Republicans have tough act to follow

There is not much of a break between the Democratic and /*GOP conventions*/ -- only three days. For McCain, that's a plus, as he can immediately begin to minimize any momentum Barack Obama generated this week.

The four day Democratic National Convention had it all -- emotion, drama, and an unprecedented venue. There's no telling what kind of bounce Barack Obama will get in the polls from the convention, but by all accounts, /*Republicans*/ have a tough act to follow.

"How do you follow up the pageantry of speaking in front of 80,000 people? Well the answer is you don't. That doesn't mean you throw in the towel," says Bill Whalen.

Whalen is a GOP strategist and fellow at the Hoover Institution. He says McCain, who turns 72 on Friday, has to respond to Obama's remarks that he just doesn't get it.

"I think that's a very effective line for Obama for two reasons. First of all, it points out that Republicans have not been addressing basic economic needs in this country but secondly, it subtlety raises the issue of John McCain's age," says Whalen.

Republicans say fortunately, compared to the Democrats, they will have more time to make their case to the American people -- a good portion of the Democratic Convention was devoted to patching up the rift within the party, but there are potential distractions for the GOP.

Tropical storm Gustav, now in the Caribbean, is expected to reach the U.S. as a hurricane on the first day of the GOP convention. In fact, Republicans are now considering delaying the convention if necessary. Also, McCain is scheduled to speak on Thursday, the same night of the nationally televised opening game of the National Football League season.

"You know, you have to deal with what you have to deal with, and what we need to do is project a strong theme of unifying America with an economic package that helps everyone and we'll let the distractions take care of themselves," says Tom Del Becarr, the California Democratic Party vice-chair.

The White House is debating whether the President should cancel his scheduled convention appearance if Gustav hits the U.S. as a hurricane. President Bush is supposed to speak on Monday.

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