September 1st, 2008
01:55 PM ET

Have Republicans Responded Well to Gustav?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/01/art.mccain.gustav.jpg caption="Sen. John McCain helps pack Hurricane Gustav relief packages at the ISOH/Impact charitable organization's facility in Toledo, Ohio, Monday." width=292 height=320]

David Gergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Political Analyst

John McCain's decision to limit the opening day of the Republican convention has brought a flurry of comment from voters, once again showing how deeply divided the country remains.

His supporters proclaim that consistent with the theme of the convention, "Country First", McCain and the GOP have given up their opening night on television - a chance to bolster the McCain-Palin ticket and to bash Obama-Biden - as an act of respect for those in the path of Hurricane Gustav. Instead of raising money for the party, Republicans are also raising funds for storm victims. And in advance of the storm, McCain seemed very much in command again as he visited Mississippi and issued directives to the RNC - very much in contrast to the hands-off approach of George W. Bush during Katrina.

McCain's critics say this is all hogwash - that the Republicans are up to their cynical tricks, that they were glad to find an excuse for keeping Bush and Cheney away from their opening night, that they are engaged in acts of contrition in order to make up for the political disaster of Katrina three years ago, and that voters will see this is mostly a political ploy. As for putting "country first", say the critics, how can McCain argue that after selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate?

Let me say where I come down: while the arguments of the critics have rings of truth to them, I believe that McCain and the Republicans did the right thing with Gustav bearing down. It would have been inappropriate and insensitive to have had a festive opening to a political convention while so many Americans were in harm's way. It is also true that McCain himself does believe in promoting public service and has been consistent on this point. If Republicans gain some political leverage out of this - and they probably will - so be it: the test for each candidate is in part to show how well they adapt to changing circumstances. The Obama-Biden team adapted extremely well to the challenges of their convention, and now it is the Republicans' turn at bat.

That said, there are much bigger issues facing the country than the response to this storm: how we meet the huge challenges of a deteriorating economy, falling wages, rising costs, an ailing heath care system, global warming, not to mention Iran, Iraq, Russia, nuclear proliferation, the rise of Asia, etc., etc. Those are the questions we need to return to as the GOP convention gets more fully underway. And on the big issues, the McCain-Palin ticket still has a ways to go to persuade a majority of voters that it offers more hope that Obama-Biden.

More on the bigger questions overhanging the Republican convention in a coming post, but for now, we welcome your comments on how the Republicans have responded to Gustav.

Filed under: Hurricane Gustav • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Robert

    Great statement peter doelger and I like that you used Obamas words which he used in a rally just today. I think it is important to point out that both candidates from both parties took off their party hats and put on their American hats and they tried their best to help the families in need. The only reason that we hear more about McCain is because due to the convention the media spotlight is already on him whereas Obama is at the moment more in the background.

    September 1, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  2. Heath Mayo

    McCain and the Republicans have responded correctly to the dangers of Hurricane Gustav. It is at times like these that we must set aside party differences for the common good.

    Those that say making early relief packages is somehow irresponsible on McCain's part and fails to take into consideration needs that may arise after the storm are the people that will show up too late to help in the end. Early relief is better than no relief.

    Heath Mayo

    September 1, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  3. Tomiwa

    Hey John, you obviously sound like the real victim of the bad accident called "Republican Govt" and have been so trumatised that you think people cant collectively do good for themselves. Let me tell you Dems plans are not financially imposible. The problem is where your priorities lies, the GOP priority in the last 8years have been fighting very costly wars. With that you cant do anything good for yourself. If you save 10billion dollars monthly, nothing will be financially impossible. Just think of Bill Cliton's years....

    sorry ol John...

    September 1, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  4. Jeff

    I believe the McCain strategy team did what any good "marketing team" would do in this sitution, which is figure out how to exploit it. I also think that McCain and the people he surrounds himself with do demonstrate an ability to think quickly and respond quickly to crises...but America needs more than someone who responds to one crises after another, and I don't think McCain or his team have demonstrated the ability to do more than that.

    My profession is project leadership for complex projects. The worst project leaders are those that fly by the seat of their pants putting out one fire after another (like President Bush did). It seems like they are leading but in actuality the best leaders are avoiding crises and moving a project or in our case, the country, toward a long-term vision.

    Bush never had a long-term vision for how America could be a better place in eight years. McCain does not appear to have one either. Obama, on the other hand, is a true leader. He has set out a long-term vision for making America stronger. Investing in new infrastructure, health care, education, and new technologies in energy. Obama has also demonstrated an ability to inspire people, which is what a President will need to do if America is to make the sacrifices required to leave our children a better America than we inherited from the previous generation.

