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GOP convention House Band sound check: "My Girl"
(video by Lynn Sweet)

TAMPA--Guitarist G.E. Smith--former musical director for "Saturday Night Live" fronting the Republican National convention House band at a Sunday rehearsal--playing "My Girl." The band will be situated next to the main podium--not hidden away.

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Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus flashes a thumbs up after gaveling the abbreviated first session of the Republican National Convention closed in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In Tampa, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus gaveled to order Monday the 2012 GOP convention-- with the Monday full session cut because of the impact of Tropical Storm Isaac. Priebus, at the Tampa Times Bay Forum recessed the session until Tuesday after a few minutes at the podium.

Priebus asked for a moment of silence to give thanks to emergency workers who are keeping convention goers and other people in the path of Isaac "out of harms way."

Priebus used his few minutes on the podium to "draw your attention to the unprecedented fiscal recklessness of the Obama administration"--setting a one of two "debt clocks" in the Forum to zero. One clock is a rolling total of the national debt. The other, set Monday, will total how much debt was accumulated during the GOP convention.


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A display shows the collected national debt since the start of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)


Video by Lynn Sweet

TAMPA--President Barack Obama offered a helping hand on Sunday as Tropical Storm Isaac starts to bear down on Florida--already forcing a day cut from the Republican National Convention meeting here. Florida Gov. Rick Scott--a Republican--who was to speak at the convention, but has called it off for now--has declared a state of emergency.

The full wrath of the storm is expected to hit Monday--with the situation made more complicated because many of the 50,000 convention goers--including the Illinois delegation at Clearwater Beach--are staying at hotels connected to Tampa by long bridges, known here as causeways.

The White House said "President Obama received a briefing on preparations underway for Tropical Storm Isaac, which could become a hurricane as early as today. The FEMA Administrator, Craig Fugate, and National Hurricane Center Director, Dr. Rick Knabb, briefed the President on the projected track and timing of the storm as well as steps being taken by the Administration to support potentially impacted states.

"During the briefing, the President directed Administrator Fugate to make sure FEMA continues to coordinate closely with state and local officials in potentially impacted states and address the needs of local communities as the storm approaches. FEMA has already deployed teams to Florida and Louisiana ahead of the storm to support state and local preparations, and is in close communication with Alabama and Mississippi and other southeastern states that could be impacted. NOAA's National Hurricane Center has issued a Hurricane Warning for portions of Florida, and a Hurricane Watch has been issued for coastal areas of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

"Following the briefing, the President spoke with Florida Governor Rick Scott to make clear that the Administration, through FEMA, would continue to make resources available as necessary to support the state as the Governor's team prepares for and responds to the storm. The President told the Governor the people of Florida are in his thoughts during this time. The President also told the governor to let him know if there are any unmet needs or additional resources the Administration could provide, including in support of efforts to ensure the safety of those visiting the state for the Republican National Convention."

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Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, left, and convention CEO William Harris unveil the stage and podium for the 2012 Republican National Convention, Monday, Aug. 20, 2012, at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Iskowitz)


The Republican Party will delay the bulk of its convention until Tuesday afternoon because of the severe weather forecast from Isaac.

That's according to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus in a statement Saturday evening:


"Republican National Convention President and CEO Bill Harris made the following statement: 'Our chief priority is the safety of the residents of Florida, of those visiting the Convention, and all those in Gulf Coast states who may be impacted by Tropical Storm Isaac. We have been working closely with the campaign, the party, and state and local officials for months to ensure a successful, enjoyable convention. Federal, state and local officials assure us that they are prepared to respond, if needed, and the scheduling changes we are announcing today will help ensure the continued safety of all participants - our foremost concern. We are also committed to keeping the delegates and guests of the convention well informed about the situation, and we will continue providing updates in the hours and days ahead.


Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus made the following statement: 'Due to the severe weather reports for the Tampa Bay area, the Republican National Convention will convene on Monday August 27th and immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, August 28th. After consulting with Governor Scott, NOAA and local emergency management officials, we are optimistic that we will begin an exciting, robust convention that will nominate the Romney-Ryan ticket.'"


Priebus says the convention will convene briefly Monday and then immediately recess until Tuesday afternoon, once the storm is expected to have passed.


He says in a statement that the party made the decision after consulting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott and federal and local emergency officials.


Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet has more details from Tampa where she's reporting on the convention.


-AP contributing