TAMPA, Fla. -- With the first day of the Republican National Convention canceled, much talk has centered on the man who had the idea to locate the event in Florida at the height of hurricane season.
Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele has endured his share of criticism for the time he spent running the party. Massive gains during the 2010 elections were complicated by off-script moments and complaints about poor budgeting. As Tropical Storm Isaac descends, forcing organizers to cancel the first day of the convention, the critics are out again, wondering why anyone would have considered planning such an important event during such a volatile weather season.
"First off, there is nothing to defend," Steele said, in an email response to The Huffington Post. "This was a good selection. The site selection committee and the 168 members of the RNC unanimously voted to come to Tampa. During the site selection process weather concerns were discussed in great detail and contingency plans were outlined and weighed and Tampa still outperformed the other cities."
Tampa was chosen as the site of the RNC convention in May 2010 -- when Steele still headed the committee -- after having failed in its previous two bids to be the host city.
"This is a great host city and the fact that some have complained and pointed fingers is disappointing to say the least," Steele added. "Remember, Tampa was selected in August of 2010. I can't speak to what this RNC has or hasn't done since my term ended long before weather related plans were finalized. If folks are now saying we shouldn't have come here then they need to take that up with the current chairman since he too was very supportive of coming to Tampa and advised me accordingly at the time."
Reached by The Huffington Post, RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer agreed, saying Steele was right to insist that current chairman Reince Priebus was equally supportive of the Tampa idea.
"We are proud that we are here in Tampa and could not be more excited to be here," said Spicer. "The people of Tampa have been unbelievably gracious hosts, and we continue to be absolutely excited to have our convention here."
As for the actual hurricane delay?
"The second-guessers out there need to dry themselves off, take a chill pill and enjoy the hospitality of our hosts as we nominate the next President of the United States-Mitt Romney," wrote Steele.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article referred to Tropical Storm Isaac as a hurricane, a designation that it has not yet earned.
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