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John Boehner: Era of Political Conventions May Be Ending

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

TAMPA, Fla. — Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), the Republican National Convention’s permanent chairman, said today he doesn’t believe the current four-day convention framework makes sense in a modern media environment.

The length of the once-every-four-years party fete has come into question as a natural disaster threatens to cut yet another convention down, with today’s formal festivities being canceled and other events later in the week in doubt with Tropical Storm Isaac barreling through the Gulf Coast region. Republicans cut short their 2008 affair in Minneapolis because of Hurricane Gustav.

“These are very expensive propositions to put on. I think that given as much news people get today and the way they get their news, I’m not sure that having a four-day convention for the future makes a lot of sense,” Boehner told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor lunch.

Boehner said the Republican and Democratic national committees “will assess whether this type of convention is worth the tremendous resources put into it.”

As for this week’s convention, Boehner said it is up to Mitt Romney’s campaign and the RNC to make a judgment call on whether they should continue with their scheduled programming if cities such as New Orleans get hit hard by Isaac. The optics of continuing on with a party would be tough if serious damage is done, and the all-important media bubble conventions provide would be burst, with major outlets diverting their resources to the storm areas.

On a press call earlier in the day, a spokesman for the convention said RNC officials are still planning for a three-day convention, spanning from Tuesday to Thursday, but are “agile” in the case they would need to move speakers and major events around to accommodate for natural disaster. Tampa was taken off the storm warning list today as well.

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