RNC Day 1: Protests, storms and message - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

RNC Day 1: Protests, storms and message

(Source: Jennifer Bowen/RNN) (Source: Jennifer Bowen/RNN)
Inside the convention hall, Ron Paul supporters held a mini pep rally, chanting "President Paul" and holding up signs. (Source: Jennifer Bowen/RNN) Inside the convention hall, Ron Paul supporters held a mini pep rally, chanting "President Paul" and holding up signs. (Source: Jennifer Bowen/RNN)
A few hundred protesters took to the Tampa streets Monday to march against issues like war, restrictions on abortion and the so-called "1 percent." (Source: Jennifer Bowen/RNN) A few hundred protesters took to the Tampa streets Monday to march against issues like war, restrictions on abortion and the so-called "1 percent." (Source: Jennifer Bowen/RNN)
(Source: Jennifer Bowen/RNN) (Source: Jennifer Bowen/RNN)

TAMPA, FL (RNN) - On a day in which Republican National Convention festivities were cut short due to the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac, protests inside and outside the convention hall provided plenty of action on what could have been an otherwise quiet day.

Under high humidity and drizzly Tampa skies, a few hundred protesters marched through the streets Monday, demonstrating against a hodge podge of issues like war, restrictions on abortion and the so-called "1 percent."

The march, scheduled to draw up to 5,000 but drew a few hundred, was accompanied by a heavy police presence.

According to the Associated Press, one protester was arrested after refusing to comply with police requests to remove a bandana. Masks are not allowed in protest areas.

"I've seen nothing stronger than the people's movement and I wish to make it larger until we can build revolutionary change in this country," said protester Cas Schwerdtfenger.

Inside the sparsely populated convention hall, Ron Paul supporters mounted a protest of their own, chanting "President Paul" and waving "Ron Paul" signs shortly after RNC Chairman Reince Preibus opened and immediately recessed the session.

Even though the convention is centered on the official party coronation of Mitt Romney as the Republican presidential candidate, Paul supporters say they want to make their presence felt.

While they won't succeed in removing Romney as the nominee, they could create an awkward convention for organizers who want to spend the week galvanizing the party around their chosen nominee, not fighting off the distraction of a floor fight.

What's next?

The convention kicks into full gear Tuesday, with many of Monday's scheduled speakers finally taking the platform.

With a day of ground to make up, convention organizers have cut speech times and shuffled speakers to fit in as much of the original schedule as possible.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former Alabama Democratic Congressman Artur Davis, both originally slated for Monday, will take the podium.

Other Tuesday speakers include Romney's chief campaign rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney's wife, Ann Romney.

The tone of the speeches - and the rest of the convention - will have all eyes looking towards Tropical Storm Isaac as it makes its way towards New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was a featured speaker, but has decided to say home to manage the affects of the storm.

While some attention is being given to the storm, Republicans are pushing their message that President Obama's policies have failed the country and that Romney is the candidate to fix the economy.

Preibus unveiled a debt clock that will count how much the National Debt has grown for the duration of the convention. Another debt clock displays the nation's current debt. Speeches on reforming Medicare and other entitlement programs are likely to be on the docket of the condensed convention.

Republicans also will target Obama on business with the theme "We Build It" for Tuesday, which target the president's comment "You didn't build that" during a campaign appearance over the summer, with the intent to show that Obama doesn't understand the business community.

The GOP is delicately addressing women's health issues and abortion, an issue that came roaring into the spotlight when Rep. Todd Akin from Missouri said that a women's body can prevent pregnancy in the case of "legitimate rape."

While Mitt Romney supports abortion only in cases of rape and incest, the Republican platform, along with his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, opposes abortion in all cases.

To court women's vote, the Republicans are featuring a docket full of women, particularly rising stars within the party, such as Haley and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

Either way, the Republicans hope to showcase their stars and candidates to win over independent voters because a CNN/ORC polls shows that Romney and Obama are neck-and-neck.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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