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“We’re going to continue with our Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday schedule,” said Russ Schriefer, the chief convention planner.

At least one speaker bowed out. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Monday that he would not attend as the storm gathered strength and bore down on his home state.

As the weather threat to Tampa diminished, delegates focused on party message and the near-term task of making Romney the nominee and working to defeat Obama in November.

“There’s a mission here,” said Gary Harkins, a delegate from Brandon, Miss. “We have to nominate a candidate for president. Our mission is to save America from becoming a socialistic state.”

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, speaking in his hometown of Janesville, Wis., before heading for the convention on Tuesday, delivered a message that echoed at meetings and news conferences all across Tampa — the Obama presidency has been a failure, and Romney offers a different course.

“We’re not just picking the next president for a few years,” he said. “We are picking the pathway for America for a generation.”

    Ryan warned the United States under Obama has faltered: “It’s a nation in debt, it’s a nation in doubt, it’s a nation in decline,” he said.

Sen. Rob Portman reinforced the message in Tampa, telling the Ohio delegation it was time for Obama “to stop blaming others and take responsibility.”

“There are families all over Ohio that are suffering as a result. He hasn’t measured up to his own standards,” he said.

Democrats, for their part, said that if the Republican convention proceeds as planned Tuesday, they would resume their on-site efforts in Tampa to counter the GOP message. Democrats planned to focus Tuesday on Romney’s record at Bain Capital and had several employees who worked for companies impacted by Bain in Tampa to talk to the media.

Democrats halted activities in their so-called “war room” Monday after Republicans essentially canceled the first day of the convention.

The weather was a constant concern for some. Jeanne Luckey of Ocean Springs, Miss., whose family lost a beachside home to Hurricane Katrina, said friends were helping secure their inland home for Isaac.

“It’s a very busy time, certainly, but we’ve got to take care of the business of the party and make sure we get Governor Romney nominated,” Luckey said. “We have a lot of work to do between now and November.”

The storm was a complication, at best, for a party determined to cast the close election as a referendum on Obama’s economic stewardship and Romney as the best hope for jobs and prosperity.

The concern was two-fold: that Tampa, hosting thousands of GOP delegates, would get sideswiped by the storm; and that it would be unseemly to engage in days of political celebration if Isaac made a destructive landfall anywhere on U.S. soil.

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