President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney will skip the Republican National Convention because of mounting concerns about Hurricane Gustav, the White House said Sunday.
His Homeland Security chief warned that Gustav could prove more challenging than Katrina and the nation's disaster response coordinator worried about New Orlean's fragile levees.
In a telephone call to New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Bush said he was "checking in and getting ready to go through this again with him," spokeswoman Dana Perino said. Nagin told Bush the forecast did not look good, but that he was pleased so far with the coordination with the federal government.
Nagin told Bush that residents were heeding the evacuation notice, roads were full and the elderly were getting the message to leave, Perino said.
The White House was working on possible alternatives that would allow Bush to make a speech at the convention, Perino said. But Cheney is to leave Tuesday on a four-country trip that includes a stop in Georgia.