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|Ulrich recaps reaction to Gustav at Republican convention|
Almost immediately upon hearing the news Hurricane Gustav would strike the gulf coast, Republican National Convention officials began scaling back their plans for the convention.
For the delegation from Louisiana, Gustav represented its own set of challenges and concerns.
Ruth Ulrich of Monroe, a Republican National Committeewoman who attended the RNC as a delegate, credited convention officials and Sen. John McCain's campaign with assisting members of the Louisiana delegation, many of whom had family back home in Gustav's path.
"With our delegation, especially, as we saw more and more that it was going to hit Louisiana, things got very interesting," said Ulrich, who spoke with The Ouachita Citizen earlier this week. "The McCain campaign chartered planes to get the families of delegates out of Louisiana and to Minneapolis."
Those same planes ferried state officials back to Louisiana to help manage the storm crisis.
As convention organizers changed plans to accommodate media and public attention to Gustav, Ulrich said those changes impacted virtually every facet of activities for the Louisiana delegation.
"All the plans had been made on everything and everything changed," said Ulrich. "There was not a single event to occur as planned."
One part of Ulrich's job with the state Republican Party was organizing the menus, speakers and entertainment for luncheons, breakfasts and delegation meetings throughout the week.
As people left or arrived, plans were scrapped in favor of a more moment-to-moment approach.
That culminated for Ulrich with the announcement that Cindy McCain, wife of the Republican nominee, would attend Louisiana delegation breakfast.
Ulrich recalled working until after midnight to arrange security and technical needs for Cindy McCain's visit. Ulrich was informed at 2 a.m. that Cindy McCain would also be accompanied by First Lady Laura Bush.
The breakfast went off without a hitch and the Louisiana delegation was thankful and reassured by the presence of the First Lady and the woman they want to see replace her, Ulrich said.
The RNC culminates Thursday night when Sen. McCain delivers his acceptance speech as the Republican Party's nominee for president.
Ulrich praised Gov. Bobby Jindal and the staffs of a number of state agencies for working to keep members of the Louisiana delegation appraised of developments back home.
"They were taking care of the job at home so we could do what we were sent here to do," Ulrich said. "It's just been phenomenal."