Priebus predicts ‘real’ and ‘visible’ bump for Romney after Tampa

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus looked ahead to next week’s convention in Tampa, predicting a “visible” boost for Mitt Romney and mocking Vice President Joe Biden’s plans for a counter rally, in an interview airing this weekend. 

During the interview with Bloomberg’s Al Hunt, Priebus said he expected Romney to receive a “real” and “visible” boost from the GOP convention.

“I think we are going to get a bump; I think we have a better opportunity for the bump as a party, as a challenging party,” said Priebus. 

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The party chairman said that as “people get to know Mitt Romney and get to know who he is and the decent man he is and his story of the American Dream and his generosity,” he expected that Republicans would gain across the board.

But Priebus refused to peg a specific number. “I can’t give you a scope, but I can tell you I think it’s going to be real and it’s going to be visible, but I don’t know what it will end up being.”

Priebus also mocked Biden, who has faced a series of high-profile gaffes, as the GOP’s “best surrogate.”  

“People think we’ve got Vice President Biden on the payroll,” joked Priebus. “The more he talks, the better off we are. … My message to the vice president is: ‘Any pass you need, wherever it is that you need to make your stay worthwhile here, we’ll help you out.’”

President Obama’s campaign had scheduled for Biden to host events in Tampa on Monday and Tuesday as part of an effort to counter the media attention for Romney as he accepted his party’s nomination next week. But Team Obama cancelled those plans because of Tropical Storm Isaac, which forecasters say will gain hurricane strength this weekend and could threaten Florida during the GOP meet.

Biden, though, will still campaign elsewhere in the key swing state, with events planned Tuesday in Orlando and St. Augustine.

Priebus also said that the GOP would have a “presence in Charlotte” during the Democratic convention to similarly counter their message. “And the nice thing is whatever they can do, we can, we can return serve 10 times over,” he said.

He also said convention and Tampa city officials were prepared to handle any problems caused by Isaac.

Asked by Hunt if Republicans could “compress” the event to a three-day convention to escape bad weather, Priebus said they were “prepared for anything.”

“We can do whatever we need to do to make sure that, number one, people at safe, but also that we conduct the business of the convention, which is what we’re here to do,” he said. “We have the ability under the rules of the RNC to put forward contingency plans immediately.”