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GOP sees potential redemption in Gustav

Republican officials say their radically curtailed convention offers a big political opportunity for the party to redeem itself on the competence issue -- and for John McCain to step out of President Bush's shadow once and for all.

[snip]

"You don't wish for it, but it shows McCain dealing with a surprise -- a big event that has consequences on people," a convention planner said. "It's redemption for the Republican Party on the competence issue. The convention ends up being about John McCain showing the best way to serve a cause greater than yourself."

And yet McCain has already had a chance to show what he's made of in the face of the destruction of the Gulf Coast:

Keep in mind, Mccain voted against the Katrina Commission to hold the Bush Administration accountable for their disastrous non-handling of the previous hurricane. He voted against extending unemployment benefits to Katrina victims. He voted against Medicaid for Katrina victims. He voted against funding the Army Corps of Engineers. He sought and received the endorsement of Pastor John Hagee after Hagee said Katrina was God's punishment against New Orleans. And finally, McCain celebrated his birthday with his bff George Bush and a big cake the very minute that Katrina was destroying New Orleans. McCain has already been battle-tested in disaster response. And he lost.

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