    In short, McCain demonstrates leadership in crises and I believe with him we will continue to jump from flaver of the month crisis to crisis b/c he has not vision or ability to inspire. Obama will handle crises well but will keep us focused on a longer term vision for tomorrow.

    September 1, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  5. Dwight

    well if you have to compare to katrina on an election year, what would you think.

    Duh. lets see afterwards if they will pander it.

    September 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  6. mariyn tx

    Obama supporters are donating to the Red Cross and volunteering to help clean up..No publicity needed

    September 1, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  7. lampe

    Obama: He is real good at doing what everyone else is doing. McCain, said "Now is the time to be americans first, he has scaled back the Convention, he asked that all political arguments stop, while americans are waiting out these major storms. The Republican's are setiing up phone lines, so people can send money, or what ever kind of help is needed. So what does Obama do? He stops campaigning, ask his donors. to help, and to go where help is needed. He can't even manage to keep his face out of the news for one day. EGO, as big as all outdoors.

    September 1, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  8. William H

    All well and good that they are "doing the right thing" David ...

    Why did they air some of Palin's dirty laundry – eg. her daughter's teen pregnancy (that should go down extremely well with evangelicals) and her husbands' 1984 drunk driving arrest only hours after Gustav made landfall. I really hope they were not attempting to bury this in all the Gustav headlines!!!

    Let face it – most Republicans wouldn't give damn if New Orleans (the centre of Black culture in North America) was swept out to sea!

    September 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  9. mikey

    Its really disturbing how cnn publishes comments favorable to Obama at about 7 to every one favorable to McCain. When polls show the race is almost 50-50. If this does not show a bias by cnn than it just proves the obama left are fanantical about getting their comments into these stories. I am sick of it. No way No how No Obama!

    September 1, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  10. Kathy, Chicago

    The Republicans deserve their week of convention coverage, but I'm glad that they cancelled some of the activities. I wasn't planning on watching this one either, but I think that MCCain did the right thing. I think skipping Bush and Cheney is a wise move, to distance McCain's campaign from the current administration. I hope that the Rep's can do something good for those in Gustav's path. I'm also enjoying an Obama free day. My thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by Gustav, and kudos to CNN and the excellant coverage today.

    September 1, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  11. sam

    mcain thats the first time ive seen him work on a week end for a longwhile . hes like bush bush had a therd of both his terms on holidy , mcain WONT work week ends , hes just like bush . BERNAED IS CORRECT IF YOUR GOING TO BE FAIR THE DEMOCRATS HANDLED THE SITUATION JUST AS WELL OBAMA?BIDEN DID . and of couse we want to be fair and balansed . im embarrised 8 years of the republicans big spending ten trillion in debt an 43% of my fellow americans want to give gop for the white house . either your just plain brain washed by the press or you have been watching hannity .again......OBAMA/BIDEN becouse i love my country to much see it fall into the hands of another republican just like g bush . REMEMBER 95% WITH BUSH A MAVRRICK IT DOES NOT MAKE NORE DO MCAINS ELECTION STUNTS.

    September 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  12. Kevin

    Give me a break. The Bush years have been a disaster for the United States at home and abroad. I've long been an admirer of McCain but will vote Obama primarily because the Republican party needs to pay the price for 8 years of truly disastrous governance. The Gustav Show is non-sense and propaganda in a media saturated environment. How about some real news coverage for a change.

    September 1, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  13. Linda DiBartolo

    Hi David,

    I think that John McCain made the right and appropriate decision to limit the Republic convention and to help out the hurricane victims.
    I am looking forward to CNN's coverage of the RNC.

    Trenton, NJ

    September 1, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  14. Patrick, CA

    It's typical that critics and opposers to John McCain would accuse his efforts to assist the victims of Gustav as an attempt to gain votes. What would any genuine American do if their neighbors were in need, he/she would assist them. I see John McCain being a geniune American by his actions to assist those caught in the storm. My vote is for McCain; but I also commend Obama on what he is doing to help.

    Let's drop our partisan ways, for the sake of the Gustav victims.

    "In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice...the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man." – Franklin D. Roosevelt

    September 1, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  15. LarryJ

    What exactly is it that Bush/Cheney can do from their ranches in Texas that they can't do while at the convention, in terms of response and readyness for Gustav? I mean, seriously, each would probably have to speak for 20-30 min. – tops.

