Republican National Convention Day 4: September 4, 2008

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH: REPUBLICAN CONVENTION COVERAGE

The Republican Ticket John McCain and Sarah Palin after McCain accepted the Republican nomination. (CNN)

The Republican Ticket John McCain and Sarah Palin after McCain accepted the Republican nomination. (CNN)

2008 Republican National Convention and Reflections Photography

Day 4 Schedule

    THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2008The 2008 Republican National Convention today announced the full program of events for Thursday, Sept. 4. The evening’s program will feature John McCain’s speech accepting the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency. Among the other speakers participating in this evening’s program are Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.), former Gov. Tom Ridge (Penn.), U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Mrs. Cindy McCain. The speakers’ remarks will reflect the convention’s overall theme, “Country First,”and the theme for Thursday’s events, which is “peace.”
Damon Winter/The New York Times)

Senator John McCain accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday in St. Paul. (Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

    THURSDAY’S SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

    Gov. Jon Huntsman (Utah), Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.), U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.), U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin (Okla.), U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Joe Gibbs, Former Gov. Tom Ridge (Penn.), Mrs. Cindy McCain. Presidential Nominee John McCain.
    - GOP Convention 2008

John McCain waving to the audience at the GOP convention. (CNN)

John McCain waving to the audience at the GOP convention. (CNN)

Highlights:

  • PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer: Photos from the Final Day of the Republican Convention – PBS/Flickr
  • September 4, 2008: McCain preps for big TV speech at convention as workers rebuild stage … Obama strategist: Palin looks a lot like Washington politics she seeks to change … Biden says he’ll vigorously challenge Palin but refrain from personal attacks … Environmentalists say Palin’s record on wildlife as harsh as Alaska itself. – AP, 9-4-08
    McCain caps GOP convention vowing ‘change is coming’ to Washington … Obama says Republicans attack him to avoid talking about economy and housing problems … Palin keeps up criticism of Obama as she ventures out solo to campaign … Biden says he’ll vigorously challenge Palin but refrain from personal attacks. – AP, 9-4-08
Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Senator John McCain accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday in St. Paul. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Stats & In the News…

  • Galvanized Parties Head to Homestretch – WaPo, 9-5-08
  • Gallup Inc.’s tracking polls show that McCain’s support grew among white Republican women after Palin joined the ticket on Aug. 29. – Bloomberg, 9-4-08
  • Palin Pick May Narrow The Enthusiasm Gap – WaPo, 9-4-08
  • The Party in Power, Running as if It Weren’t – NYT, 9-5-08
  • To G.O.P., McCain Issues Call for Change – NYT, 9-5-08
  • McCain Casts GOP Ticket as Force for Reform – Fox News, 9-4-08
  • Protesters interrupt McCain speech – AP, 9-4-08
  • McCain to give acceptance speech on rebuilt stage – AP, 9-4-08
  • The campaign on the Talk Show Circuit- Fox News, 9-3-08
  • Sarah Palin electrified the Republican convention Wednesday, all the while reading off a faulty teleprompter and an outdated draft – Fox News, 9-4-08
  • Sarah Palin’s speech wins TV ratings battle in landslide – NY Daily News, 9-4-08
  • Poll gives Obama edge in two of three key states – CNN 9-3-08
McCain accepting the Republican nomination for president (CNN)

McCain accepting the Republican nomination for president (CNN)

Historians’ Comments

  • Richard Norton Smith, Michael Beschloss, Peniel Joseph on “Historians Examine McCain’s Message of ‘Change’”: panel of historians discuss the strengths and weaknesses of John McCain’s acceptance speech and the GOP message of “change” in Washington. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: I think so. You know, it’s interesting. Clearly, the Democrats have no monopoly on hope and change, because the biggest change that occurred this week is this party has hope. This is a party that came in to St. Paul, if not defeatist, then, quite frankly, highly skeptical of its own chances. This was a party that came here not terribly unified, not altogether thrilled about its nominee. All of that, I think, has been transformed in the course of the last three days. You could feel it last night during Governor Palin’s speech. You can feel it tonight. It’s interesting the pivot away from George Bush. Senator McCain spent more time tonight apologizing for the last eight years than he did boasting about the last eight years. And, finally, we’ve talked several times about whether this was too biographical, whether there was a lack of specifics, particularly on economic issues….My sense is the Republicans are very good at stagecraft. And I think the biography that we’ve heard all week long melded very nicely into the substance, if you will, of the speech. Sen. Obama is in for the fight of his life. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Absolutely. Three big things stand out to me about this week, Jim, first, God, guns, and country. Those are the resounding themes of this convention linked to biography and really linked to the pick of Sarah Palin. Second, Palin has successfully solidified McCain’s conservative base. And she really gave a speech last night that echoed Pat Buchanan’s 1992 culture wars speech, but she did it more elegantly. Finally, diversity, or lack thereof. This convention’s delegates are 93 percent white, 5 percent Hispanic, 2 percent black. This party has seemingly ceded the minority vote to Barack Obama and the Democrats, which may have real clear electoral implications. In 2004, George Bush got 14 percent of the black vote in Ohio and 56 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida, two key swing states that got him re-elected. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: Yes, it sure is. You know, it was a great speech, Jim, easily the greatest speech that John McCain ever gave. And you can see the difference between Tuesday night and tonight. This is a party with enormous intensity, especially after a very powerful speech by Sarah Palin last night. And the interesting thing is, about 10 days ago, John McCain by all accounts was intending to choose Joe Lieberman and go in a very different direction, which would have been to — you know, cause there to be a bridge to Democrats, try to go for independents, knowing that the group in this room probably would not have been as enthusiastic as they are tonight with the choice of Sarah Palin. The interesting thing is going to be whether he can augment this kind of intensity in the hall, in this party, in his base with the kind of independents in swing states he’s going to need to win the election….You know, when you look at these speeches, you know, the people who write them always looked at acceptance speeches of the past. And this one had references to other acceptance speeches by earlier nominees, but the ones that I found were all Democrats. Harry Truman, 1948, both he and McCain referred to a do-nothing Congress. John Kennedy, McCain talked tonight about getting this country moving again. And of all things, Al Gore in 2000, “I will fight for you.” I think one of the things that we would have expected perhaps least would be that John McCain would be quoting Al Gore. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Richard Norton-Smith and Peniel Joseph: Historians Explores Trends Within Both Parties as RNC Wraps Up Richard Norton-Smith and Peniel Joseph sat down with Ray Suarez as the Republican National Convention enters its last day. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith, Peniel Joseph: Making GOP History Analysts and historians offer perspective on the first Republican woman nominated to be vice president and the campaign road ahead. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph: “Historians See Goldwater, Reagan as Top GOP Acceptance Speeches” – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Richard Norton Smith: Norton Smith chose Barry Goldwater’s 1964 address in San Francisco, where he had the choice as the nominee to reach out to moderate Republicans angry with his policies. In the end, Goldwater “ran as himself.” “He denounced the pale pastels of the opposition. He basically read the liberals and moderate in his own party out of the party. It is a militant speech. It is a principled speech. It is courageous speech. It is a speech fundamentally at odds with the political climate of 1964,” Norton Smith said. – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Peniel Joseph: Joseph picked Ronald Reagan’s 1980 speech in Detroit in which he criticizes the previous four years of Democratic control. “He really says and argues that the Democratic Party is claiming that America’s best days are behind us,” Joseph said. “And Reagan says, I disagree, the best days are ahead of us. And we need to do this through tax cuts; we need to do it through economic stimulus, by letting big businesses explode. We need to have a strong defense. Reagan really succeeds in tapping into a notion of optimism.” – PBS Newshour, 9-4-08
  • Stephen Haycox on “Hawaii, Alaska embrace campaign connections”: Natives of both states hope that the campaign-driven media attention will help mainlanders understand them better. But so far it hasn’t helped, said Stephen Haycox, a history professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
    And Alaska? Haycox noted the names of Palin’s children in commenting: “I suppose the perception is that people here are a wee bit odd. . . . But with kids with names like Bristol, Willow and Piper, I think it’s going to confirm all the images about Alaska.” – Boston Globe, 9-4-08
  • Julian Zelizer on “Palin Pick Shows Lost Clout of Republicans’ Old Establishment”: McCain’s surprise selection of the 44-year-old Palin was clearly aimed at firing up the Republican Party’s core of social conservatives, said Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University. “In an election where everyone was talking about the return of moderates, this is a clear move to the right,” Zelizer said. “This is not a Joe Lieberman choice.” – Bloomberg, 9-4-08
  • Robert Rupp: Convention ’08: Live From St. Paul, It’s Convention Analysis – Chronicle for Higher Education, 9-4-08
  • Allan Lichtman on CTV Newsnet: Allan Lichtman, history professor at American University, says Sarah Palin didn’t completely outline her stance on key issues – CTV Newsnet, 9-3-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, this was a beat-up-on-Barack night, which is exactly what you expect from a keynoter. I thought Mayor Giuliani performed his role to the delight of everyone in the crowd. And it turned out he only warmed them up. There’s no doubt movements conservatives have themselves a new heroine, as of this evening. This will be a huge hit among Rush Limbaugh Republicans. It will be fascinating — I’d be interested to hear from Andy — it’d be fascinating to know if this plays as well among particularly independent voters out there who are watching this convention to find out not only what this party is against — and we heard a lot about that tonight — but what they’re for, particularly in the realm of the economy. And one final thing, I do wonder whether “drill, baby, drill” will take its place in the lexicon alongside “I like Ike.” – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, I think it happened, Richard. One note on political theater. You’ll note that, when John McCain came on stage — this is a first in history — a presidential candidate and a vice presidential candidate hugged in public. 1984, when Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro, they and their handlers decided that the American people couldn’t take the sight of these candidates hugging. So all through the campaign, they very carefully sort of held hands, held hands in the air, nothing more than that until after they lost. And Geraldine Ferraro said, “Can I finally hug you?” She did, indeed. I think the one thing as far as the speech — speech was fine, well-delivered, loved in the hall. But this is a woman that Americans know extremely little about, especially for a national nominee. And this speech didn’t tell us really very much beyond what we knew already, and that’s going to make it even more important in the future when she gives speeches that are more impromptu and when she submits to interrogations by reporters and average American citizens. – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, a really strong speech designed to appeal to white women voters. When we control for race and we think about the gender gap, in 2000, Al Gore received 48 percent of white female votes. In 2004, it was down to 44 percent. So, really, the overwhelming number of African-American women voters and Hispanic voters that provides Democrats with that edge. And this speech was designed to really appeal to those voters. She called herself a hockey mom. And that really translates to the Midwest when we think about suburban soccer moms….Well, she exceeded expectations. People really — building on what Michael said — didn’t know what to expect, a lot of rumors, a lot of controversy about the surprise pick. She exceeded expectations. She’s poised. She’s calm. She’s cool and collected. She looked ready for primetime tonight. – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • Gil Troy on the Republican National Convention: McGill University Professor of History, Gil Troy, weighs in on the Republican National Convention in the United States. – CTV Newsnet, 9-3-08

