is likely to officially become the GOP’s presidential nominee on the first day of the Republican National Convention next week.
And although it looks like Tampa will get drenched on Monday as the delegates gather for the roll call vote selecting Romney and running mate Paul Ryan, it appears as if the city will avoid the brunt of the giant storm that is currently swirling over the Caribbean.
Plans for Romney’s early nomination, which were released by the RNC on Monday, have nothing to do with the storm, according to campaign officials.
But there may be several storms of a different sort in Romney’s path.
For one, Ann Romney’s appearance in Tampa is still fluid, ABC’s David Muir reports. With television networks balking at broadcasting her planned speech live on Monday night, her slot could be moved to Tuesday. But that’s not a done deal.
Campaign sources tell Muir that Romney, himself, is still scheduled to speak on Thursday — as has been the plan all along. On Monday Romney is poised to cross the 1,144 delegate threshold for the nomination just as the network evening newscasts are starting. That magic number also allows the Romney campaign to get their hands on general election funds before the governor’s arrival in Tampa.
But, as ABC’s Jonathan Karl notes, there have also been concerns that supporters of former Romney rival, Ron Paul, are planning to create a stir on the convention floor. Paul and his acolytes are holding separate events during the convention week.
Potential disruptions by Paulites are among the “sideshows” (as Obama campaign officials are calling them) that could create some unwanted drama for the Romney campaign.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, however, told ABC’s Steven Portnoy that he isn’t concerned.
“I think it’s pretty great that we’re totally unified, that we’ve got everybody on board, everybody happy,” Priebus said. “I can tell you, all week we’ve been spending a lot of good times with the Ron Paul folks and their campaign, having a good time even in our meetings where we’ve had some disagreements, but for the most part everybody sees eye to eye on the most important issues facing America.”
ABC’s RICK KLEIN: So it looks like Isaac will skip Tampa. But 50,000 or so of our closest friends won’t, of course, and there may be no better year to ask why we’re having conventions at all. Surely, as those working up Republican National Convention backup plans know, there are other ways to nominate a presidential candidate, ones that don’t create enormous logistical, security, and weather-related headaches. As for the Democrats, they get to feature James Taylor in the open air of North Carolina, but if he sees fire, what about rain? It’s easy enough to program some pep rallies without all this noise — and likely sogginess.
VIDEO OF THE DAY: POLITICALLY FOUL- OH THAT JOE! In the latest episode of ABC/Yahoo!’s power player series “Politically Foul” ABC’s Amy Walter takes a look at key Obama team player- Joe Biden. Vice President Joe Biden has been known for his fair share of gaffes. But even when he steps in it, he is still an asset to Obama — a real team player that understands his role in this game. But will Biden throw a touchdown? Or fumble? How about a little of both? This week Biden told a crowd in Detroit, Mich., “Folks, I can tell you I’ve known eight presidents. Three of them intimately.” T.M.I., Joe. http://yhoo.it/
with ABC’s Elizabeth Hartfield (@LizHartfield)
ROMNEY OFFSHORE INVESTMENTS USED ‘BLOCKERS’ TO AVOID TAXES. ABC’s Matt Mosk and Emily Friedman report, the private equity firm founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made use of arcane techniques in several of its Cayman Islands-based funds to avoid U.S. taxes, according to a trove of Bain Capital’s private audit and finance records made public on the website Gawker on Thursday. The audited financial statements of one of the Cayman Islands funds make note of the use of “blocker” entities, which are used to help retirement accounts and nonprofit entities avoid some taxes. Financial statements for another fund note that it “intends to conduct its operations so it will … not be subject to United States federal income or withholding tax .” http://abcn.ws/PgptxL
