CONVENTION WATCH: Donald Trump, president's pen - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

CONVENTION WATCH: Donald Trump, president's pen

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Around the 2012 Republican National Convention and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details to you:


For weeks, showman Donald Trump has been doing the slow tease about his plans for the GOP convention.

He was asked to speak, he says, but decided to do something "bigger." Something "very, very major." Something "hopefully quite amazing."

Trump was in Sarasota, Fla., over the weekend to accept an award, but headed back to New York when Monday's convention activities were pared down due to Tropical Storm Isaac.

Does that mean no more surprise?

"The big surprise is still going to happen, so stay tuned," promises Trump spokesman Michael Cohen.

GOP officials are playing along. Says convention planner Russ Schriefer: "Just because he isn't here, doesn't mean he's not going to show up."

- Nancy Benac - Twitter


His rivals may be convening in Florida this week. But at the White House, President Barack Obama is getting ready for his big moment next week - at the Democratic National Convention.

Aides say Obama spent part of Monday working on the speech he'll deliver at his party's gathering in Charlotte, N.C. A working draft, they say, has already been developed.

- Ken Thomas - Twitter


At least one Tampa, Fla., rally's gone to the dogs already.

Amid a protest objecting to the way Mitt Romney transported the family pet on a years-ago vacation - inside an animal carrier strapped atop the car - a woman stepped into the crowd and began loudly defending the GOP candidate.

"What Mitt Romney did to his dog, his dog liked and it was safe and enjoyable," said Barbara Seidenberg. As several canine-toting protesters tried to shout her down, she pressed on.

"Barack Obama was a 10-year-old boy when he ate dog," she said, apparently referring to a passage in one of Obama's books in which he writes about eating dog meat as a boy in Indonesia. "But he was a grown man when he decided his whole persona and his life was going to be committed to turning this country into less of a country so that - "

She was drowned out by a protester yelling "Obama 2012!"

A shouting match ensued, and Seidenberg stormed off.

__ Peter Prengaman - Twitter


At one point, he was a serious challenger for the GOP nomination. But Herman Cain says he's not upset about being excluded from the list of speakers at the Republican National Convention this week.

Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan helped him carve out a unique niche in the primary, with some polls showing him moving toward taking the lead in the fall. But allegations of sexual harassment derailed his candidacy.

Cain is making the rounds in Tampa. He tells CNN that he has met one-on-one with presumptive nominee Mitt Romney on at least three occasions in recent months. He says he's not upset about his lack of a speaking slot because other black Republican speakers needed the exposure more than he did.

Cain says the allegations that derailed his candidacy were part of a coordinated attack, but he didn't say whether the effort was undertaken by a particular Republican or a Democratic campaign: "I don't want to say anything that might jeopardize what we might do in the future in terms of exposing what happened."

- Kevin Freking - Twitter


Isaac is sweeping up the Gulf Coast just in time for the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans.

A tropical storm expected to strengthen into a hurricane, Isaac could prove punishing. But it's nowhere near as powerful as the bruiser that struck on Aug. 29, 2005.

At one point, Katrina reached Category 5 status with winds over 157 mph. It made landfall as a Category 3 with a huge storm surge. Levee failures caused catastrophic flooding.

This time, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials say the updated levees around New Orleans are equipped to handle storms stronger than Isaac. City officials had no plans to order evacuations, instead telling residents to hunker down and make do with the supplies they have.

"It's going to be all right," said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Isaac promises a soaking but not much more for Tampa, Fla., where the Republican National Convention was pushed back a day just in case.

__ Kevin McGill in New Orleans


Why say it when you can sing it?

Most speeches at this week's Republican National Convention are set to a particular theme for the day. "We Built It," is Tuesday's mantra, a poke at Obama's "You didn't build that" line at a July campaign event.

A convention entertainer will sing about it. Guitarist Lane Turner rehearsed his tune "I Built It" in a sparsely filled convention hall Monday.

"I built it with my own two working hands," goes the chorus. "Yeah I built it. No help from Uncle Sam."

Obama's campaign argues that his words, meant to stress the value of government in fostering infrastructure, were taken out of context.

- Brian Bakst - Twitter


The Virginia delegation served up some celebrity with its political breakfast Monday.

Jon Voight, the Academy Award-winning actor better known to today's moviegoers as the father of Angelina Jolie, joined Tagg Romney, son of the presidential candidate, to talk government spending, media coverage and President Barack Obama's record at the delegation's morning session.

Delegate Erin Smith of Leesburg, Va., says Voight complained that the media wasn't providing balanced coverage of the two candidates. She says Voight also argued that on several issues Obama campaigned on, he acted differently in office.

- Donna Cassata -


Maybe Mitt Romney assumes GOP delegates won't read all the way to page 177 of his book, "No Apology," included in their gift bags.

If they do, they'll find an uncomfortable sentence for Romney - a sentence dropped from the paperback edition. It alludes to his push, as Massachusetts governor, to require all residents to obtain insurance as part of health care reforms.

"We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting government take over health care," Romney wrote. That sounds a lot like the health care mandate in "Obamacare," which Romney now vows to undo.

In the paperback edition, the passage refers only to preventing a government takeover of health care. Publications including the Washington Examiner took note of the hardback's presence at the convention.

Of course, hardbacks make nicer gifts. And the swag bags don't include much else - mints and sunglasses, mainly.

- Charles Babington - Twitter


"You can tone down the happy-days-are-here-again a bit. Maybe you don't have the biggest balloon drop in history." - Rich Galen, veteran Republican consultant in Washington, discussing how to strike an appropriate tone at a convention that unfolds against the backdrop of a major storm.

- Thomas Beaumont - Twitter


The five Romney sons got one word each to describe Dad during a Fox News Channel interview. What they came up with:

Craig: "Qualified."

Ben: "Frugal."

Josh: "Cheap."

Matt: "Integrity."

Tagg: "Generous."

- Nancy Benac - Twitter


Dorothy Crockett says she wasn't about to let Isaac, the tropical storm gaining hurricane strength, keep her from a minute of the Republican National Convention.

The Arkansas spitfire - decked out in red, white and blue from her jacket to her earrings - was among a couple hundred delegates who showed up for the abbreviated opening Monday despite the cancellation of the speaking schedule.

"At my age I have never experienced a hurricane," the 77-year-old from northeast Arkansas says. "The only hurricane I want to experience is the Republicans taking over the House, the Senate and the White House. This is the Republican hurricane."

- Brian Bakst - Twitter


Mitt Romney's adopted state of Massachusetts is rewarded at the Republican National Convention with prime seating - just feet from where he'll accept the nomination this week. It's a rare honor for Massachusetts, a Democratic bastion used to being relegated to the back of the hall.

Kerry Healy, who served as lieutenant governor under Romney, is at the front of the front next to others who helped his rise. It reflects, Healy says, "a new thing for Massachusetts to have a Republican nominee for president. We have had plenty of the other kind."

Also in choice seats: delegates from battleground states of Virginia and Ohio as well as Romney's birth state of Michigan and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's home state of Wisconsin.

- Brian Bakst - Twitter

EDITOR'S NOTE - Follow AP journalists on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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