Tropical Storm Isaac, which is expected to become Hurricane Isaac before landfall along the Gulf Coast, has prompting last-minute changes at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. The GOP has cancelled speeches scheduled for tonight and is reworking the schedule for the rest of the week. But two high-profile speakers from Virginia are still on the agenda. David Hawkings, editor of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing, talks with WAMU Morning Edition Host Matt McCleskey about what to expect at the
On the tone in Tampa as Isaac approaches land: "The tone is soggy and a little bit disappointed. People are ready to start convening today; they're a little disappointed that things were called off," she says. "They're glad that things aren't going to be bad here, but very worried … that once the storm actually makes landfall elsewhere in the Gulf Coast, that will become the story and it'll still mess up the Republicans convention plans not directly by ruining the logistics but by creating a much bigger story elsewhere in the country."
What to expect from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's speech Tuesday: "I'm expecting Governor McDonnell to make a full-throated defense or promotion of his own stewardship as governor, and of the state's economy, where the unemployment is down below 6 percent — much better than the national average," he says. "The theme of the night is essentially a riff on President Obama's 'you didn't build that' comment, essentially Republicans have seized on that all summer, making it the lynchpin of their discussion that obama has been a bad steward of the economy."
On the role of former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis's, who ran for Alabama governor as a Democrat but has since switched parties and moved to Virginia: "He actually gets an even more prominent speaking role … than Gov. McDonnell. Artur Davis now becomes, next to Condoleezza Rice, the most prominent African-American person who will be speaking at the convention," Hawkings says. "His role will be a traditional role of advocating in favor of Mitt Romney as an alternative to President Obama; he will almost certainly say that he was wrong when he previously endorsed Obama enthusiastically for the 2008 nomination."
On Davis's own political agenda: "All these speeches are not only to promote the candidate, the ticket, the agenda, but also to promote yourself," Hawkings says. "Artur Davis can talk about his own decision to move out of the south and into Virginia where he is widely expected to run for office, probably for a Northern Virginia seat against Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) in two years.
On the Virginia district that Davis has his eye on, which was formerly held by a Republican Rep. Tom Davis: "It's one of the swing districts left in our part of the country, and it's probably the most swing district left in our area," Hawkings says. "Artur Davis sent pretty good signals that he wants to restart his political career. He lost a very bitter Democratic primary for governor and now he wants to restart his political career as a Republican."