September 1, 2008

RNC Day 1 Ends With Plea for Gulf Coast

U.S. first lady Laura Bush and Cindy McCain closed Monday's Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., with a plea to help Hurricane Gustav victims.

"Our first priority now, today, is to ensure the safety and well-being of the people living in the Gulf Coast region," Bush told a somber audience.

The aftermath of Hurricane Gustav, which made landfall about 68 miles southwest of New Orleans Monday, was just beginning to be measured, Bush said.

"When such events occur, first, we're all Americans ... and shared American ideals will always transcend party and partisanship," she said.

After Bush's remarks, governors from Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida addressed convention-goers by videotape. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal did not videotape a message -- he is on scene in his home state.

"This storm may challenge our states, but it will not shake our will," said Alabama Gov. Bob Riley. "We have a great team in place taking action to save lives. the teamwork among our states has been unprecedented."

After the video, McCain -- the wife of the presumptive Republican nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain -- said she was proud to be on stage with Bush "as we work together and extend our support to relief efforts in the Gulf Coast."

"As John has said for the past several days, (this is the) time when we take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats," she said.