Republicans are resuming a full but shuffled convention schedule in St. Paul today, with a lineup that includes speeches tonight by Minnesota’s Sen. Norm Coleman and 6th District Rep. Michele Bachmann.
The revamped schedule includes two convention appearances by Coleman. The senator is scheduled to welcome convention-goers about 7 or 7:30 p.m., campaign spokesman Mark Drake said. Coleman is penciled in again for around the same time Wednesday. That speech will be “more about John McCain, the choice in the election, prosperity in America,” Drake said.
Bachmann will speak at 7:30 p.m., according to her chief of staff, Michelle Martson. The topic of her speech will be service, including foster parenting.
Brian McClung, spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty, said it is the office’s understanding that the governor will address the convention on Thursday.
The decision to resume a full schedule came at about 5 a.m. today after planners consulted with the Federal Emergency Management Agency about Hurricane Gustav, officials said in a conference call with reporters.
Monday had been scheduled to be a day centered on the theme of service, but party officials decided instead to focus on drawing attention and raising funds for those affected by Hurricane Gustav. “Rather than talking about [service], we actually did it,” McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said.
Most of the speeches originally scheduled for opening night will take place tonight instead, Davis said. Some of the material that was planned for today will be melded into Wednesday and Thursday’s schedules. Other speeches will be “lost to the annals of convention history,” Davis said.
President Bush and Laura Bush are expected to address the convention via video link from the White House shortly before 9 tonight. The prime-time program that follows will include a speech by Sen. Fred Thompson called “The Courage and Service of John McCain,” and one by Sen. Joe Lieberman called “The Original Maverick, John McCain.”
The party is working with the television networks to expand prime-time coverage of the convention, Davis said. “Obviously, we lost a lot of opportunity to communicate messages last night,” Davis said.
Officials said they are still monitoring the situation along the Gulf of Mexico and will continue operating a phone bank and other fundraisers.
“We’re reserving the right to move things around still,” Davis said.