The Speeches….

John McCain accepting the Republican nomination. (CNN)

John McCain accepting the Republican nomination. (CNN)

Tonight, I have a privilege given few Americans: the privilege of accepting our party’s nomination for president of the United States…

Thank you. I — and I accept it with gratitude, humility, and confidence.

In my life, no success has come without a good fight, and this nomination wasn’t any different. That’s a tribute to the candidates who opposed me and their supporters. They’re leaders of great ability who love our country and wish to lead it to better days. Their support is an honor that I won’t forget.

I’m grateful to the president of the United States for leading us in these dark days following the worst attack in American history.

The worst attack on American soil in our history and keeping us safe from another attack that many — many thought was inevitable.

And to the first lady, Laura Bush, a model of grace and kindness in public and in private.

And I’m grateful to the 41st president and his bride of 63 years for their outstanding example…

… for their outstanding example of honorable service to our country. As always, I’m indebted to my wife, Cindy, and my seven children. You know, the pleasures of family life can seem like a brief holiday from the crowded calendar of our nation’s business. But I have treasured them all the more and can’t imagine a life without the happiness that you’ve given me.

You know, Cindy said a lot of nice things about me tonight. But, in truth, she’s more my inspiration than I am hers.

Her concern for those less blessed than we are — victims of land mines, children born in poverty, with birth defects — shows the measure of her humanity. And I know that she will make a great first lady.

My friends, when I was growing up, my father was often at sea, and the job of raising my brother, sister and me would fall to my mother alone. Roberta McCain gave us her love of life, her deep interest in the world, her strength, and her belief that we’re all meant to use our opportunities to make ourselves useful to our country. I wouldn’t be here tonight but for the strength of her character.

And she doesn’t want me to say this, but she’s 96 years young.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you who helped me win this nomination and stood by me when the odds were long. I won’t let you down….

And, finally, a word to Senator Obama and his supporters. We’ll go at it — we’ll go at it over the next two months — you know that’s the nature of this business — and there are big differences between us.

But you have my respect and my admiration.

Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, and that’s an association that means more to me than any other.

We’re dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our creator with inalienable rights. No country — no country ever had a greater cause than that. And I wouldn’t be an American worthy of the name if I didn’t honor Senator Obama and his supporters for their achievement.

But let there be no doubt, my friends: We’re going to win this election.

And after we’ve won, we’re going to reach out our hand to any willing patriot, make this government start working for you again, and get this country back on the road to prosperity and peace.

I know these are tough times for many of you. You’re worried about…

Please, please, please. My friends, my dear friends, please. Please don’t be diverted by the ground noise and the static.

You know, I’m going to talk about it some more. But Americans want us to stop yelling at each other, OK?…

And I’ve found just the right partner to help me shake up Washington, Governor Sarah…

Governor Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska.

And I want to thank everyone here and all over America for the tremendous, wonderful, warm reception you gave her last night. Thank you so much. She deserves it. What a great beginning….

I’m very proud to have introduced our next vice president to the country, but I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington.

And let me just offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second crowd: Change is coming.

John McCain accepting the Republican Partys nomination.  (CNN)

John McCain accepting the Republican Party's nomination. (CNN)

I’m not — I’m not in the habit of breaking my promises to my country, and neither is Governor Palin. And when we tell you we’re going to change Washington and stop leaving our country’s problems for some unluckier generation to fix, you can count on it.

We’ve got a record of doing just that, and the strength, experience, judgment, and backbone to keep our word to you.

You well know I’ve been called a maverick, someone who…

… someone who marches to the beat of his own drum. Sometimes it’s meant as a compliment; sometimes it’s not. What it really means is I understand who I work for. I don’t work for a party. I don’t work for a special interest. I don’t work for myself. I work for you….

I’ve fought the big spenders in both parties, who waste your money on things you neither need nor want, and the first big-spending pork-barrel earmark bill that comes across my desk, I will veto it. I will make them famous, and you will know their names. You will know their names….

I don’t mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I’ve had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way: In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test.

I fight for Americans. I fight for you….

I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us.

We lost — we lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption. We lost their trust when rather than reform government, both parties made it bigger. We lost their trust when instead of freeing ourselves from a dangerous dependence on foreign oil, both parties — and Senator Obama — passed another corporate welfare bill for oil companies. We lost their trust when we valued our power over our principles.

We’re going to change that.

We’re going to recover the people’s trust by standing up again to the values Americans admire. The party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan is going to get back to basics.

In this country, we believe everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential, from the boy whose descendents arrived on the Mayflower to the Latina daughter of migrant workers. We’re all God’s children, and we’re all Americans.

We believe — we believe in low taxes, spending discipline, and open markets. We believe in rewarding hard work and risk-takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor.

We believe — we believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life…

… personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don’t legislate from the bench.

We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods, and communities. We believe in a government that unleashes the creativity and initiative of Americans, government that doesn’t make your choices for you, but works to make sure you have more choices to make for yourself.

I will keep taxes low and cut them where I can. My opponent will raise them. I will open…

I will open new markets to our goods and services. My opponent will close them.

I will cut government spending. He will increase it.

My tax cuts will create jobs; his tax increases will eliminate them….

I know some of you have been left behind in the changing economy, and it often sees that your government hasn’t even noticed. Government assistance for the unemployed workers was designed for the economy of the 1950s. That’s going to change on my watch.

Now, my opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy. We’re going to help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back find a new one that won’t go away….

Education — education is the civil rights issue of this century.

Equal access to public education has been gained, but what is the value of access to a failing school? We need… We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice.

Let’s remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work.

When a public school fails to meet its obligations to students, parent — when it fails to meet its obligations to students, parents deserve a choice in the education of their children. And I intend to give it to them.

Some may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private one. Many will choose a charter school. But they will have the choice, and their children will have that opportunity.

Senator Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucrats. I want schools to answer to parents and students.

And when I’m president, they will.

My fellow Americans, when I’m president, we’re going to embark on the most ambitious national project in decades.

We’re going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much, and some of that money…

We’ll attack — we’ll attack the problem on every front. We’ll produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells off-shore, and we’ll drill them now. We’ll drill them now….

Senator Obama thinks we can achieve energy independence without more drilling and without more nuclear power. But Americans know better than that.

We must use all resources and develop all technologies necessary to rescue our economy from the damage caused by rising oil prices and restore the health of our planet.

My friends…… it’s an ambitious plan, but Americans are ambitious by nature, and we’ve faced greater challenges. It’s time for us to show the world again how Americans lead….

As president, I’ll work to establish good relations with Russia so that we need not fear a return to the Cold War. But we can’t turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people.

We face many dangerous threats in this dangerous world, but I’m not afraid of them. I’m prepared for them.

I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it shouldn’t do. I know how the world works. I know the good and the evil in it.

I know how to work with leaders who share our dreams of a freer, safer and more prosperous world, and how to stand up to those who don’t.

I know how to secure the peace….

In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home with me.

I hate war. It’s terrible beyond imagination.

