LIers anticipate RNC as Gustav approaches

Hurricane Gustav is expected to ravage the Gulf Coast, but it also will disrupt the Republican National Convention, which begins Monday in Minnesota.
The expectation of a Monday strike by Gustav led to President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney deciding not to attend the St. Paul convention. Instead, Bush will travel to Texas Monday to meet with emergency workers.
"There are a lot of Republicans that are very happy that Bush is not going to be part of it," says Larry Levy, a News 12 Long Island political analyst. Levy adds that Bush's absence will take away from the Democrats' message linking nominee John McCain to the president.
Regardless of Bush's attendance and the pending hurricane, Levy says the event will lead to a historical moment in November.
"Either we're going to have the first black president or have the first woman vice president," he says.
Following McCain's selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, Long Islanders say they'll tune in to the GOP convention to see what the so-called maverick has in store next.
"I was just really surprised that he would go that far out [of the norm]. It just seemed like a shocker to me," says Bob Rice, of Huntington Station.
McCain's aides say the fate of the convention will depend on the severity of Hurricane Gustav.