The story

First lady Laura Bush appealed Monday to the nation to put aside partisan interests and donate generously to charities to help Gulf Coast residents affected by Hurricane Gustav.

Speaking on the first day of the scaled-back Republican National Convention, she told delegates that Americans "are here to do what we can to assist them."

"Our first priority is to assure the safety and well-being of those living in the Gulf Coast region," said Bush, whose husband, President Bush, was criticized for what many saw as a lackluster federal response to Hurricane Katrina three years ago. Read full article »

CNN's Scott Anderson and Alexander Mooney contributed to this report.

All About John McCainRepublican PartyHurricanes and CyclonesLaura Bush

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