ROMNEY: BIG BUSINESS IS ‘DOING FINE’. Mitt Romney tonight said that big businesses are “doing fine,” using similar language that the presumptive nominee has hammered President Obama for using to describe the private sector earlier this year reports ABC’s Emily Friedman. “I’m going to champion small business. We’ve got to make it easier for small businesses. Big business is doing fine in many places – they get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation,” said Romney, speaking to a group of supporters at a private fundraiser in Minnesota this evening. Romney then added that the reason that big businesses are “doing fine in many places” is because they are able to invest their money in “tax havens.” http://abcn.ws/R5sVLc
HOW TAMPA POLICE ARE SPENDING AHEAD OF CONVENTION. ABC’s Julie Percha reports, Nearly 50,000 people are expected to descend on Tampa for the Republican National Convention, and 35,000 in Charlotte for its Democratic National Convention. The events are so big and politically charged that the Department of Homeland Security declared them “national special security events,” handing over major security reins to the U.S. Secret Service. For local police, Congress gave each city a $50 million grant to spend on boosted security measures that would make any tech fan jealous. On the list of purchases in Tampa: $2.3 million for closed-circuit cameras; $5.9 million in upgraded police radios and multichargers; and more than $790,000 for a fleet of new vehicles, including an armored truck, about 200 Kona Race Light 7005 aluminum bicycles and several Bobcat utility vehicles. http://abcn.ws/NpL7OD
MEET MITT ROMNEY’S ‘MAD MEN’. The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker reports: “Now that Mitt Romney has amassed a couple hundred million dollars, it’s largely up to an eclectic crew of self-described ‘Mad Men’ to make good use of it. A colorful team of advertising gurus — including a onetime ‘Wheel of Fortune’ contestant, a guy nicknamed for a ‘Super Mario’ character and a burly Texan who came up with the ‘Beef, it’s what’s for dinner’ slogan — have converged on the campaign’s drab headquarters here to dream up the ads they hope will propel Romney to the White House.” http://wapo.st/RihYtV
PAUL RYAN’S IMPROMPTU PRESS CONFERENCE. For the second time in as many days, Paul Ryan again came back to chat with the press on a flight from Springfield, Mo., to Oakland County, Mich. last night, ABC’s Shushannah Walshe reports. The reason was to bid adieu to a reporter being re-assigned to his opponent, Joe Biden, but with all the cameras on him and the audio recorders in his face he took some questions, too. Asked if it was difficult to adjust his viewpoints to match the top of the ticket as he did with abortion, he answered simply, “No, it’s not.” http://abcn.ws/R5IYbL
NOTED: RYAN BRANDS HIMSELF ‘GEN X’ WHILE PITCHING MEDICARE. Paul Ryan is only 42, the same age as Mitt Romney’s eldest son Tagg, and in an interview Thursday he tried to sell and explain his Medicare plan by mentioning that fact, reports ABC’s Shush Walshe. “Well, Larry, as you know, I’m in the under 55 generation, from the X-generation,” Ryan told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow in the interview. http://abcn.ws/O9rStw
THE DONALD PLAYS DOCTOR ON TWITTER. ABC’s Greg Krieg and Dan Childs report : Donald Trump yesteday went on Twitter to peddle a junk science theory that claims vaccinations cause autism in young children. “Massive combined inoculations to small children is the cause for big increase in autism,” Trump wrote. “Spread shots over long period and watch positive result.” The Romney campaign, for whom Trump has raised millions this campaign season, would not comment on his latest offering. http://abcn.ws/NozPdw
ROMNEY CAMP: MINING FOR DONORS. The AP’s Jack Gillum reports: “Mitt Romney’s success in raising hundreds of millions of dollars in the costliest presidential race ever can be traced in part to a secretive data-mining project that sifts through Americans’ personal information _ including their purchasing history and church attendance _ to identify new and likely, wealthy donors, The Associated Press has learned. For the data-mining project, the Republican candidate has quietly employed since at least June a little-known but successful analytics firm that previously performed marketing work for a colleague tied to Bain & Co., the management-consulting firm that Romney once led. The head of Buxton Co. of Fort Worth, Texas, chief executive Tom Buxton, confirmed to the AP his company’s efforts to help Romney identify rich and previously untapped Republican donors across the country.” http://bit.ly/PBYCiR
