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Laura Bush, Cindy McCain Urge Hurricane Aid at RNC

Amid a scaled-back opening day at the Republican convention, First Lady Laura Bush spoke to Texas delegates in St. Paul and Cindy McCain focused the party's attention on Hurricane Gustav relief efforts.

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    Well, President Bush canceled his appearance at the convention, but First Lady Laura Bush was in St. Paul today meeting with delegates at their hotels. She spoke to reporters at the Texas delegation's hotel.

    LAURA BUSH, First Lady of the United States: I actually think the delegates really understand. They really do understand. And there's — you know, some of the states, all five of the Gulf Coast states that are affected — that could be affected by the hurricane or by Hurricane Hanna that's coming next, are Republican states with Republican governors.

    And they're very aware that those governors now are not going to be able to attend the convention. And so I think people understand and are keeping their eyes on the Gulf Coast to see if there are any ways we can help, either as a party from up here or as just a way to get the word out to the rest of the country because of the convention being here of what we can do to help across the Gulf Coast.

    I hope that what comes out of the convention is that people really get to know John McCain. That's the point, is for him to be able to give his speech for the people of the United States, to see what his policies are, and what his hopes are for our country, and, obviously, to get to know Sarah Palin, because most people don't know her.

    And so I hope that both of those speeches will be able to go on and that people will have the chance to hear both of them, because, after all, that's what really is important. That's the most important part of any convention, and that is for the candidates themselves to be able to speak for themselves and let people around the country know what their hopes and goals are for our country.

    I think that's what people are hoping for in this election, not politics as usual. I think that's what the other side's promising, but I actually think that's what John McCain is actually delivering. And I think that's really important.


    The Republicans have canceled plans for an evening session tonight, but they did have a short business session this afternoon. Gwen Ifill is down on the convention floor, where that session has just wrapped up.

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