Published August 24, 2012
Tropical Storm Isaac isn't the only force threatening to rain on the Republican National Convention next week.
Democrats are planning to break from the tradition of keeping a low profile during the rival party’s convention, dispatching Vice President Biden to the host city and putting other A-list surrogates on the campaign trail to perhaps steal some of the spotlight.
Biden will not, however, be in Tampa for opening day, as inclement weather has forced the vice president to postpone his trip. He will be joined in Orlando by Hollywood actress and Obama for America co-chairwoman Eva Longoria, who is also expected to speak at the Democratic National Convention the following week in Charlotte, N.C.
Meanwhile, President Obama has scheduled campaign stops Tuesday and Wednesday in the battleground states of Ohio, Colorado and Virginia.
And first lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to appear on “The Late Show with David Letterman” on Wednesday, hours after GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is expected to deliver his speech.
The move marks a concerted effort to make sure the Democratic message is not drowned out, not even for a week, in what is shaping up to be a tightening presidential race.
“Decorum has broken down,” said Christopher Arterton, former dean of the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. “It’s accepted practice now. We may well see each party make news during the other’s convention.”
Arterton points out that Obama being president makes whatever he says newsworthy. “So it’s easier to intrude,” particularly after a news event “like a hurricane, just suppose,” he said.
Arterton also said convention week is great for rival-party fundraising because campaigns can get donors together to “yell at the TV” while the other convention is being broadcast.
Obama will hold events in Ames, Iowa, and Fort Collins, Colo., on Tuesday. Then he will travel to Charlottesville, Va., for a rally Wednesday.
Presidential candidates have typically kept a low profile during the conventions of their opponents, but that has changed in recent years. During the 2008 Republican National Convention, for example, Obama campaigned in Ohio and Pennsylvania while Biden courted voters in Florida and Virginia.
Romney campaign officials have said their candidate is scheduled to hold events in Charlotte during the week of the Democratic convention, though details have not been released.
Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the president, first lady and Biden will be “laying out the choice the American people are facing in November, cutting through some of the political chatter.”
She described Biden’s visit to Tampa as “going to the belly of the beast.”
Romney senior adviser Kevin Madden said the Biden trip is an attempt to distract from Democrats’ economic record and that it would help draw a contrast between the parties’ visions for the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.