Mitt Romneys six-year quest for the Republican presidential nomination will culminate Wednesday when the 4,400 delegates gathered here officially make him their choice to reclaim the White House from President Obama and the Democrats.
Romney arrived in Tampa late Tuesday,at least a day earlier than scheduled and just hours before tropical storm Isaac which turned into a full-blown Category 1 hurricane late Tuesday was expected to strike the Gulf Coast.
The Republican National Convention has hardly played out according to the script that Romneys advisers had written. The storm scrambled the convention schedule,while the partys leadership was dealing with still-simmering anger from grass-roots elements that continues to threaten the images of a party united.
But the task at hand remains: to use the most-watched moment of the Republican presidential campaign to humanise Romney in the eyes of voters with personal testimonials from his friends,his colleagues and perhaps most importantly his wife.
Barring last-minute schedule changes forced by the unpredictable weather,Ann Romney will appear on the stage in prime time Wednesday,lending her broad appeal with voters to try and bolster her husbands likability. That remains one of Romneys primary challenges.
Romneys advisers will try to reach out to women voters with a series of speakers who will fight back against Democratic accusations that the party is waging a war against women. Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina will speak to the convention in prime time.
Meanwhile,Isaac turned into a full-blown Category 1 hurricane as it rolled over the Gulf of Mexico toward Louisiana,where residents in four states left boarded-up homes and New Orleans waited nervously behind flood-defense levees strengthened after the devastating Katrina struck exactly seven years ago.
The US National Hurricane Centre said the storm,with 120 kph winds,had gained strength. It was expected to reach the coast of southeast Louisiana Wednesday.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal decided to skip the Republican convention to focus on preparatory measures.
Obama spoke about Isaac on Tuesday saying,Now is not the time to tempt fate.