    By speaking at the convention they would do much more for this country than if they don't speak: Showing what morons are bred in the GOP and show a link between McCain and Bush, which would scare the s**t out of any living soul in this country and eventually help elect Obama.

    September 1, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  16. Edu Minnesota

    I think the response by RNC appears good. Nevertheless, I am very sceptical of their intentions. I feel it has political motive to front themselves as putting the nation before themselves as they argue. If this is consistent with MCcains idealogy, what was MCcain doing when Katrina hit? He was celebrating his birthday at Arizona with other Republicans while many soles were drowning at New Orleans. That was his response when nothing was at stake. Now that he is eyeing the Oval house, he suddenly remembered to put the country first. In so much as the scaling down on their convention appears good, I believe it has political motivaton. With the political intention, I believe he could care less as he did 3 years ago.

    September 1, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  17. Sharon

    Why don' t Mccain leave Bush to handle Gutav? That is for the president and the govenors of the affected states to handle. If the states need emergency relief, who will determine that but Bush. McCain is just looking for a bounce. That is what the convention is for!

    September 1, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  18. Jack

    I have seen opportinism and this just goes over the top. The hurricane was not that bad. I think that Mcain is hiding behind a hurricane. He makes hasty decisons and i know where hasty decisions have led this country. Bad bad judgement. Normal and honest people hear the facts then act. MCain calculates then acts, all with an uninhibited ambition to become president. Sara was a bad calculated decision. Imagine what he can do when he is not calculating! Disaster!

    September 1, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  19. Pat

    What did they do, besides move back their convention a day? Sure, it was a good move, but it's not much. The Dems would have done the exact same

    September 1, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  20. Penny

    The GOP was caught between a rock and a hard place. If the convention had gone on uninterrupted, the party would have been viewed as insensitive. If the convention was postponed by at least a day, they were going to be looked at as possibly using this event for political gain. Yes, there would be those who would argue that the GOP really meant well, but...was there any other choice?

    That being said, I believe that the only positive thing that McCain received from this untimely event was the "lightening rod" known as Bush/Cheney won't be at the convention in person. Sure, they are going to be – and pardon the pun – the elephant in the Xcel Energy Center, but it won't be as bad as if they actually spoke and appeared in person. That would have made great political material for the Democrats to use in any attack.

    Even without Bush/Cheney, this ticket is so obvious in its pandering to women voters, such as me, that it is disgusting. McCain blew it on the experience factor. Palin's gross inexperience is an affront to the more experienced women in the House and the Senate and the entire GOP who could have been chosen instead: Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Olympia Snowe and Elizabeth Dole, to name a few. Even though I am a Democrat and will vote Democrat, I highly respect the experience level of these women despite my party affiliation. Palin? Who....?

    I hope that the GOP have a great time in St. Paul. The GOP will have their work cut out for them.

    September 1, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  21. Cindy

    @ George...
    If the GOP is serious about helping the victims, shouldn’t they have prepped the care packages at least a week ago?

    I don't see the Dems making any care packages at all! So why didn't they do anything last week either? What's good for one is good for the other. You can't bash one for doing something when the other isn't doing anything at all.


    September 1, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  22. Terre;;

    Obama has sent notice to his donor list (2 million plus) to donate to the red cross to provide relief. He has also sent notice to his volunteers, precinct captains etc to provide man power in the gulf states once the damage has been accessed and to make care packages as has been done by the RNC.

    Grassroots organizations tend to be good at this type of thing.....

    September 1, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  23. Jim

    I think the Republicans responded well to Gustav. The Democrats would have acted the same way. Palin was a bad pick for McCain. The race is a dead head right now, but Obama will run away with it after the debates. The only issue McCain has is national security. This country needs a lot more than that. Obama's the real deal.

    September 1, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  24. nick

    i agree with the critics,its just a way for the republicans to distract people, amd honestly i think the republicans are BS'ing this, theyre just trying to look good

    September 1, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  25. bernard

    mcain has done the right thing . but anderson the reality is this the gop aint gonna stuff up someting like katrina in election year are they . i mean come on man . also anderson becouse i know your itching to be bipartisan on this obama and the democrats handled the situation equaly as well . obama would have mobalised his army of workers and money to help , he said lets wate for the lagostics reports sensible . so both sodes handled the situatin as well . though we never actualy herd how the gop were going to help ? . cheers anderson .

    September 1, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  26. Fair Minded


    I am a true admirer of your independent position so far. Please don't budge. We can't be more divided than we are right now – as you have rightly pointed out in your introductory statement.

