By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Republican National Convention was underway Monday in St. Paul, Minnesota, although not as it was originally planned.
In light of what's going on with Gustav, Sen. John McCain decided to cancel most of the day's non-essential activities, including an appearance by President Bush.
Congressman Tom Cole (R-District 4), member of the Oklahoma Congressional delegation, was supposed to address the convention, but was cancelled due to Gustav.
"I now call it the best speech I never gave," Cole said.
Tom Cole was one of four Oklahoma elected officials scheduled to speak at the convention, but the only one scheduled to speak today. Cole said he was going to contrast McCain versus Obama, experience versus inexperience and Palin versus Biden, conservative versus liberal.
"I was going to lay out a set of pretty stark choices, which is what I think the country faces," Cole said.
With most of the nation's attention on Gustav, Cole said McCain's choice of scaling back Monday's activities was clear and was correct.
"It kind of fits the theme of the convention: Country first," Cole said. "That's what John McCain did in this case, it's what he's done his whole career and I think we're proud of that."
Cole said he does believe Sen. McCain will be in St. Paul by Thursday to accept the party's nomination in person.
"Americans don't like thinks to interfere with their chance to debate and decide the great issues, and I think the nomination of a presidential candidates' part of that," Cole said. "I think we'll get our opportunity, but I do think Sen. McCain will probably change his remarks somewhat and certainly recognize and respect the situation we're in."
Sen. McCain's wife, Cindy, and First Lady Laura Bush did appear before the delegates late Monday, but not with political messages. The two women urged the group to make contributions to help the hurricane victims.