I’m running for president to keep the country I love safe and prevent other families from risking their loved ones in war as my family has. I will draw on all my experience with the world and its leaders, and all the tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, and the power of our ideals — to build the foundations for a stable and enduring peace.

In America, we change things that need to be changed. Each generation makes its contribution to our greatness. The work that is ours to do is plainly before us; we don’t need to search for it.

We need to change the way government does almost everything: from the way we protect our security to the way we compete in the world economy; from the way we respond to disasters to the way we fuel our transportation network; from the way we train our workers to the way we educate our children.

All these functions of government were designed before the rise of the global economy, the information technology revolution, and the end of the Cold War. We have to catch up to history, and we have to change the way we do business in Washington….

Again and again — again and again, I’ve worked with members of both parties to fix problems that need to be fixed. That’s how I will govern as president. I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again.

My friends… … I have that record and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not.

Instead — instead of rejecting good ideas because we didn’t think of them first, let’s use the best ideas from both sides. Instead of fighting over who gets the credit, let’s try sharing it.

This amazing country can do anything we put our minds to. I’ll ask Democrats and Independents to serve with me. And my administration will set a new standard for transparency and accountability.

We’re going to finally start getting things done for the people who are counting on us, and I won’t care who gets the credit.

My friends, I’ve been an imperfect servant of my country for many years. But I’ve been her servant first, last, and always. And I’ve never…

I’ve never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I didn’t thank God for the privilege….

I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency, for its faith in the wisdom, justice, and goodness of its people.

I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again; I wasn’t my own man anymore; I was my country’s.

I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need.

My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.

My friends, if you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist…

Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an — an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed.

Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier, because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.

I’m going to fight for my cause every day as your president. I’m going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank him, that I’m an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on Earth. And with hard work — with hard word, strong faith, and a little courage, great things are always within our reach.

Fight with me. Fight with me.

Fight for what’s right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.

Fight for our children’s future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all.

Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each other, for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.

Stand up, stand up, stand up, and fight.

Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up.

We never quit.

We never hide from history. We make history.

Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America.

Cindy McCain addressing the Republican National Convention before her husband, Sen. John McCain accepts the partys nomination for President. (CNN)

Cindy McCain addressing the Republican National Convention before her husband, Sen. John McCain accepts the party's nomination for President. (CNN)

…John and I are so pleased and so happy to have them here with us tonight. Nothing has made me happier or more fulfilled in my life than being a mother.

But while John and I take great joy in having been able to spend time together this week as a family, our hearts go out to the thousands of families who have had to leave their homes, once again, due to devastating weather.

It’s not — it’s not our natural instinct to rally to them, to lift them up with our prayers, to come to their aid. It’s also our duty as a country.

That duty is what brings me before you tonight, and it’s a much larger, more important than John or me or any of us. It’s the work of this great country calling us together, and there’s no greater duty than that, no more essential task for our generation right now.

That’s been very much on my mind these last few months as I’ve traveled our country. Each day, after the bands packed up, and the speeches were done, and the camera lights darkened, I always came back to how blessed and honored I was to be a part of our national conversation.

And in these times, when so many of our fellow Americans face difficult situations, what I saw moved me deeply: Families worried about losing their homes. Towns deserted by industries once at their center. Mothers with no choice but to send their children to unsafe and underperforming schools.

But I have also seen the resilience of the American people. I’ve heard stirring stories of neighbor helping neighbor, cities on one end of the country offering help to fellow citizens on the other.

Despite our challenges, our hearts are still alive with hope and belief in the individual ability to make things right, if only the federal government would get itself under control and out of our way.

And so tonight is about renewing our commitment to one another, because this campaign is not about us. It’s about our special and exceptional country. And this convention celebrates a special and exceptional Republican Party. The hand we feel on our shoulder belongs to Abraham Lincoln. Our country was born …

Our country was — our country was born amidst the struggle for freedom, and our party arose from a great battle for human rights, dignity, and equality for all people.

We give way to no one and no other party in that cause.

From its very birth, our party has been grounded in the notion of service, community, self-reliance, and it’s all tempered by a uniquely American faith in and compassion for each other’s neighbors. A helping hand and friendly support has always been our way.

It’s no surprise that Americans are the most generous people in history.

That generosity of spirit is in our national DNA. It’s our way of doing things. It’s how we view the world.

I was taught that Americans can look at the world and ask either what do other countries think of us or we can look at ourselves and ask, what would our forefathers make of us and what will our children say of us?

That’s a big challenge. In living up to it, we know the security and the prosperity of our nation is about a lot more than politics. It also depends on a personal commitment, a sense of history, and a clear view of the future. I know of no one who better defines how to do that, whose life is a better example of how to go about that than the man I love, whom I’ve shared almost 30 years of my life, my husband, John McCain.

From the beginning of time, no matter how accomplished in other fields, women have always sought a husband with an eye to what kind of father that man would be. Well, I hit a home run with John McCain. I got…

I got the most marvelous husband, and friend, and confidant, a source of strength and inspiration, and also the best father you could ever imagine.

In that most sacred role, he brought to our children his great personal character, his life-long example of honesty, and his steadfast devotion to honor. He has shown the value of self-sacrifice by daily example and, above all, John showers us with unconditional love and support every family dreams of.

I know what his children say of him. And his courageous service to America in war and peace leaves no doubt what our forefathers would make of him.

It’s these virtues of character that led him to this campaign, to this moment. John McCain is a steadfast man who will not break with our heritage, no matter how demanding or dangerous the challenges at home or abroad….

I know John. You can trust his hand at the wheel.

But you know something? What I’ve always thought, it’s a good idea to have a woman’s hand on the wheel, as well.

So how about that Gov. Sarah Palin?

John has picked — John has picked a reform-minded, hockey- momming, basketball-shooting, moose-hunting, salmon-fishing, pistol- packing mother of five for vice president.

And as a fellow hockey mom myself and a Western conservative mother, I couldn’t be prouder that John has shaken things up, as he usually does.

No one can get the job done alone. And that’s why I’m glad John will have Governor Palin by his side. We all to have work together, build consensus, the way John has done all of his life.

His leadership inspires, and empowers, and places ultimate success in all of our hands. Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, “With freedom goes responsibility, a responsibility that can only be met by the individual himself.”…

I think John was a hero in Vietnam.

But you know something? John just thinks it was his turn.

Our son, Jack, will graduate from the United States Naval Academy next year, fourth generation, ready to do his service.

And our son, Jimmy, a lance corporal in the Marine Corps, served honorably in Iraq.

Jimmy served honorably in Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of other young men and women just like him are doing for America and freedom everywhere.

The stakes were never more clear to me than the morning I watched my son, Jimmy, strap on his weapons and board a bus headed for harm’s way. I was born and raised in the American West, and I will always see the world through the prism of its values.

My father was a true Western gentleman. He rose from hardscrabble roots to realize the American dream. With only a few borrowed dollars in his pocket, and a strong back and a can-do spirit, he built a great life for his family.

His handshake was his solemn oath. He looked you straight in the eye and always believed the best of you, unless you gave him good cause not to.

Modest and good-natured, he had deep roots in our American soil. He taught me life is not just about you; it’s also about nurturing the next generation, preparing a better world for all of our children and helping them find the right way up.

Damon Winter/The New York Times)

Cindy McCain with her children at the convention. (Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

We all come to that knowledge in different ways. For me, the great moment of clarity was when I became a mother. Something changed in me. I would never see my obligations the same way again.

It was after that I was walking through the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh, surrounded by terrible poverty and the devastation of a cyclone. All around me were the children and the desperate faces of their mothers. The pain was overwhelming, and I felt helpless.

But then I visited an orphanage begun by Mother Teresa, and two very sick little girls captured my heart. There was something I could do. I could take them home, and so I did.

Today, both of those little girls are healthy and happy. And one of them you just met tonight: our beautiful daughter, Bridget.

Much is expected of a country as blessed as America, and our people are at work all over the globe making it a better planet, doing their part. It was my privilege to work with the men and women of the American Voluntary Medical Teams in places like Zaire, Micronesia, Vietnam, watching as they relieved whole towns from disease and rescued countless children from sickness.

The reward for sharing in that work is truly indescribable. To see a child rescued from a life in the shadows by Operation Smile is to witness and share a joy that is life-changing.

And the challenges go on. I just returned from the Republic of Georgia, where HALO Trust, an organizing — an organization specializing in the clearing of the debris of war, are rescuing innocent victims from landmines and missiles.

Sometimes the courage of others leaves me breathless. I only need to speak the word “Rwanda,” and the images it conjures up are beyond description.

In my box tonight is Ernestine, a woman, a friend, a mother like myself, whom I met in Kigali. She suffered unimaginable horrors and was made to watch appalling havoc wreaked by her family.

Yet, as the violence in her country subsides, she doesn’t seek retribution. Instead, she offers love and seeks reconciliation for her people. She says simply, “It’s time to move on for me and my country.”…

Ernestine, your courage is humbling. Your forgiveness is healing. You are my hero.

