Isaac surges as GOP convention begins (+video)
Despite strengthening Tropical Storm Isaac on its way to New Orleans, the Republican National Convention began Monday. Delegates differed in their opinions of how the storm might impact the convention.
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That was in addition to a controversy that combined rape and abortion that was triggered when the Republican candidate for a Missouri Senate seat said a woman's body has a way of preventing pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." Rep. Todd Akin, who opposes abortions without exception, quickly apologized for his claim, which is unsupported by medical evidence, but refused to get out of the race as Romney and other leading Republicans requested.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures The Republican Convention 2012
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Polls testified to the political stakes.
An AP-GfK poll of registered voters conducted from Aug. 16-20 showed Obama leading Romney by 50-44 among women. That represented a narrow closing of the gap by the Republican from a survey in May, when the president led 54-39 among female voters.
Romney trailed badly among another key group. A Gallup poll taken between July 30 and Aug 1 showed Obama winning 60 percent support among Hispanic voters, and the Republican at 27 percent, little different from 64-29 earlier in the year.
Among seniors, the group most affected by a Medicare debate that looms as central to the campaign, Romney led Obama by a margin of 52-42 in the recent AP-GfK poll. That was compared with 53-40 in May.
In Tampa, despite weather worries, Tom Del Beccaro, a California delegate and chair of the state GOP, predicted the one-day delay in full convention events would supercharge the rest of the week's meeting.
"I think there's going to be a lot of bottled up energy, and I think that's going to show," he said.
But Sally Bradshaw, a Florida Republican and longtime senior aide to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was more cautious. "It's a mess all around and it's fraught with risk," she said. "It's not good for anybody — particularly the people impacted by the storm."
Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, speaking in his hometown of Janesville, Wis., before heading for the convention on Tuesday, said the stakes were as high as could be.
"We're not just picking the next president for a few years," he said. "We are picking the pathway for America for a generation."
In the streets surrounding the convention hall, police vastly outnumbered protesters.
There was one arrest, a man who refused to remove his bandana after a march through downtown.
Associated Press writers Brian Bakst, Thomas Beaumont, Tamara Lush, Brendan Farrington and Julie Mazziotta in Florida, Steve Peoples in New Hampshire, Philip Elliott in Wisconsin and Steven Ohlemacher and Alicia A. Caldwell in Washington contributed to this report.