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Bush, others cancel speeches at RNC in lieu of Gustav

ST, PAUL - Republicans decided to scale back plans for Monday, the first day of convention, saying they cannot celebrate John McCain's nomination while Hurricane Gustav threatens to pummel the Gulf Coast.

"Our top priority is to assist those who will be affected by Hurricane Gustav," Rick Davis, campaign manager for John McCain 2008, said in a statement.

Only essential convention activities will take place tomorrow, officials announced.

The program on Monday has been scaled back and will only include what party rules governing the nomination of our candidates for president and vice president require, Davis said.

Earlier, news broke that President Bush and Vice President Cheney, both scheduled to appear here, canceled their speeches as the situation in the Gulf developed.

A statement from organizers told delegates that the convention's schedule is subject to change, depending on the conditions in the Gulf States.

Meanwhile, McCain's campaign created a working group to assist delegates from the Gulf states and chartered a DC-9 that would transport delegates from the Gulf states who wish to return to home. The DC-9 would fly them to Jackson, Mississippi.

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