Forgiveness is not just a personal issue. It’s why John led the efforts to normalize relations with Vietnam, to retrieve the remains of our MIAs, to bring closure to both sides. That’s leadership, national leadership. And it’s leading by example.

The presidential contest will begin in earnest when this convention closes. If Americans want straight talk and plain truth, they should take a good close look at John McCain.

A man tested and true, who never wavered in his devotion to our country, a man who served in Washington without ever becoming a Washington insider, and who always speaks the truth, no matter what the cost, a man of judgment and character, a loyal and loving and true husband, and a magnificent father.

This is a good man, a worthy man. I know. I have loved him with all my heart for almost 30 years, and I humbly recommend him to you tonight for nominee for the next president of the United States.

I am so grateful — I am so grateful to have had the chance to speak with you tonight and for the honor that you are about to grant my husband and, indeed, our entire family.

I promise you, I will work every day to help John strengthen our freedom and to serve this great country with the honor and dignity and the love it deserves from each and every generation it blesses. advertisement

May God bless all of you in America, the citizens of the Gulf Coast, and all the sons and daughters serving this great country around the world tonight.

Thank you.

How do we measure the content of a person’s character? How do we recognize their fitness to serve?

Barack Obama gives a good speech.

But the best sermons aren’t preached, they’re lived.

John McCain’s whole life is a testimony to service, duty, courage and common sense. John McCain has walked the walk, and he has always put our country first!

When he showed guts and courage as a Prisoner of War, John McCain put our country first!

When he stood up to special interests, and fought against earmarks and pork-barrel spending in Congress, John McCain put our country first!

When he saw the need to change strategy in Iraq and boldly called for the surge, John McCain put our country first!

When he responded to our energy crisis with an all-of-the-above energy plan, John McCain put our country first!

And when John McCain is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, we know he will always put our country first!

We’ve seen in this man the very best our country has to offer….

We live in a dangerous world.

With John McCain as President, there will be no misunderstanding about where America stands and what we stand for.

John McCain is tough — but he’s also compassionate. I’ve gotten to know John, and I can tell you he is a Purple Heart recipient with a heart of gold.

He understands the concerns of everyday Americans like you and me.

What I like to call “Sam’s Club Republicans.”

These voters are on a tight budget.

They’re looking for value and accountability at the store. And they’re looking for value and accountability from their government.

John McCain connects with Sam’s Club voters.

He gets it.

He will force government to live within its means, just like families do.

He knows that small businesses are the job growth engine for our country.

He knows the last thing they need is MORE taxes.

John also understands that health care costs are budget busters for too many American families.

He’ll provide help but will put consumers and their doctors in charge, not the federal government.

John also knows it’s getting tougher for us to afford to fill-up at the pump.

His energy plan is classic McCain – bold and aggressive.

In this time, we don’t need a president who can just read a poll or momentarily thrill a crowd.

We don’t need rhetoric or empty promises.

We need a president who has the integrity and courage to make the tough choices so America will be stronger and safer.

I believe the times call out great leaders.

This time, our time, calls out for John McCain.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says Barack Obama doesnt get it.  (CNN)

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says Barack Obama "doesn't get it." (CNN)

  • Lindsey Graham speaking at the Republican National ConventionBy every measure, the surge of the troops into Iraq has worked.

    It has worked. Sectarian violence and coalition casualties are at record lows. Fifteen of the 18 political benchmarks have been met by the Iraqi government.

    The Iraqis have a larger, more capable army. Oil production is dramatically increasing. This week, Anbar province, once an Al Qaeda stronghold, was turned over to the Iraqis.

    American combat brigades, who made up the surge, have returned home in victory.

    Now, we know the surge has worked. Our men and women in uniform know it has worked. And I promise you, above all others, Al Qaeda knows it has worked.

    The only people who deny it are Barack Obama and his buddies at MoveOn.org.

    Why won’t they admit it? Because Barack Obama’s campaign is built around us losing in Iraq. Without John McCain’s courageous leadership, there would never have been a surge.

    I know. I was there with John McCain and Joe Lieberman every step of the way.

    In our visits to Iraq — ladies and gentlemen, in our visits to Iraq, we saw the situation deteriorate. The troops we met, the sergeants, the captains, and the colonels had such respect and admiration for Sen. McCain, they felt comfortable giving him something he knows a lot about: straight talk.

    They said, “Sen. McCain, this ain’t working.” John heard their message and put their interests ahead of his own. He came back to Washington and told everyone, including Republicans, “We must change course.”

    For his honesty, some accused John of being disloyal, but John McCain’s loyalties, ladies and gentlemen, have always been to his country and to our men and women in uniform, not a political party.

    Calling for more troops to be sent to Iraq was one of the most unpopular things John McCain could have done. Some said it was political suicide. But you know what? It was the right thing to do… because losing in Iraq would have been a nightmare for America. Al Qaeda would have claimed victory over our nation. Sectarian violence would spread throughout the region, and Iran would fill the vacuum.

    Last summer, we came within two votes — two votes — of a congressionally mandated surrender. One Democrat, one Democrat broke with his party to support the surge. Ladies and gentlemen, thank God for Joe Lieberman.

    It was John McCain’s voice and credibility that stopped the Democratic Congress from losing this war.

    Gen. Petraeus’ plan will be a model for generations to come, and our troops will be heroes for the ages. Those who predicted failure, voted to cut off funding for our troops, and played politics with our national security will be footnotes in history.

    Let there be no — let there be no doubt about it. We are on the road to victory.

    Victory! You can say it at this convention. We are winning!

    And you know what? America is safer because we’re winning in Iraq. A Muslim nation in the heart of the Arab world that rejected Al Qaeda, a nation where the rule of law replaces the rule of gun, a place in the Mideast where a woman can finally have a say about her children’s future.

    While Barack Obama expresses appreciation for our troops’ service, he refuses to acknowledge their success. They have worked too hard, they have sacrificed too much for a patronizing pat on the back.

    Barack Obama went 2½ years between visits to Iraq and never once sat down with Gen. Petraeus. If Barack Obama cannot appreciate that our troops are winning in Iraq, he should not be their commander in chief.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Barack Obama doesn’t care. I’m just saying he doesn’t get it.

    Not once — not once was Barack Obama’s eloquent voice ever raised in support of victory in Iraq. Not once was it used to rally our troops in battle. Instead, he inspired those who supported retreat and would have accepted our defeat.

    We should all be grateful, ladies and gentlemen, that Barack Obama was unable to defeat the surge.

    The surge was a test for Barack Obama. He failed miserably.

    Our troops deserve a commander in chief who acknowledges their success, has walked in their shoes, speaks their language, shares in their suffering, and will lead them to victory in a war we cannot afford to lose.

    That person is my dear friend, John McCain.

    John often says he would rather lose a campaign than lose a war. Here’s the good news: We’re going to win this war and John McCain will be our next president of the United States.

    But wait. But wait. It gets even better, because John McCain has one of the toughest and most talented political reformers in America as his running mate….

    God bless America.

Former PA Governor Tom Ridge addressing the Republican National Convention. (CNN)

Former PA Governor Tom Ridge addressing the Republican National Convention. (CNN)

I speak to you with a grateful heart and enormous pride.

I speak to you as one friend about another.

About a proven leader, a world statesman, an untiring and effective public servant. I speak to you about a warrior who has sometimes stood alone or shown the way in fighting for the most vulnerable of our citizens for the country he so dearly loves and for the founding principles we all so deeply cherish.

I speak to you about a friend who was first pointed out to me in the same way he is proudly pointed out wherever he goes today — “That’s John McCain.”

John and I have been friends for 26 years.

Both of us got elected to Congress in 1982, and both of us are Vietnam veterans.

Some might say that is our common bond. For certainly the Vietnam experience is a uniting one. But I would also say that our friendship blossomed over many a laugh as we told jokes that only we thought were funny….

It was only a little more than a year ago, in August of 2007, that I drove to John’s office to offer an encouraging word.

You all remember that time.

It was really rough going for the campaign. Some were ready to count John out.

Some questioned his resolve.

Some wondered and waited for the white flag of surrender.

Having rehearsed my pep talk, I walked into John’s office, put my arm around him and asked, “Hey, how are you doing?”

He paused for a moment.

From his shoulders came a quick shrug.

Then he looked at me and said, “Tom, you and I both know I’ve been through worse.”

We sat down, he spread some papers across a table and said, “NOW, let me tell you how I think we can win.”

He talked strategy, a way forward, next steps.

And later I would leave my friend’s office thinking what I share with you tonight: “That’s John McCain.”

Where some people see adversity, John McCain accepts a challenge.

Where some people see a crisis, John McCain creates an opportunity.

Where some people see defeat, John McCain pursues victory.

John knows the purpose of elections is not merely to win.

You run to win, but you win to govern.

So who of our two candidates is the most qualified to govern the freest, strongest, most blessed nation on earth?

Who but John McCain understands that America’s security and prosperity will — now and forevermore — be tied to the security and prosperity of the rest of the world?