    As to the Rep's response to the storm: I take it you know this – they will use this trgaic situation to decorate their political "capital". That saddens me a lot.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  27. Mark

    It doesn't matter what happens...the American people will vote for another idiot with the IQ of a snail and the rest of the world will laugh long and hard.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  28. Robin

    The GOP got very lucky here. First, they look good for postponing the celebratory side of the convention because of Gustav. It was the right thing to do. I doubt the average GOP fat cat gives a hoot what happens in New Orleans (they don't contribute much to the GOP) but this still looks good. Second, and most importantly, the anchors around McCain's neck and the ones that will likely sink him, Bush/Cheney, won't show up since they are "doing something" about Gustav....hopefully staying out of the way. Third, Gustav is shaping up not to be so bad after all so maybe the press won't be diverting that much attention away from the convention. All in all this is very positive for McCain. But his selection for VP? Is he totally nuts or a genius? I think the former. It is mind boggling that Obama and McCain are so close in the polls. We reap praise on the average American but these same voters put Bush in twice. Let's face it. The average American voter is ignorant, under-educated, driven by secondary so-called "social" issues, and easily lead by sound bites, half truths, and full-on lies.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  29. anny

    It amazes me how quickly people forget! When Katrina Happened, where were all the "caring Republicans"? NOw because McCain sees this as an opportunity to score points, with Gustav threatening, he is doing the right thing! Wake up! Think it through, y ou just don't wake up one morning and start caring about the plight of others.
    For those of you like Melissa, who supported Hillary and say they now support McCain, obviously did not support what HIllary fought for all these years. You are being just as stupid as the Republicans hope you will be-Vote strictly by gender reagardless of the platform. What a shame!Stop blaming Obama people for the news that is out there on Palin. Come on, if she is a heartbeat away from the Presidency, she should be scrutinized. Everyone else is. Just because you are a Republican doesn't exempt you from that. Quit whining and just admit you follow whatever the Republican spew!

    September 1, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  30. Richard

    McCain is doing the right thing by scaling back the GOP convention. All the naysayers are clouded by hatred. Seriously, Democrats (like Chris Dodd) were attacking McCain for go forward the GOP convention just two days ago. Now, they are complaining that McCain is scaling it back. These people should be ashamed of themselves. They don't have convictions. Their opinions are not rooted from facts. You cannot attack someone from both sides of an issue. It is ridiculous.

    The objective question to ask is: Should any candidate scale back his/her convention in the face of a Cat 4 hurricane (Gustav was predicted to be a Cat 4 as late as of yesterday)? I think the answer is a clear yes. It is inappropriate to have a party celebration while a huge hurricane is coming in. McCain made the right decision.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  31. Rick Kave


    Unfortunately so, the Republicans and McCain are hiding behind this upcoming disaster. They are happy to cover up their inadequate campaign and policies for this country.

    Unfortunately so, the McCain that I had (and many had respected before) does not put the "country first". Surely "almost Miss Alaska Palin" was a total political calculation, and a trap, which the targeted independent and Hillary-voters will hopefully not fall into in.

    Unfortunately so, McCain is not a maverick at all. Just simple old, power-driven and ultra-conversative politics of the old "silent" generation of people, growing up in the beginning of the Cold War.

    Have they responded well... ? Not really.

    Rick K.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  32. Fay, CA

    Americans have proved that they can be easily fooled–after all they voted in Bush twice and don't appear to be bothered at all by McCain's insane and reckless choice for VP if you go by the polls.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  33. Debra from Lawrenceville Georgia

    You guys are unfair to Senator Obama. I am an Obama supporter. I got an email from the Obama campaign to donate to the red cross. I did donate to the red cross. I did not think to do it until the Obama campaign sent the email. So, do not say he is not part of relief for hurricane victims, he is. His whole point is staying out of the way of the relief crew down there. Where in the hell was Mccain doing Katrina, I remember that he was eating cake. Now because he is running for President, he is down there in the way of rescue group, causing problems.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  34. Jack

    I think that Senator McCain is once again showing the theme of his lifetime which is service to country first. I thought it was a good thing that he took a plane load of delegates back to the gulf states and that he arranged for a plane load of the family members of delegates to fly up to St Paul for safety. Every one is so quick to point out the wonders of Obama. Why is it that when McCain does something it is labeled as pandering for the press but Obama gets credit? I for one think that Obama is full of nothing but himself and empty promises that are going to cost me a fortune. I am voting for McCain.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  35. Shane M from Texas

