RI's GOP delegation is set to begin work at the convention

PROVIDENCE, RI – A hurricane-truncated Republican National Convention begins Monday in Tampa, Florida. Among the nearly 23-hundred delegates are 35 from Rhode Island. The delegation is housed quite a distance from the convention center.

Rhode Island's 19 delegates and 16 alternate delegates are housed at a Marriott Hotel 25 miles from the place where Mitt Romney will become the official Republican presidential nominee.

Rhode Island GOP chair Mark Zaccaria says the hotel assignments were made by the Republican Committee on Arrangements. "It's not anything Rhode Island did. We're in the same hotel with Virginia and right up the street is New York. All of the delegations are really quite far away with a couple of notable exceptions."

He supports a GOP platform that has zero tolerance for abortions. Zaccaria says he is fully supportive of a human rights amendment to the Constitution that would declare that life begins at conception. "I think that today you would argue that most people in America are pro life. So it's going to be a gradual process but the short answer to your question is yes, I think we should have zero tolerance toward abortion but that can only come about when the people who have to make the choice choose life."

However, Zaccaria is hoping the focus will remain on economic issues and not devolve into a discussion about Congressman Todd Akin's remarks about women having built-in defenses against impregnation from rape. "I hope that it is not just one more distraction from the gigantic crisis that is facing us and that is, of course, the economic cliff we're looking at in January.

Zaccaria was interviewed by phone from Tampa, Florida where the Republican National Convention is getting underway.

Of the 19 principle delegates from Rhode Island, 15 are committed to Mitt Romney; four to Ron Paul.

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