Who but John McCain has the experience, the sheer will, the steady hand and the informed judgment to advance our economic and political interests during these perilous 21st century times? And who but John McCain — and only John McCain — can negotiate from a position of strength and proven ability because he’s already earned the trust, respect and admiration of our friends and allies around the world? And I suspect he has the attention of those who would oppose us.

Now more than ever we need a leader who fits the times — not a candidate who merely thinks it’s his time to lead.

For the consideration before us is not about who can take a 3 a.m. call.

It’s about who has answered the call throughout his life.

It’s not about building a record.

It’s about having one.

It’s not about talking pretty.

It’s about talking straight.

The challenge of our times is not simply to change.

The challenge of our time is to leave nothing to chance….

Today, we have a leader — some people call him a maverick — who, for his country, has put his life on the line.

Who, for his country, leads with his conscience.

Who, for his country, has worked to preserve, honor and protect the great land of the free.

That’s John McCain.

John dares to think differently, to act boldly and to put country before self.

He dares to believe that we are all called to serve as long as we call ourselves free.

He dares to embrace the founding principle that our responsibility to one another extends from a national crisis to an individual need — from nation to nation, community to community — in this, the greatest community ever formed.

So may we rise to the occasion, to the moment, to the vision of our Founding Fathers.

May we summon ourselves to our best efforts and call this maverick forward.

Let us elect a man who has firmly and unequivocally laid out his vision of where this country can go.

Who offers a better way, a better day and a greater say for all who call this great country home.

That’s John McCain.

Let us elect a public servant who refuses to think in terms of red versus blue, but only in terms of red, white and blue.

That’s John McCain.

An artful leader, a diplomat, a tenacious legislator.

Say it with me!

That’s John McCain!

Someone who speaks truth to power, truth to the American people, and rises above politics to get things done.

That’s John McCain.

A consensus builder, a reformer, the patriot who always puts his country first.

That’s John McCain!

A Reagan conservative, an optimist.

America’s go-to guy.

That’s John McCain!

That’s John McCain.

That’s John McCain.

I am so very proud to say, ‘That is my friend, John McCain.’

The next president of the United States.

The next commander in chief.

Ready to lead.

Ready to serve.

Ready to deliver.

God bless you, John.

God bless you all.

And may God continue to bless our brave troops who serve our country so well.

Thank you.

Senator John McCain accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday in St. Paul. (NYT)

Senator John McCain accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday in St. Paul. (NYT)

On the Campaign Trail….

  • Obama Appears on Fox on McCain’s Night – NYT, 9-4-08
  • Obama Brushes Back Convention Attacks when speaking to media at the Voith Siemens Hydro Power Plant in York, Penn., September 4, 2008:“I understand they don’t have much of an agenda to run on. But I think the American people deserve better than to get the same old vitriol and slash-and-burn politics that we’ve been seeing over the last couple of days. We are going to tell the American people exactly what I and Joe Biden and an Obama administration intend to do to make their lives better. And I hope at some point the Republicans decide to engage in that debate….

    They’re talking about the three years of work that I did right out of college, as if I’m making the leap from two or three years out of college into the presidency. I would argue that doing work in the community, to try to create jobs, to bring people together, to rejuvenate communities that have fallen on hard times, to set up job training programs in areas that have been hard hit when the steel plants closed, that that’s relevant only in understanding where I’m coming from. Who I believe in. Who I’m fighting for. And why I’m in this race. And the question I have for them is, why would that kind of work be ridiculous? Who are they fighting for? What are they advocating for? They think the lives of those folks who are struggling each and every day, that working with them to try to improve their lives, is somehow not relevant to the presidency? Maybe that’s the problem….

    If they want to work the refs they are free to do so. And I think the public can make their judgments about this. The notion that any questions about her work in Alaska is somehow not relevant to her potentially being vice president of the United States, doesn’t make too much sense to me. I think she’s got a compelling story. But I assume she wants to be treated the same way that guys want to be treated, which means that their records are under scrutiny. I’ve been through this for nineteen months. She’s been through it what, four days so far?…

    “John McCain’s running for president. I’m running against John McCain….That speech that she delivered was on behalf of John McCain. The central question in this campaign is, who’s got a better plan, a better agenda, to move this country forward and fundamentally change it from the economic and foreign policy failures that we’ve seen over the last eight year? I believe that the American people need change, they want change, and I’m in the best position to bring it….

    What did you guys expect? I anticipated this last Thursday in my acceptance speech. This is what they do. They don’t have an agenda to run on. They haven’t offered a single concrete idea so far in two nights. They spent the entire two nights attacking me and extolling John McCain’s biography, which is fine — they can use their convention time any way they want. But you can’t expect that I’d be surprised by attacks from Republicans. And by the way, I’ve been called worse on the basketball court.”

  • Biden vows to challenge PalinUSA Today, 9-4-08
  • Palin criticizes Obama again in solo appearance with Republican Governors: “We don’t have a ‘present’ button as governor – we are expected to lead, we are expected to take action and not just vote ‘present. So there’s a big difference, of course, between the executive and legislative branches and our experience…. a big job cut out in front of me running for vice president. I intend to give this campaign all that I have to give. And I look forward to these 60-plus days on the trail. My family looks forward to this, we’re up for it, we’re excited about it.”
  • Sarah Palin telling reporters she is looking forward to McCain’s acceptance speech: “We are all very excited about tonight. The people of this country will once again see tonight the conviction and the character that make him a great man, an honorable man and will make him a great president.”
Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

The Audience at the Republican National Convention (Photo: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Republican National Convention Day 3: September 3, 2008

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH: REPUBLICAN CONVENTION COVERAGE

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

The Palin family and Senator John McCain on stage at the Republican National Convention. (Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

Day 3 Schedule

John McCain greeted by Sarah Palin as he arrived for the GOP Convention. (WaPo)

John McCain greeted by Sarah Palin as he arrived for the GOP Convention. (WaPo)

    WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2008

    The 2008 Republican National Convention today announced the full program of events for Wednesday, Sept. 3. The evening’s program will feature remarks by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican Party’s nominee for vice president. Among the other speakers participating in this evening’s program are former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The speakers remarks will reflect the convention’s overall theme, “Country First,” and the theme for Wednesday’s events, which is “reform.”

    TONIGHT’S SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

    U.S. Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Speaker: U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.), Meg Whitman, former President and CEO of EBay, Carly Fiorina, former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, GOPAC Chairman Michael Steel, Speaker: Former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.), Speaker: Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.), Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (N.Y.), Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin – GOP Convention 2008

Sarah Palin accepting the Republican Partys nomination for Vice President (CNN)

Sarah Palin accepting the Republican Party's nomination for Vice President (CNN)

Highlights:

  • September 3, 2008: Palin takes slap at Obama, casts herself as Washington outsider in convention speech … McCain shares hugs with Palin family upon his arrival in Twin Cities … GOP also-rans speak at national convention …. Obama claims McCain trying to run from Republican Party’s bad economic record … Democratic ‘war room’ finds its stride after tentative start. AP, 9-3-08 …Palin prepares to speak to delegates, other Americans amid political and personal revelations … Giuliani says Sarah Palin is ready to handle Sept. 11 crisis … Late-night TV hosts tread lightly with Palin pregnancy; use it to go after John Edwards. – AP, 9-3-08

Stats & In the News…

  • Poll gives Obama edge in two of three key states – CNN 9-3-08
  • September 3, 2008: Gallop Poll: Democrat Barack Obama has a 6-percentage-point lead over Republican John McCain — he has 49 percent to McCain’s 43 percent — among registered voters in the presidential race. – AP, 9-3-08
  • UPDATE 2-FACTBOX-Quotes from the U.S. Republican convention – Reuters, 9-3-08
  • Palin Defies Critics and Electrifies Party – NYT, 9-4-08
  • Palin touts small-town roots, rips Obama – Reuters, 9-4-08
  • Palin Introduces Herself and Takes On Obama in Convention Speech With her address to the GOP faithful she has become the unexpected star of the Republican Party – US News, 9-3-08
  • Sarah Palin Owns the Hall, But What About the Country? – The Nation, 9-3-08
  • Palin mocks Obama; McCain claims nomination – AP, 9-3-08
  • Palin casts herself as Washington outsider – AP, 9-3-08
  • McCain takes spotlight – with Palin family – AP, 9-3-08
The Republican Ticket, John McCain and Sarah Palin (CNN)

The Republican Ticket, John McCain and Sarah Palin (CNN)

