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August 28th, 2012
06:57 AM ET

Romney far behind Obama in likability – CNN contributors Ana Navarro and Erick Erickson on what Romney needs to do to sway voters

Today is the first real day of the Republican National Convention, after the threat of Isaac forced the GOP to essentially cancel activities on Monday. Now the storm could steal the spotlight altogether, at a time when voters are anxious to see GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney address the party.

One of Romney's biggest hurdles for the general election is his likability. In a Washington Post poll, 61% of registered voters found President Obama likeable, while only 27% of registered voters found Romney likable. How will Romney overcome this?

CNN contributors Ana Navarro and Erick Erickson look at what Mitt Romney has to do at the Republican National Convention to improve his likability among potential voters.

August 28th, 2012
06:38 AM ET

St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Pohlmann tells Soledad O'Brien: I think we'll be OK for Isaac

Tropical storm Isaac is on track to make landfall near New Orleans tonight, just shy of seven years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall. People in and around New Orleans have been ordered to evacuate if they live outside of storm protection levees, with the memory of Katrina behind each storm prep.

Soledad O'Brien reports live on "Early Start" from the French Quarter in New Orleans, after talking with St. Bernard Parish Sheriff James Pohlmann on how the city is preparing for Isaac.

"I think we're going to be OK," Sheriff Pohlmann says. "I have confidence in our new flood protection system around St. Bernard Parish...we know we're going to have some rough weather, plenty of wind, plenty of rain, and we think we can manage."

"We learned a lot from hurricane Katrina. We're much better organized, we have inter-operability communications...we can talk to state officials, local officials. That's a big part of it. Our game plan is better. We know where the high ground is and that's where we're going to be embedded with our patrol deputies and the rest of our staff. We have facility that has a generator...I think the people, they truly understand the catastrophic effects of a major hurricane," Sheriff Pohlmann adds.

Filed under: Hurricane Katrina • Isaac
August 28th, 2012
06:19 AM ET

Oil, gas shutdowns in Gulf for Isaac – Christine Romans reports on the extent of the production stoppage

As Isaac approaches the Gulf Coast of the United States, oil and gas production is being cut down sharply. How widespread are the shutdowns and how will it affect gas and oil prices?

Christine Romans explains on "Early Start" this morning the extent of temporary shutdowns for oil and gas producers in the Gulf of Mexico as Isaac approaches.

Filed under: Gas prices • Isaac • Oil
August 28th, 2012
06:13 AM ET

Mobile, Ala. prepares for Isaac – Mayor Sam Jones on planned evacuations and precautions

Mobile, Ala. Mayor Sam Jones on how his city is preparing for tropical storm Isaac.

Filed under: Isaac • Weather
August 27th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

Security tight in Tampa for Republican National Convention – Fmr. Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino on concerns before big event

Fmr. Secret Service Agent & Maryland Republican Senatorial Candidate Dan Bongino on security preps for GOP convention.

August 27th, 2012
10:06 AM ET

What does Mitt Romney need to do at Republican National Convention? National Journal's Ron Brownstein says Romney will have to convince voters that he cares about them

In Tampa, Fla. this morning, at home base for the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney will make his debut as the party's official nominee for president later this week. Weather permitting, some of the party's brightest stars will be speaking from Florida as well.

Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida and the candidate's own wife, Ann Romney, will take the stage to talk about the former Massachusetts governor and why he should be president of the United States. That's the question that everyone is asking right now and that's the sales pitch that the Romney team is making.

Ron Brownstein, CNN political analyst and editorial director for the "National Journal," says what Romney needs to do at the convention is to convince voters that they are important to him.

"Romney trails on a lot of these personal measures of connection and empathy," Brownstein says. "What's striking is that he leads on the question usually of who can revive the economy overall, trails on - caring about people like me and the short version that pollsters think what people are saying is, they think that Romney probably is more skilled at getting the economy going in some macro sense. But people are so dubious that he cares about and will deliver prosperity for people them like them, and that is certainly, I think, job one this week for him."

"His task is to convince them that he sees them [voters], that he cares about people like them," Brownstein adds.

August 27th, 2012
07:51 AM ET

CNN contributor Ana Navarro says Mitt Romney 'needs to sell himself as the comeback artist' at Republican National Convention

Despite some nasty weather here this morning from tropical storm Isaac, the Republican National Convention is set to kick off its first full day on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney will be making his official debut this week as the party's presidential nominee. The candidate was at church in New Hampshire yesterday with his wife, Ann, who will join a long list of Republican leaders taking the stage this week.

This morning on "Early Start," Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ana Navarro says that though polls are more in Romney's favor, it's still a 'neck-and-neck race' with President Obama.

"This is an important week for Mitt Romney," Navarro says. "It is really his party here, his coming out party. He needs to show himself. He needs to open himself up. He needs to make the sale with the American people and see if he can bump up those numbers."

Navarro adds, "The economy was going to be the issue, but it's turned out to not be the only issue, but it's very important that Romney has got that lead that he has currently and he needs to grow that. He needs to sell himself as what he's been calling himself, the comeback artist."

Filed under: 2012 election • Mitt Romney • RNC
August 27th, 2012
07:39 AM ET

Mayor Bob Buckhorn says 'Looking pretty good' in Tampa for tropical storm Isaac ahead of Republican National Convention

As tropical storm Isaac makes its way towards the southern coast of the US, wind and rain from the storm started hitting Tampa, Fla. last night.

With many of preps and changes done early, it appears the city will be spared in time for the Republican National Convention. Still, officials are cautiously optimistic that the worst may be past and the convention will proceed.

This morning on "Early Start," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn talks with John Bermn on the latest in tropical storm Isaac and the start of the Republican National Convention.

Filed under: Isaac
August 27th, 2012
07:13 AM ET

Florida concerns for Isaac moves from Keys to Panhandle

Florida Emergency Management director Bryan Koon says tropical storm Isaac could cause damage to Fla. panhandle.

Filed under: Isaac • Weather
August 27th, 2012
06:24 AM ET

Isaac could wreak havoc on gas, oil – Christine Romans on how production and prices could be affected

Tampa, Florida (CNN) - Thousands in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were being told early Monday to leave their Gulf Coast homes ahead of the arrival of Tropical Storm Isaac as forecasters warned it was gaining strength as it followed the same path Hurricane Katrina took seven years earlier.

The governors of the three states each declared a state of emergency, with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley ordering mandatory evacuations to begin at 8 a.m. for residents who live along the coast and for those in some low-lying areas inland.

Oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico are already being suspended at some facilities because of the approaching storm. How will oil production and gas prices be affected by the impending storm?

This morning on "Early Start," Christine Romans looks at how tropical storm Isaac could hamper oil production and cause gas prices to spike.

Filed under: Minding Your Business • Weather
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