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Republicans Are Ready (If Isaac Allows); And We're On The Scene In Tampa

The Republican message: Workers were putting up a sign Sunday inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the 2012 Republican National Convention is set to begin.
Scott Olson
Getty Images
The Republican message: Workers were putting up a sign Sunday inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the 2012 Republican National Convention is set to begin.

Greetings from Tampa, where that old phrase "the calm before the storm" has never been more appropriate.

Tropical storm Isaac is now looking like it will make landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana east to the Florida Panhandle. And when it gets there Tuesday or Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center is warning, Isaac could be a Category 2 hurricane.

So Tampa, host to this week's 2012 Republican National Convention, may be largely spared. But there is rain — lots of it — in the forecast for the city. The chance of precipitation on Monday is 90 percent. Gusts of up to 41 mph are expected, the National Weather Service says. Those aren't hurricane conditions, obviously. But the weather is going to be bad enough that convention organizers have been scrambling to remake the schedule.

With, as NPR's Greg Allen reports, "some 70,000 delegates, support personnel, media and protesters gathering for the GOP's nominating event," organizers made the call over the weekend to delay the real start of proceedings one day. The plan had been to kick off the convention on Monday. Instead, planners decided to push things back to Tuesday (except for a pro forma call to order on Monday).

This afternoon, organizers said that even with the schedule change, the "prime time" parts of their programs (the 10-11 p.m. ET hour) are largely intact.

Tuesday night will still feature Ann Romney, wife of the party's soon-to-be presidential nominee, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — the convention keynote speaker.

Wednesday night's star is Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the party's vice presidential pick.

And Thursday will bring to the stage the man who has been seeking his party's presidential nomination for much of the past six years — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — to accept that honor.

Once things really do get going, NPR plans to air special broadcasts each evening (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), from 8 p.m. ET to at least 11 p.m. ET (later if the proceedings go longer than scheduled). They will be broadcast on many members stations and streamed on All Things Considered host Robert Siegel is here. He'll be joined on the air by NPR political correspondent Mara Liasson, NPR Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving and others.

Meanwhile, here at It's All Politics we will be blogging each evening — focusing on the key moments and messages that Republicans are sending to the nation.'s Liz Halloran is in Tampa and will be posting on the stories she finds in and around the convention. NPR photo journalist Becky Lettenberger is here to shoot stills and videos. Along with his on-air responsibilities, Ron Elving will be weighing in here on the blog with his analyses of the action.

Elsewhere on, Frank James will be hosting live chats for those who like smart analysis as things happen. And each day, correspondent Alan Greenblatt will be looking ahead and previewing the next night's action.

We hope you join us.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.