Historians’ Comments

  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, this was a beat-up-on-Barack night, which is exactly what you expect from a keynoter. I thought Mayor Giuliani performed his role to the delight of everyone in the crowd. And it turned out he only warmed them up. There’s no doubt movements conservatives have themselves a new heroine, as of this evening. This will be a huge hit among Rush Limbaugh Republicans. It will be fascinating — I’d be interested to hear from Andy — it’d be fascinating to know if this plays as well among particularly independent voters out there who are watching this convention to find out not only what this party is against — and we heard a lot about that tonight — but what they’re for, particularly in the realm of the economy. And one final thing, I do wonder whether “drill, baby, drill” will take its place in the lexicon alongside “I like Ike.” – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, I think it happened, Richard. One note on political theater. You’ll note that, when John McCain came on stage — this is a first in history — a presidential candidate and a vice presidential candidate hugged in public. 1984, when Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro, they and their handlers decided that the American people couldn’t take the sight of these candidates hugging. So all through the campaign, they very carefully sort of held hands, held hands in the air, nothing more than that until after they lost. And Geraldine Ferraro said, “Can I finally hug you?” She did, indeed. I think the one thing as far as the speech — speech was fine, well-delivered, loved in the hall. But this is a woman that Americans know extremely little about, especially for a national nominee. And this speech didn’t tell us really very much beyond what we knew already, and that’s going to make it even more important in the future when she gives speeches that are more impromptu and when she submits to interrogations by reporters and average American citizens. – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, a really strong speech designed to appeal to white women voters. When we control for race and we think about the gender gap, in 2000, Al Gore received 48 percent of white female votes. In 2004, it was down to 44 percent. So, really, the overwhelming number of African-American women voters and Hispanic voters that provides Democrats with that edge. And this speech was designed to really appeal to those voters. She called herself a hockey mom. And that really translates to the Midwest when we think about suburban soccer moms….Well, she exceeded expectations. People really — building on what Michael said — didn’t know what to expect, a lot of rumors, a lot of controversy about the surprise pick. She exceeded expectations. She’s poised. She’s calm. She’s cool and collected. She looked ready for primetime tonight. – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • Gil Troy “Palin: The Kindest, Gentlest Cultural Warrior Since Reagan”: …Palin drew a line between those who serve in the army – and those who don’t, between those who live in the bicoastal bubble – and those who live in what she made clear was the real America. To appreciate her performance at its best, remember the angry harsh attacks Marilyn Quayle and Pat Buchanan launched in 1992. Palin was equally sharp but far less shrill. Lines about a candidate who has authored two memoirs about his life but authored no major law, about a small town mayor being like a community organizer – but with responsibility were zingers aimed directly at Barack Obama, delivered with a smile. In her ability to plunge the stiletto so deftly, and so delightfully, Sarah Palin channeled the great hero of depressed Republicans, Ronald Reagan…. – HNN, 9-3-08
  • Alan Brinkley: “Does McCain Need Independent and Moderate Voters?”: I guess the Democrats can’t count on Sarah Palin to torpedo McCain’s candidacy. If there is a danger, it is that her speech will overshadow his. After the really dreary and depressing session of yesterday, tonight was very successful, with two good speeches–the other by Giuliani. And I think they made the case that the Republican faithful wanted to hear, and they beat up on Obama in ways that will resonate with the GOP.
    But what I think this convention is really trying to do is to change the subject. Most Americans, it’s clear, think this election is about the economy. In all the many speeches of this week in St. Paul, virtually none of them have had much to say about the really serious economic problems that are affecting the very Americans that the GOP has tried to enlist–middle class and lower middle class families. Instead, they are falling back on old favorites–the mess in Washington (and who has made that over the last eight years?), the political establishment (likewise), and of course the reliable whipping boy–the liberal media. This convention did not, I think, set up McCain to reach out to the independents and moderates he will need to get elected. Instead, he seems on course to try to turn out the right-wing evangelical vote in the way Bush did in 2004. But he will have a much harder time bringing out the vast number of evangelicals that Bush attracted. It will be very interesting tomorrow night to see whether McCain’s speech veers away at all from the reliably conservative message of the first few days of the convention and returns to the more centrist image he was trying to project over the summer. – The New Republic, 9-3-08
  • Richard Norton Smith, Michael Beschloss: For McCain, 6 keys to victory in November – USA Today, 9-4-08
  • John Baick on “‘Small-town’ Palin stands tall”: “Far more attention is being paid to the vice presidential nominee than to McCain,” said John Baick, associate professor of history at Western New England College in Springfield, Mass. To appeal to independent voters, but still keep conservatives happy, McCain likely will use “key words” that resonate with both groups in different ways, Baick said. “Like ‘character,’ ” Baick said. “When they hear ‘character’ from her, that means someone who will support pro-life causes and creationism. When he says ‘character,’ that means he will take the fight to the enemy and never stop. They’ll use some of the same talking points.” – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9-3-08
  • Stephen Haycox on “The Unusual Challenges of Governing Alaska”: “Alaska really is a colonial place,” said Stephen Haycox, a professor of history at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. “One third of the economic base is oil; another third is federal spending. The economy is extremely narrow and highly dependent. It’s not to say that Alaska is a beggar state, but it certainly is true that Alaska is dependent on decisions made outside it, and over which Alaskans don’t have great control.” – NYT, 9-4-08
  • Peniel Joseph, Richard Norton Smith: Forty Years Later, Nixon Convention Speech Remains Watershed Event – PBS Newshour, 9-3-08
  • Richard Norton Smith on “Forty Years Later, Nixon Convention Speech Remains Watershed Event”: For Norton Smith, the speech outlines a bold new foreign policy of engagement and a noticeably conservative domestic agenda.
    “He wanted to bring about a political realignment, a post-New Deal, broadly conservative party,” Norton Smith told the Online NewsHour. “Nixon appeals to old blue-collar workers, social conservatives who had been part of the New Deal coalition and people who are open to changing their votes, if not necessarily their party registration because they’re not necessary happy with the social upheavals going on around them.” – PBS Newshour, 9-3-08
  • Peniel Joseph on “Forty Years Later, Nixon Convention Speech Remains Watershed Event”: Joseph, on the other hand, sees the Nixon speech as a successful effort to rally the “silent majority” around conservative values through carefully chosen, but still loaded, “code words.”
    “What Nixon’s doing, he’s really providing language, and eloquent articulation of the way in which suburban whites are feeling as early as the early 1960s… Nixon is trying to appeal to suburban warriors who feel that blacks are encroaching in on their dream.” – PBS Newshour, 9-3-08
  • Beverly Gage on “Sarah Palin” Interview with NPR’s On the Point with Tom Ashbrook – NPR, 9-3-08
  • Julian Zelizer: Palin McCain’s Dan Quayle?: …In the past few days, Democrats have been focusing on one aspect of the 1988 campaign—Quayle’s many problems — while forgetting the overall story: Bush and Quayle won.
    Democrats could certainly point to the weaknesses and dangers in the Palin selection, but they should be cautious. If they allow Palin to distract them from their main target — McCain and his support for the unpopular economic and military policies of President George W. Bush — they might just find themselves like Dukakis and Bensten in 1988, on the losing end. – Washington Independent, 9-3-08
  • Steve Russell on “Republican convention off to slow start”: For Northern Essex Community College assistant professor of history Steve Russell, the choice was a risk at best. “I think McCain is doing pretty well considering Bush is not popular. He conveys he knows what he is doing and can take the reins,” Russell said. “But I think Palin is an incredibe risk. I don’t see how it could possibly help him.” – Newbury Port News, 9-3-08
  • Historians Offer Insight on RNC’s Day Two: historians Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph examine the strengths of the night’s speeches and the rally for the GOP party in St. Paul. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it’s interesting. I think Judy’s right. This crowd goes out tonight feeling probably a lot better than they did even coming in this evening. I was struck by the extent to which this night was about John McCain’s personal story. And as we all know, it is a very powerful story. But it’s interesting. Here we are, two months before the campaign, and you have — before the election, and you have the feeling this is still a candidacy driven very much by biography. And I suspect what a lot of people are eager to hear over the next two nights is a lot more about what a McCain presidency would actually mean, whether it’s the economy, or health care, or a host of other issues. One other thing I would just add as an asterisk, knowing some Republicans and having been around Republicans, I don’t think you can overestimate the emotional surge in this hall that arises from the sense as a result of the Sarah Palin feeding frenzy that the “media,” quote, unquote, is out to get them. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Certainly. I think that tonight, it was an extraordinary night. I think Joe Lieberman’s speech quoting George Washington, who was against parties, at least partisanship, and calling for a bipartisan participation in this next election, Democrats, independents to vote for McCain, really building on what Richard said, based on biography rather than specific public policy proposals. And I think the controversy over the Palin choice is energizing their base. And they really feel they’re trying to rally around Palin in a way that — when we think of 1972, George McGovern didn’t, and when we think of 1988, George Bush, in fact, did. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: Maybe not a lot. And as a matter of fact, you know, you were talking a moment ago, Jim, about going after the media, which never hurts to do for a speaker at any convention, maybe particularly a Republican one. And, in 1964, probably the most powerful applause line at that convention, the Republicans in San Francisco, aside from the one given by — the speech given by Barry Goldwater, Dwight Eisenhower, of all people, who people thought of as rather mild-mannered, said, “Let us particularly scorn the sensation-seeking columnists because, my friends, I can assure you these are people who couldn’t care less about the good of our party.” And there was almost an animal roar. One lady started screaming, “Down with Walter Lippman!” It really brought down the house. The other thing you were saying, Jim, about, you know, reaching across the aisle. You know, Joe Lieberman’s speech tonight, I think it probably can be fairly said, if he had been nominated for vice president this week, we probably would have heard maybe three-quarters of the words that we heard tonight. That was probably large chunks of an acceptance speech that he never got to give. The reason he never got to give it, we are told, is that John McCain wanted to choose him, but his party said you can’t reach across the aisle, you can’t nominate a Democrat who has very differing views from many of us and from John McCain. And so there was a great irony that here he is saying, “Let’s all reach across the aisle,” to a group that essentially prevented John McCain from choosing a Democrat, Lieberman, as vice president. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • Kenya Davis-Hayes on “Black political observers look to November”: “I thought the speech was charismatic and well-crafted,” said Kenya Davis-Hayes, a 28-year-old assistant professor of history at California Baptist University who is also executive treasurer of the state’s Young Republican Federation. She watched the speech on tape the weekend after it was delivered, and acknowledged that Obama’s message appeals to a large portion of the electorate that is “stressed out and clinging to the hope that things are going to get better” in these troubled times of war and recession. “His speech covered huge ground,” she added. “If he does win the next election, people will be expecting a radical shift in energy policy and job opportunities. Even with two terms, which isn’t such a long time, that would be a huge expectation to fulfill.” – LA Wave, 9-4-08

    Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska spoke at the convention in St. Paul on Wednesday.  (NYT)

    Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska spoke at the convention in St. Paul on Wednesday. (NYT)

The Speeches….

Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Gov. Sarah Palin gave her first prime-time national speech Wednesday. (Photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens, I will be honored to accept your nomination for vice president of the United States.

I accept the call to help our nominee for president to serve and defend America. And I accept the challenge of a tough fight in this election against confident opponents at a crucial hour for our country.

And I accept the privilege of serving with a man who has come through much harder missions, and met far graver challenges, and knows how tough fights are won, the next president of the United States, John S. McCain.

It was just a year ago when all the experts in Washington counted out our nominee because he refused to hedge his commitment to the security of the country he loves.

With their usual certitude, they told us that all was lost, there was no hope for this candidate, who said that he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war. But the pollsters…

The pollsters and the pundits, they overlooked just one thing when they wrote him off. They overlooked the caliber of the man himself, the determination, and resolve, and the sheer guts of Senator John McCain.

The voters knew better, and maybe that’s because they realized there’s a time for politics and a time for leadership, a time to campaign and a time to put our country first.

Our nominee for president is a true profile in courage, and people like that are hard to come by. He’s a man who wore the uniform of his country for 22 years and refused to break faith with those troops in Iraq who now have brought victory within sight.

And as the mother of one of those troops, that is exactly the kind of man I want as commander-in-chief….

You know, from the inside, no family ever seems typical, and that’s how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other, the same challenges and the same joys.

Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge. And children with special needs inspire a very, very special love. To the families of special-needs…

To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message for you: For years, you’ve sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. And I pledge to you that, if we’re elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House….

My mom and dad both worked at the elementary school in our small town. And among the many things I owe them is a simple lesson that I’ve learned, that this is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity.

And my parents are here tonight….

Long ago, a young farmer and a haberdasher from Missouri, he followed an unlikely path — he followed an unlikely path to the vice presidency. And a writer observed, “We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity,” and I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind when he praised Harry Truman.

I grew up with those people. They’re the ones who do some of the hardest work in America, who grow our food, and run our factories, and fight our wars. They love their country in good times and bad, and they’re always proud of America.

I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom and signed up for the PTA.

I love those hockey moms. You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick….

Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska…

… I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involved.

I guess — I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.

I might add that, in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they’re listening and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening.

No, we tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaks during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaks during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

As for my running mate, you can be certain that wherever he goes and whoever is listening John McCain is the same man.

Well, I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And…

… I’ve learned quickly these last few days that, if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.

But — now, here’s a little newsflash. Here’s a little newsflash for those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this great country….

No one expects us all to agree on everything, but we are expected to govern with integrity, and goodwill, and clear convictions, and a servant’s heart.

And I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States.

This was the spirit that brought me to the governor’s office when I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau, when I stood up to the special interests, and the lobbyists, and the Big Oil companies, and the good-old boys….

I came to office promising major ethics reform to end the culture of self-dealing. And today, that ethics reform is a law.

While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor’s office that I didn’t believe our citizens should have to pay for. That luxury jet was over-the-top.

I put it on eBay.

I love to drive myself to work. And I thought we could muddle through without the governor’s personal chef, although I got to admit that sometimes my kids sure miss her.

I came to office promising to control spending, by request if possible, but by veto, if necessary.

Senator McCain also — he promises to use the power of veto in defense of the public interest. And as a chief executive, I can assure you it works.

Our state budget is under control. We have a surplus. And I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending, nearly $500 million in vetoes.

We suspended the state fuel tax and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks,” on that Bridge to Nowhere.

If our state wanted to build a bridge, we were going to build it ourselves.

When oil and gas prices went up dramatically and filled up the state treasury, I sent a large share of that revenue back where it belonged: directly to the people of Alaska.

And despite fierce opposition from oil company lobbyists, who kind of liked things the way that they were, we broke their monopoly on power and resources. As governor, I insisted on competition and basic fairness to end their control of our state and return it to the people.

I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history. And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.

That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are open, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart….

To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of the world’s energy supplies, or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia, or that Venezuela might shut off its oil discoveries and its deliveries of that source, Americans, we need to produce more of our own oil and gas. And…

And take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: We’ve got lots of both.

Our opponents say again and again that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems, as if we didn’t know that already.

But the fact that drilling, though, won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.

Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines, and build more nuclear plants, and create jobs with clean coal, and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources. We need…

We need American sources of resources. We need American energy brought to you by American ingenuity and produced by American workers.

And now, I’ve noticed a pattern with our opponent, and maybe you have, too. We’ve all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers, and there is much to like and admire about our opponent.

But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the State Senate.

This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word “victory,” except when he’s talking about his own campaign.

But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot…

… when that happens, what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet?

The answer — the answer is to make government bigger, and take more of your money, and give you more orders from Washington, and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.

America needs more energy; our opponent is against producing it. Victory in Iraq is finally in sight, and he wants to forfeit. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay; he wants to meet them without preconditions.

Al Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights.

Government is too big; he wants to grow it. Congress spends too much money; he promises more. Taxes are too high, and he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan.

And let me be specific: The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, and raise payroll taxes, and raise investment income taxes, and raise the death tax, and raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars.

My sister, Heather, and her husband, they just built a service station that’s now open for business, like millions of others who run small businesses. How are they…

How are they going to be better off if taxes go up? Or maybe you are trying to keep your job at a plant in Michigan or in Ohio…

… or you’re trying — you’re trying to create jobs from clean coal, from Pennsylvania or West Virginia.

You’re trying to keep a small farm in the family right here in Minnesota.

How are you — how are you going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy?

Here’s how I look at the choice Americans face in this election: In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.

They are the ones whose names appear on laws and landmark reforms, not just on buttons and banners or on self-designed presidential seals.

Among politicians, there is the idealism of high-flown speech- making, in which crowds are stirringly summoned to support great things, and then there is the idealism of those leaders, like John McCain, who actually do great things.

They’re the ones who are good for more than talk, the ones that we’ve always been able to count on to serve and to defend America….

Our nominee doesn’t run with the Washington herd. He’s a man who’s there to serve his country and not just his party, a leader who’s not looking for a fight, but sure isn’t afraid of one, either.

Harry Reid, the majority of the current do-nothing Senate…

… he not long ago summed up his feelings about our nominee. He said, quote, “I can’t stand John McCain.”

Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps no accolade we hear this week is better proof that we’ve chosen the right man.

Clearly, what the majority leader was driving at is that he can’t stand up to John McCain and that is only…

… that’s only one more reason to take the maverick out of the Senate, put him in the White House.

My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery.

This world of threats and dangers, it’s not just a community and it doesn’t just need an organizer. And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they’re always, quote, “fighting for you,” let us face the matter squarely: There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you.

There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you in places where winning means survival and defeat means death. And that man is John McCain.

You know, in our day, politicians have readily shared much lesser tales of adversity than the nightmare world, the nightmare world in which this man and others equally brave served and suffered for their country.

And it’s a long way from the fear, and pain, and squalor of a six-by-four cell in Hanoi to the Oval Office.

But if Senator McCain is elected president, that is the journey he will have made. It’s the journey of an upright and honorable man, the kind of fellow whose name you will find on war memorials in small towns across this great country, only he was among those who came home.

To the most powerful office on Earth, he would bring the compassion that comes from having once been powerless, the wisdom that comes even to the captives by the grace of God, the special confidence of those who have seen evil and have seen how evil is overcome. A fellow…

A fellow prisoner of war, a man named Tom Moe of Lancaster, Ohio…

… Tom Moe recalls looking through a pinhole in his cell door as Lieutenant Commander John McCain was led down the hallway by the guards, day after day.

And the story is told, when McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn towards Moe’s door, and he’d flash a grin and a thumbs up, as if to say, “We’re going to pull through this.”

