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Republican convention scaled back due to hurricane

 Republican convention scaled back due to hurricane
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Republican presidential hopeful, John McCain, has suspended the majority of today’s party nomination convention in Minnesota to avoid a festive atmosphere while Americans cope with Hurricane Gustav.

Republican leaders, including McCain himself, say it would be unseemly to be seen celebrating while a natural disaster unfolded on the Gulf Coast two thousand miles away.

“Of course this is a time when we have to do away with our party politics and we have to act as Americans. We have to join the 300 million other Americans on behalf of our fellow citizens. It’s a time for action. So, we’re going to suspend most of our activities tomorrow except for those absolutely necessary,” McCain said over a live TV-link up from St Louis.

In 2005, McCain slammed the Bush administration’s slow reaction to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina as “shameful”.

Eager to avoid further criticism, President George W Bush has also cancelled his visit to the convention, along with Vice President Dick Cheney. Both had been scheduled to speak later today.

Republicans are in St Paul for their four-day convention to formally nominate McCain as their candidate to face Democrat, Barack Obama, in the US presidential election on November 4.