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Joe Biden scraps plan to crash GOP party as Isaac storm takes aim

Tropical Storm Isaac won’t stop the GOP from nominating Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for the presidential ticket. But the potential hurricane’s approach did cause the White House to scrap Vice President Joe Biden’s planned trip to Tampa for the convention’s opening day on Monday.

By Staff writer / August 25, 2012

Site of the 2012 Republican National Convention is viewed across the water of the Garrison Channel from Harbour Island in downtown Tampa, Fla., in a photo taken Aug. 22. Weather forecasts continue to show Florida in the path of Tropical Storm Isaac.

Carolina Hidalgo/The Tampa Bay Times/AP

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ATLANTA

Tropical Storm Isaac has been a thorn in the side of Republicans for a week as it’s threatened to disrupt the party’s nominating convention in Tampa, which begins on Monday. But as the storm now takes aim at the US mainland, Isaac has managed to, at least for now, chase off one uninvited guest to the GOP party: Vice President Joe Biden.

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Mr. Biden’s scheduled trip to Tampa on Monday, a bit of political gamesmanship and theater to tweak the Republicans on their big day, was scrapped late Friday as the National Weather Service began issuing hurricane warnings from the Keys to the Panhandle.

The decision came after local law enforcement in Tampa pointed out that the vice president’s presence in the city on the eve of the convention would strain already stretched police resources, especially given the storm’s approach.

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"This change in schedule is being taken out of an abundance of caution to ensure that all local law enforcement and emergency management resources can stay focused on ensuring the safety of people who might be impacted by the storm, as well as those attending the activities in Tampa,” read a missive on the White House web page.

Republicans, meanwhile, are moving ahead, buoyed by news that the hurricane’s track seems to be moving westward instead of toward Tampa. Even as the storm threatens to grow into a potentially major hurricane over the next few days as it first crosses the Keys and then heads north by northwest into the Gulf, all indications are that the convention is a go.

At the same time, party planners did scurry late into the week to make sure that the basic task of the convention – officially nominating Romney and Ryan – would occur, even if it has to happen by tele- or video-conference in case convention-goers have to flee the coast.

The storm hit Haiti overnight Saturday, battering the disaster-prone island with heavy rains and high winds. That landfall weakened the storm, but forecasters say it’s likely to gather strength as it rejoins the warm waters of the Gulf. The likely midweek landfall now ranges from the Panhandle to New Orleans.

News that Biden had plans to hold events in Tampa on Monday roiled Republicans, some of whom called it “bad form.”

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