Hurricane forcing Dems to tamp down attacks

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – Democrats abruptly scrapped plans Sunday to showcase their aggressive-response operation to the Republican National Convention, in the first sign that partisanship may be tamped down because of the looming hurricane in the Gulf Coast.

The Democratic National Committee planned to hold a reception Sunday afternoon of its “More of the Same” media center, located across the street from the Xcel Energy Center, the site of this week's Republican Convention.

But as Hurricane Gustav forces residents of New Orleans to evacuate, Democrats decided to scrap the reception just an hour before it was slated to begin. The event was supposed to feature Minnesota Democrats, including Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHouse committee requests hearing with postmaster general amid mail-in voting concerns Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Senators press Postal Service over complaints of slow delivery MORE and Rep. Betty McCollum, and fire an opening salvo to link GOP standard-bearer John McCainJohn Sidney McCainChuck Todd's 'MTP Daily' moves time slots, Nicolle Wallace expands to two hours Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  Asian American voters could make a difference in 2020 MORE with President Bush.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families in the region,” a DNC spokesman said.

Both sides are signaling that the beginning of the Republican Convention will take on a subdued tone, with concerns over how partisanship would appear as a region of the country suffers through a crisis. And Republicans are particularly trying to avoid similar fallout they suffered after the botched response to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005.

Bush and Vice President Cheney both will skip the convention because of the hurricane, the White House said Sunday.

Republican Convention organizers plan to announce other changes to the schedule Sunday afternoon.