TAMPA — Republican officials abruptly announced plans Saturday evening to scrap the first day of their national convention, bowing to a threat posed by Tropical Storm Isaac, churning toward Florida.
‘‘Our first priority is ensuring the safety of delegates, alternates, guests, members of the media attending the Republican National Convention, and citizens of the Tampa Bay area,’’ party chairman Reince Priebus said in an e-mailed announcement that followed private conversations involving presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign, security officials, and others.
Priebus added that forecasters have predicted that convention-goers ‘‘may encounter severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain’’ on Monday.
The announcement said that while the convention would officially be gaveled into session on Monday as scheduled, the day’s events would be put off until Tuesday.
That meant Romney’s formal nomination would be postponed by a day, from Monday to Tuesday, but the balance of the four days of political pageantry and speechmaking would go on as scheduled.
Florida Governor Rick Scott canceled his convention events, including a speech Monday.
Vice President Joe Biden put off a planned a two-day swing through Florida to counter the GOP message. Biden was scheduled to be in Tampa on Monday and Orlando and St. Augustine on Tuesday.
— Globe wire services
Obama blasts GOP rival for ‘extreme’ views on economic and social issues
WASHINGTON — President Obama said Mitt Romney has locked himself into ‘‘extreme positions’’ on economic and social issues and would surely impose them if elected, trying to discredit his Republican rival at the biggest political moment of his life.
In an interview, Obama said Romney lacks serious ideas, refuses to ‘‘own up’’ to the responsibilities of what it takes to be president, and deals in factually dishonest arguments that could soon haunt him in face-to-face debates.
Obama also offered a glimpse of how he would govern in a second term of divided government, insisting rosily that the forces of the election would help break Washington’s stalemate.
He said he would be willing to make a range of compromises with Republicans, confident there are some who would rather make deals than remain part of ‘‘one of the least productive Congresses in American history.’’
With the remarks, Obama set up a contrast between Romney, whom he cast as an extremist pushing staunchly conservative policies, and himself, by saying he would work across party lines. It was a seeming play for the independent voters who decide close elections and tell pollsters they want to see the often-gridlocked politicians in Washington solve the nation’s problems.
Mainly, Obama was intent on countering Romney even before his challenger got to the Republican National Convention, which starts Monday in Tampa. In doing so, the president depicted his opponent as having accumulated ideas far outside the mainstream with no room to turn back.
‘‘I can’t speak to Governor Romney’s motivations,’’ Obama said. ‘‘What I can say is that he has signed up for positions, extreme positions, that are very consistent with positions that a number of House Republicans have taken. And whether he actually believes in those or not, I have no doubt that he would carry forward some of the things that he’s talked about.’’
Obama spoke to the on Thursday before heading off to a long weekend with his family at Camp David in the Maryland mountains.
Nearly 10 weeks before Election Day, the race is remarkably stable and reflective of a sharply divided nation, with registered voters about evenly split on their choice and nearly a quarter of them unsure or willing to change their mind.
— Associated Press
Romney turns attention to economy in appeal to female entrepreneurs
TAMPA — Mitt Romney pledged on Saturday to help female entrepreneurs and innovators eager to create small businesses, in an economy-themed countdown to the Republican National Convention.
‘‘Women in this country are more likely to start businesses than men. Women need our help,’’ said the Republican presidential challenger, eager to relegate recent controversy over abortion to the sidelines and make the nation’s slow economic recovery the dominant issue of his convention week.
The former Massachusetts governor campaigned with running mate Paul Ryan in battleground Ohio as delegates arrived in Florida by the planeload. Across town, technicians completed the conversion of a hockey arena along Tampa Bay into a red, white, and blue-themed convention hall.
Romney said Obama’s entire campaign rested on his ability to persuade people to ignore his record and listen to his rhetoric.
‘‘It is not his words people have to listen to. It’s his action and his record,’’ he said in his appearance in Powell, Ohio. ‘‘And if they look at that, they’ll take him out of the office and put people into the office who’ll actually get America going again.’’
Romney’s speech included an appeal to women made on economic grounds rather than on the basis of social issues like abortion, the sort of approach the Republican hopes will eat into Obama’s polling advantage among female voters.
‘‘I want to make sure that we help entrepreneurs and innovators. I want to speak to women of America who have dreams, who begin businesses in their homes, who begin businesses out in the marketplace, who are working at various enterprises and companies,’’ he said.
‘‘ . . . Our campaign is about making it easier for entrepreneurs, women and men, to start businesses, to grow businesses,’’ Romney said. He said most jobs are created by small businesses rather than larger firms or corporations.
Romney envisioned an economic resurgence fueled by abundant energy, expanded trade, and a skilled workforce. If that happens, ‘‘America is going to surprise the world. We’re going to stand out as a shining city on a hill in part because of our extraordinary economy.’’
— Associated Press