ST. PAUL —Senator John McCain said Sunday afternoon that Republicans would suspend most activities on the first day of their convention on Monday because of Hurricane Gustav.
Mr. McCain, speaking by satellite from St. Louis, also said he was optimistic that the mistakes of Katrina would not be repeated. And he called on his fellow Republicans to “take off our Republican hats and put on out American hats.”
On Monday, the Republican Party will conduct only its essential business of convening the convention, adopting its rules, electing its officers and adopting the party platform. Rick Davis, a top McCain aide, said the convention would only be convened from 3 p.m. Central time to about 5 or 5:30 p.m. The Republicans need a quorum on the floor to conduct their business.
Mr. Davis left open the possibility that Mr. McCain might not attend. He said the nominee is not required to attend, but since this convention is “the culmination of his political career,” he wants to be here but he “won’t do anything deemed inappropriate.”
Earlier in the day, President Bush said he would not attend the convention on Monday because of Gustav, and the White House spokeswoman, Dana M. Perino, said Vice President Dick Cheney also would not attend it.