A group of Paul supporters held forth on the convention floor after the 71
2-minute official opening. Some held Paul signs emblazoned with the words, “We can do better,” a campaign theme.
“We can do better than Romney,” said John Honey, 37, an alternate delegate from Arkansas. “Romney may beat Obama. Paul definitely would.”
Any floor squabble over rules could be embarrassing for Republicans already starting the convention late.
With the four-day schedule crunched into three days, some leading Republicans questioned whether future conventions will just be scheduled for three days. Democrats have planned for months for a three-day convention in Charlotte, N.C., next week.
“I’m not sure that having a four-day convention, for the future, makes a lot of sense,” said House Speaker John A. Boehner at a luncheon Monday hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
Former Nevada Gov. Robert List, a convention delegate, said the disruption by Isaac only emphasizes that party conventions need to be shorter.
And he said the storm might end up helping the Republicans by showcasing GOP governors in the midst of crisis in states such as Florida, Alabama and Louisiana. The storm has also drawn more attention, he said, to the gathering in Tampa.
“We may reap a little audience as a consequence,” List said.
Priebus defended the weekend decision to delay Monday’s events, even though the storm tracked farther west than had been predicted and largely spared Tampa from major weather troubles.
“I mean, you have to make the call days before today,” he said on NBC’s Today. “We have to err on the side of safety. There’s just no way around it.”
Around Tampa, delegates, who suddenly found themselves with a less crowded scheduled than anticipated, tried to fill a newly quiet day.
“The fact is, you’re expecting to just jump right into the convention,” said Beverly Gossage, a delegate from Kansas, after attending a session of Newt Gingrich’s “Newt U” at a Hyatt near the convention site.
On Monday, though, she couldn’t: Gossage said her delegation had to scramble to find its own transportation, since the regular shuttles they expected weren’t running. They showed up in the middle of the Gingrich session, missing the introduction.
Mary Rose Spano, a delegate from Scranton, Pa., said she was disappointed to arrive and find the day’s events canceled for a weather disaster that never came. But she said she didn’t blame the convention’s organizers.
At noon on Monday, she was asked: What next?
“We’re going to go back and maybe see what else we can find out. . . . Basically, we’re going to go back to our hotel,” she said.
David A. Fahrenthold, Laura Vozzella, Kevin Merida, Karen Tumulty, Philip Rucker in Wolfeboro, N.H., and Felicia Sonmez in Milwaukee contributed to this report.