    ***I really hope this is posted, cause it would be the 1st time in like 6 months...thanks CNN

    It's really rather simple. The Repubs are flat out pandering. McCain was planning on giving his nomination speech from a "devastated" area, simply to improve on his image and deter the memory of Katrina and the GOP failure. Only problem is that the storm petered out, as if it knew it was going to be used for the wrong reasons

    I was raised to believe that you don't do the right thing so you can get a pat on the back; you do the right thing because its the responsible thing to do. The government (Dems AND GOP) have a responsibility to react appropriately to any and all disasters, regardless of election years. The fact that the GOP is trying to make this a political issue is disgusting.

    One note aside, I'd like to point out that not only did this Palin fraud back the "bridge to nowhere" when she was running for office in 2006, but she completely abandoned those people it would benefit as soon as it became politically convenient. She has no record of accomplishment that deserves warrant because she merely rode the coattails of other people in Alaska to fight corruption and such. She only arrived in time to claim credit for it. It would be the same to say Bush is responsible for Clinton's surplus in 2000.

    And not to mention the fact that her kid is knocked up. What kind of example is she setting for our nation's daughters?! It's okay to get pregnant and marry at 17? It's okay to rely on mom and dad to support you whist you throw away your opportunity to get an education and gain the experience and insight necessary to raise a child? I guess because Bush's kids are drug users and alcoholics, its okay for our kids to do that too. After all, the President and VP are supposed to set the highest standards of ethics and morality for the rest of us to follow, right?

    September 1, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  36. Susan from Scotts Valley

    I think they are doing the right thing. Perhaps for the wrong reasons but still the right thing. I just don't think he needed to go there where people are trying to get ready for a real response. What could he add to the situation other than headaches dealing with his security need?

    September 1, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  37. Michelle G. from Alabama

    Obama's drug experiments were his mistakes, just as Bristol Palin's decision to have unprotected sex is her mistake. I do not judge Obama or Bristol for their youthful errors in judgment. The problem is McCain's current, 72 year old judgment. Americans-Democrats, Republicans and Independents have every right to question his knee-jerk decision to choose a person like Palin (mother of newborn with special needs/soon to be first-time grandmother for her underage daughter) to potentially be the second command of our country. All jokes aside, this is a major indicator of how haphazardly he would lead this nation. For those of you who support McCain, what would you be saying if news like this came out about Obama? You would rake him and his family over the coals unmercifully. You all should be ashamed. We should follow Obama's lead by describing the Palin matter as a private family matter, but as citizens we have every right to question and doubt the judgment of the two mavericks, Palin and McCain.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:35 pm |

    The last few days has shown we Americans what kind of leadership John Mccain will give us as President.. We can all see this man is a man of his word. A man that will make the hard decison based on whats best for America.,.We are not confused as to what John Mccain believes. John Mccain is a man that is comfortable in his own skin...A man that has been there done that. John Mccain has a life time full up and down. his metal has been tested...John Mccain's yes is yes and his no is no..American needs john mccain, a man for these times. IS IT LUCK that we have John Mccain...I THINK NOT,,, I AM SO PLEASE WE HAVE THIS MAN FOR THIS TIME...Sincerely, jimmie w beck

    September 1, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  39. Maureen

    There is an old saying, Damned if you do, damned if you don't. The same people who are criticizing McCain for limiting the opening of the RNC in deference to the citizens who are suffering from the onslaught of Hurricane Gustav would be the same people who would be complaining that if he had gone on with the convention as usual, he would have been considered by them as out-of touch with the disaster, and they would be saying he was celebrating at a convention when he should be helping with the communities being hit by Gustav. And since these same people lost the opportunity to do that, they just decided to find a lame excuse to continue to attack him. Sometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due and put politics aside. Don't be afraid to speak the truth. McCain is doing the right thing. He is putting the *people first* , the *country first.* Thank you McCain.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  40. bruce

    Who could ague that it is inappropriate or wrong for the McCain to tailor their convention in recognition of Gustav? You could no more argue against that than argue against the exitence of Mother's Day. So Gergen, who is among the most astute commentators, is right. But what Gergen fails to fully appreciate is the hidden hand of Karl Rove which is clearly guiding the McCain campaign. The Rove "identity" is the ultimate smoke and mirrors.... the longest biggest con job on the American public since perhaps Joseph McCarthy. It is not about governance (a sincere interest in the Gustav story), a favored topic of which Gergen speaks well. Rather it is about crass politics and calculations... manipulating the public into believing that McCain is another "compassion conservative" when in fact, apart from a lot of so-called "country-first" rhetoric, he is no such thing. Rather McCain will continue and extend Bush's trademark of talk the talk but not walk the walk..... say one thing and do nothing - a la Katrina.... a la Iraq and the host of other catostrophies the neo-conservatives have led the way on.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  41. Michael K.