REPUBLICANS SEE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY. The Financial Times’ Robin Harding and Anna Fifield report: “Drafts of the party platform, which it will adopt at a convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, next week, call for an audit of Federal Reserve monetary policy and a commission to look at restoring the link between the dollar and gold. The move shows how five years of easy monetary policy — and the efforts of libertarian congressman Ron Paul – have made the once-fringe idea of returning to gold-as-money a legitimate part of Republican debate.” http://on.ft.com/T30oHz
TODD AKIN TO CLAIRE MCCASKILL- YOU SHOULD DROP OUT. The campaign for embattled Senate candidate Todd Akin had a bizarre proposal for his Democratic opponent on Thursday, notes ABC’s Greg Krieg. “the fact that Claire McCaskill is only polling at 48 percent after 72 hours of constant negative attacks on Todd Akin shows just how weak she is,” Akin spokesman Perry Akin said in a statement. “If she can’t break 50 percent after a week like this, Democrats should ask Claire to step down.” McCaskill, whose political career might well have been saved by Akin’s moment of madness, went online to cast doubt on the validity of the survey. http://abcn.ws/TXFcoM
‘CIVILITY FORUM’ NIXED DUE TO INCIVILITY. California evangelist Rick Warren, senior pastor to more than 20,000 at his Saddleback Church, has ditched plans for a “civil forum” with the presidential candidates, blaming what he called the uncivil “climate of today’s campaign.” ”It would be hypocritical to pretend civility for one evening only to have the name-calling return the next day,” Warren told the Orange County Register. “I’ve never seen more irresponsible personal attacks, mean-spirited slander, and flat-out dishonest attack ads, and I don’t expect that tone to change before the election.” What Warren neglects to mention is that neither campaign had ever actually committed to attending his pageant, which had been set for this week. http://abcn.ws/SZbu0f
IN THE NOTE’S INBOX:
–MOVE ON MOVES INTO MICHIGAN. From MoveOn.Org: “Today, at his campaign stop in Commerce, MI, MoveOn.org Political Action will hit Mitt Romney on his refusal to answer questions regarding Rep. Todd Akin’s misogynistic comments on ‘legitimate rape.’ MoveOn will fly a 99airlines banner over Romney and Ryan’s Michigan stop that reads: ’Sign of a wimp: dodging Akin questions.’ In the midst of the ‘legitimate rape’ firestorm, MoveOn members will also demonstrate on the ground holding signs in protest that read: ’Ryan=Akin’ and ‘Romney-Ryan, Wrong for Women.’ MoveOn members will remind voters Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s anti-women’s health positions, such as Ryan’s original co-sponsorship, alongside Rep. Todd Akin, of the bill that sought to redefine rape, and Romney’s desire to ‘get rid of’ funding for Planned Parenthood.”
–SCOTT BROWN RELEASES NEW TV AD “HUDNER.” Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown releases a new tv spot today titled “Hudner.” The ad, the latest in his “Scott Brown From the Road” series, features “a real American hero”- Tom Hudner, a Medial of Honor recipient and a captain in the U.S. Navy during the Korean war. The 30 second spot will air in the Boston, Providence, Springfield and Albany markets (Albany and Providence markets serve the Western and Southern most portions of the state.) WATCH: http://bit.ly/NNMFn4
–President Obama spends the day in Washington DC holding meetings at the White House. The President travels to Camp David in the evening.
–Mitt Romney is in Commerce, MI for a rally with Paul Ryan at the Long Family Orchard.
–Vice President Biden is in Bridgehampton, NY for a closed fundraiser with his wife Jill.
ABC’s Josh Haskell (@HaskellBuzz)
Check out The Note’s Futures Calendar: http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV