Republicans set aside the agenda to focus on hurricane relief in the opening hours of their national convention, only to see the scaled-back program for Day One overshadowed by jarring disclosures about the family and work life of John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin.
The political red meat that was missing from speeches on Day One of the Republican National Convention managed to make its way into the convention hall on delegates' hats and vests.
The traditional festive opening of a national political convention was overshadowed by cancellations Monday, as John McCain and GOP officials tried to balance the desire to invigorate their partisans with showing empathy for those in Hurricane Gustav's path.
With Hurricane Gustav spinning toward landfall, lobbyists, corporations and industry groups are scrambling to put a solemn face on their glitzy GOP convention parties and still revel with big donors, delegates and members of Congress.
Troopergate. It's a political he-said, she-said that has dogged Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for nearly two months and is likely to do so for another two months leading to the Nov. 4 presidential election.
Keep your eyes on Pennsylvania and Michigan.
There are battleground states in the presidential election, and then there are these two, looming larger than most others because they offer such a rich opportunity for Republican John McCain and potential peril for Democrat Barack Obama.
Likely GOP presidential nominee John McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, are traveling to Mississippi on Sunday to check on people getting prepared for Hurricane Gustav.
Their trip comes just as delegates are preparing for the Republican National Convention, which begins Monday.
John McCain will try to reclaim his reformist image at a Republican National Convention tightly scripted to put some distance between the conservative presidential candidate and his party's unpopular standard-bearer, President Bush.
Barack Obama's audience for his acceptance speech likely topped 40 million people, and the Democratic gathering that nominated him was a more popular television event than any other political convention in history.
John McCain's risky choice of Gov. Sarah Palin gives him a running mate who doubles down on his maverick image, may appeal to "hockey moms" and other women, and counters Barack Obama's aura of new-generation change. But he may have undercut his best attack on the Democrat.
If Obama is an empty suit, as McCain has suggested, is Palin suited for the Oval Office herself?