    From the perspective of a Canadian, the response of the McCain camp to curtail the RNC Convention and focus attention on the plight of those displaced by the potential/actual destructive forces of Gustav is exactly what is best about America. I am pleased that the Democratic nominees are similarly focused upon those they serve, than in further serving their own interests by picking on this or that. If only the "surrogates" could/would do the same, and shut the hell up for once, letting the interests of the people (rather than their party(ies)) come first, we'd all be better off. And to David Gergen, rather than revert back, as you always do, to "the much biger issues" (have you noticed how the Obama campaign seems to define your issues for you?), why not just cut off the matter by omitting your penultimate paragraph. For once. Otherwise, why not just de-camp to MSNBC?

    September 1, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  42. RDLD

    so far so good. its not over by a long shot ?

    September 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  43. Goodson

    What a gift to McCain, trying hard enough to distance himself from his twin friend President Bush, by pandering to Gustav, how did he react to Katrina, or is this wisdom that comes at convenience?

    September 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  44. george

    If the GOP is serious about helping the victims, shouldn't they have prepped the care packages at least a week ago? Canceling the RNC or not, showing their magnanimity when the hurricane has already struck seems disingenuous.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  45. sarah B....Durham,NC

    ohhH...Mr. Gergen
    one of my fav. contributors to CNN....i am glad to hear that RNC is being delayed and kept to bare essentials during a crisis in LA and other states affected by Gustav. though it is def. good publicity for McCain....w/ his actions, and his campaign is going to help 80K ppl affected by this. we should ALL try to HELP, ANYWAY we can!!.....

    i def. agree with you about the Bigger issues going on, though Gustav is a main Priority at this moment, we still have major issues that Need to be addressed from McCain/Palin.....what are their plan of actions to address these things??....and i have heard the polls and reactions about Palin...but what do we Really know about her??....a short track record...and sharp approach.....coming from someone who was Mayor of Wasilla,AK....less thank 5k ppl (my father lives out there)...and governor for 2yrs....(he supported her also)....but does she Really balance out the ticket??>>...does she Really bring what would help address these issues in our nation....how would she enable us to live safer, healthier, wealthier, happier, and more productive lives w/in our country and w/ other countries??.......and the biggest question for me....could she Realistically step into the role of the President of the United States...and ALL that encumbers it??>>.....many ppl like that she is outside the Beltway....but frankly that scares ME!!.....

    thanks for keeping us up.....

    September 1, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  46. Vivian

    It's the right thing to do and it's a test for each candidate to demonstrate their leadership and judgement.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  47. Ken

    McCain helping put together relief packages for Gustav is just like Obama helping fill sandbags during the mississippi river floods in the midwest. They are both politicians, and everything they do is political... and it almost always it looks ridiculous because it is so transparent. Yes, they both care about America. We saw them do enough work to get some great photos. Is that the best use of their time though, really? Imagine if our leaders actually spent time leading – pulling together the greatest minds we have in America and implementing their solutions to problems instead of pandering for the media. If they are both going to be lead by example Presidents though, I guess I would rather see images of Obama helping to administer shots to poor kids that don't have insurance than watch McCain and Palin running oil drills off the Alaskan coastline.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  48. Marcia, Warren MI

    Where have all these Republicans been during the 3 years since Katrina? Did they even tour the Gulf Coast? The current Administration and the Republican Party will do anything to make themselves look good with all the screw ups from the current Administration.

    As for Palin I think the American women are more intelligent than the Republicans give us credit for. We can see when someone panders to us and do not fall for it. If they thought that a woman on the ticket would make a difference how about someone like Sen Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  49. Cassie


    The Republicans are doing the right thing in not going on with there convention. I will say they really need to focus on the issues when the storm passes through and begin explaining the Palin pick and what they are going to do for this country not focus on their stories which I could careless for when I have problems.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  50. Brendan

    Honestly, I'm not a fan of McCain, but I think he's doing the right thing, even if there's a possibility that the reason behind it may be wrong. I wouldn't trust him with my life, though.

    Also, who is this "Cindy" who keeps commenting first? Sheesh.

    September 1, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
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