As tens of thousands of people flee Hurricane Gustav's path, White House officials announced that President Bush and Vice President Cheney will not speak at the Republican National Convention Monday night as planned.
Sen. John McCain said that the convention schedule will be altered, the New York Times reports.
"We must redirect our efforts from the really celebratory event of the nomination of president and vice president of our party to acting as all Americans," McCain said in Mississippi. "We have to go from a party event to a call to the nation for action, action to help our fellow citizens in this time of tragedy and disaster, action in the form of volunteering, donations, reaching out our hands and our hearts and our wallets to the people who are under such great threat from this great natural disaster. I pledge that tomorrow night, and if necessary, throughout our convention if necessary, to act as Americans not Republicans, because America needs us now no matter whether we are Republican or Democrat."
CNN reports that a federally supported computer projection says Gustav could cause up to $29.3 billion in property damage. It also projected that Gustav is headed toward 4.5 million people, 59,953 buildings, including 170 hospitals and at least 1,100 police and fire stations.
Yesterday, Gustav was reported as a category 4 storm but is being reported as a category 3 storm, the same category as Hurricane Katrina three years ago that killed thousands of people.