As GOP Convention Kicks off, RNC Planners Remain 'Cautiously Optimistic'
Republicans may have had to condense their convention this week, but party officials said today that won't have any effect on the potency of the message they hope to convey.
James Davis, Republican National Convention spokesman, told ABC News' Amy Walter and Rick Klein that the party aims to do one thing over the next three days: "Get our nominee Mitt Romney and our vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and move them forward to the general election."
Republican National Convention planners are "cautiously optimistic" for the rest of the week and they are looking at the convention schedule with an "abundance of caution" as Tropical Storm Isaac heads towards the Gulf Coast, Davis said during the ABC News/Yahoo! News digital live show today during the gavelling-in of the convention.
Because planners decided to delay the start of the convention over concerns that Tropical Storm Isaac would hit the Tampa area today, RNC chairman Reince Priebus kicked off the convention at 2 p.m., and then immediately put it into recess until Tuesday.
The four-day convention will now be squeezed into a trimmed three-day schedule, which not only includes the official nomination, Romney's and Ryan's acceptances, and a slew of blockbuster speeches, but also contains a "number of other business orders, party rules and platform and all of the things that govern the way our party governs for the next four years," Davis said.
Spread throughout the convention hall are throwbacks to the pre-cell phone era - white landline phones attached to chairs in each of the delegation's areas, which Davis said allow planners to get in touch with delegations about official business, since cell phone signals are "not as reliable as a hard line."
"We still use cell phones. We've really ramped up this place with some additional wifi. Plus we have to make sure we have some other failsafe opportunities here," Davis said.
Davis said the floor layout depends on the size of the delegations and aims to maximize the available floor space. The island of American Samoa, which held its presidential caucus in a bar this year and has nine delegates, received some prime territory on the convention floor, squeezed in between Arizona and Colorado to the right of the stage.
Romney's home state of Michigan is positioned front and center in the delegate hall, raising the question if the Michigan delegation will be the state that marks Romney's official nomination during the roll call on Tuesday.
"They'll do the roll call in alphabetical order," Davis said offering no indication of which state will put Romney over the top to receive the nomination.