St. Paul, MINNESOTA—In the midst of a difficult election season and apprehension over John McCain’s vice-presidential pick, delegates here at the Republican National Convention took time to reassure Gulf Coast hurricane victims that the GOP is doing everything it can for them over the next couple of days.
“We stand with the people of Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi in their darkest hour,” party chair Ken Mehlman said in a statement, “or until Friday morning, whichever comes first.”
Promising care packages, fundraisers, even the waiving of convention fees so delegates can donate them to hurricane relief, the GOP stood united in their commitment to help the suffering Gustav victims through Thursday night’s acceptance speech by presumptive nominee John McCain.
Steve Pastor, a delegate from Akron, Ohio, echoed his party’s general sentiment when he said, “If you are a victim of Gustav, through the end of this week we will never forget you or let you down.” Pastor added that “we are the party of caring and quick, sure-handed action while gathered here in St. Paul.”
With buttons distributed saying “We Care Sept 1 – 4,” and with a general aura of decorum and sensitivity throughout the convention, Republicans seemed intent on unifying around a central message of response and caring within two days’ time.
Delegate Karen Kellster of Salina, Texas, was adamant that “No way are we [Republicans] going to be seen partying and whooping it up while Gulf Coast Americans are suffering.” She reiterated that until Friday, this suffering has no place in the GOP. “We really have to show our softer, more responsive caring side within the 3-day limit.”
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