My fellow Americans, that is the kind of man America needs to see us through the next four years.

For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words. But for a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds.

If character is the measure in this election, and hope the theme, and change the goal we share, then I ask you to join our cause. Join our cause and help America elect a great man as the next president of the United States.

Thank you, and God bless America. Thank you.

Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Rudy Giuliani Stirs Up the Crowd in St. Paul. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Almost exactly one year ago today, during a presidential debate in Durham, New Hampshire, I said that, if I weren’t running for president, I’d be supporting John McCain.

Well, I’m not running for president, and I do support John McCain.

Every — every four years, we’re told that this presidential election is the most important in our lifetime. This year, with what’s at stake, 2008 is the most important election in our lifetime. And we’d better get it right.

This already has been the longest presidential campaign in history, and sometimes to me it felt even longer.

The American people realize this election represents a turning point. It’s the decision to follow one path or the other. We, the people, the citizens of the United States, get to decide our next president, not the left-wing media, not Hollywood celebrities, not anyone else but the people of America.

To those Americans who still feel torn in this election, I’d like to suggest one way to think about this to help make a choice in 2008.

Think about it this way. You’re hiring someone to do a job, an important job, a job that relates to the safety of yourself and your family. Imagine that you have two job applications in your hand with the name and the party affiliations blocked out.

They’re both good and patriotic men with very different life experiences that have led them to this moment of shared history. You’ve got to make this decision, and you’ve got to make it right. And you have to desire — you’ve got to decide, who am I going to hire?

On the one hand, you’ve got a man who’s dedicated his life to the service of the United States. He’s been tested time and again by crisis. He has passed every test.

Even his adversaries acknowledge — Democrats, Republicans, everyone acknowledges that John McCain is a true American hero.

GIULIANI: He — he loves America, as we all do, but he has sacrificed for it as few do….

He has proved his commitment with his blood. He came home a national hero. He had earned a life of peace and quiet, but he was called to public service again, running for Congress, and then the United States Senate, as a proud foot soldier in the Reagan revolution.

His principled independence never wavered. He stood up to special interests. He fought for fiscal discipline and ethics reform and a strong national defense.

That’s the one choice. That’s the one man.

On the other hand, you have a resume from a gifted man with an Ivy League education. He worked as a community organizer. What? He worked — I said — I said, OK, OK, maybe this is the first problem on the resume.

He worked as a community organizer. He immersed himself in Chicago machine politics.

Then he ran for — then he ran for the state legislature and he got elected. And nearly 130 times, he couldn’t make a decision. He couldn’t figure out whether to vote “yes” or “no.” It was too tough.

He voted — he voted “present.”

I didn’t know about this vote “present” when I was mayor of New York City. Sarah Palin didn’t have this vote “present” when she was mayor or governor. You don’t get “present.” It doesn’t work in an executive job. For president of the United States, it’s not good enough to be present.

You have to make a decision.

A few years later — a few years later, he ran for the U.S. Senate. He spent most of his time as a celebrity senator: no leadership, no legislation to really speak of.

His rise is remarkable in its own right. It’s the kind of thing that can happen only in America.

But he’s never — he’s never run a city. He’s never run a state. He’s never run a business. He’s never run a military unit. He’s never had to lead people in crisis.

He is the least experienced candidate for president of the United States in at least the last 100 years.

Not a personal attack, a statement of fact. Barack Obama has never led anything, nothing, nada.

Nada, nothing.

The choice — the choice in this election comes down to substance over style. John McCain has been tested; Barack Obama has not.

Tough times require strong leadership, and this is no time for on-the-job training.

We agree. We agree with Joe Biden…

… one time, one time, when he said that, until he flip-flopped and changed his position. And, yes, being president means being able to answer that call at 3:00 in the morning. And that’s the one time we agree with Hillary.

But I bet you never thought Hillary would get applause at this convention. She can be right. Well, no one can look at John McCain and say that he’s not ready to be commander-in-chief. He is. He’s ready.

And we can trust him to deal with anything, anything that nature throws our way, anything that terrorists do to us. This man has been tested over and over again, and we will be safe in his hands, and our children will be safe in his hands, and our country will be safe in the hands of John McCain. No doubt.

I learned as a trial lawyer a long time ago, if you don’t have the facts, you’ve got to change them. So our opponents want to re- frame the debate.

They would have you believe that this election is about change versus more of the same, but that’s really a false choice, because there’s good change and bad change.

Because change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.

John McCain — John McCain will bring about the change that will create jobs and prosperity. Let’s talk briefly about specifics….

And — and he’ll do it with an all-of-the-above approach, including nuclear power, and, yes, off-shore oil drilling.

Drill, baby, drill?

Drill, baby, drill.

GIULIANI: This — this — this is the kind of change — now, you guys are ready to break out. Whoa.

This — this — this and a lot more is the kind of change that will create growth, jobs, and prosperity, not what they want to do, tax us more, increase the size of government, increase tariffs, hurt jobs, send jobs elsewhere.

We need John McCain to save our economy and make sure it grows, but we need it for a more important purpose. There’s one purpose that John McCain understands, Republicans understand, that overrides everything else: John McCain will keep us on offense against terrorism at home and abroad.

For — for four days in Denver, the Democrats were afraid to use the words “Islamic terrorism.”

I imagine they believe it is politically incorrect to say it. I think they believe it will insult someone. Please tell me, who are they insulting if they say “Islamic terrorism”? They are insulting terrorists.

Of great concern to me, during those same four days in Denver, they rarely mentioned the attacks of September 11, 2001. They are in a state of denial about the biggest threat that faces this country. And if you deny it and you don’t deal with it, you can’t face it.

John McCain can face the enemy. He can win, and he can bring victory for this country….

The Democratic leader — the Democratic leader of the Senate said, and I quote, “This war is lost.”

Well, well, if America lost, who won, Al Qaida, bin Laden?

In the single biggest policy decision of this election, John McCain got it right, and Barack Obama got it wrong.

Senator McCain — Senator — Senator McCain was the candidate most associated with the surge, and it was unpopular. What do you think most other politicians would have done in a situation like this?

They would have acted in their self-interest, and they would have changed their position in order to win an election. How many times have we seen Barack Obama do this?

Obama — Obama promised to take public financing for his campaign, until he broke his promise.

Obama — Obama was against wiretapping before he voted for it.

When speaking to a pro-Israeli group, Obama favored an undivided Jerusalem, like I favor and like John McCain favored. Well, he favored an undivided Jerusalem — don’t get too excited — for one day, until he changed his mind.

Well, I’ll tell you, if I were Joe Biden, I’d want to get that V.P. thing in writing.

Our hero, our candidate, John McCain said, “I’d rather lose an election than a war.” Why? Because that’s John McCain.

When Russia rolled over Georgia, John McCain immediately established a very strong, informed position that let the world know how he’ll respond as president at exactly the right time. Remember his words? Remember what John McCain said? “We are all Georgians.”

Obama’s — talk about judgment. Let’s look at what Obama did. Obama’s first instinct was to create a moral equivalency, suggesting that both sides were equally responsible, the same moral equivalency that he’s displayed in discussing the Palestinian Authority and the state of Israel.

Later — later, after discussing this with his 300 foreign policy advisers, he changed his position, and he suggested the United Nations Security Council could find a solution.

Apparently, none of his 300 foreign policy security advisers told him that Russia has a veto power in the United Nations Security Council.

By the way, this was about three days later. So — so he changed his position again, and he put out a statement exactly like the statement of John McCain’s three days earlier.

I have some advice for Senator Obama: Next time, call John McCain.

He — he knows something about foreign — he knows something about foreign policy. Like Ronald Reagan, John McCain will enlarge our party, open it up to lots of new people.

In choosing Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has chosen for the future.

The other guy looked back. John looked forward.

Governor Palin represents a new generation. She’s already one of the most successful governors in America and the most popular.

And she’s already had more executive experience than the entire Democratic ticket combined.

She’s been a mayor. I love that (ph).

I’m sorry — I’m sorry that Barack Obama feels that her hometown isn’t cosmopolitan enough.

I’m sorry, Barack, that it’s not flashy enough. Maybe they cling to religion there.

Well — well, the first day — as far as I’m concerned, the first day she was mayor, she had more experience as an executive than — than Obama and Biden combined….

She’s been one of the most active governors — she’s been one of the most active governors in the country, and Alaska can be proud of having one of the best governors in the country.

She’s got an 80 percent approval rating. You never get that in New York City, wow.

As U.S. attorney, a former U.S. attorney, I’m very impressed the way she took on corruption in Alaska, including corruption in the Republican Party. This is a woman who has no fear. This is a woman who stands up for what’s right.

She — she — she is shaking up Alaska in a way that hasn’t happened in maybe ever. And with John McCain, with his independent spirit, with his being a maverick, with him and Sarah Palin, can you imagine how they’re going to shake up Washington?

Whew, look out. Look out.

One final point. And how — how dare they question whether Sarah Palin has enough time to spend with her children and be vice president. How dare they do that.

When do they ever ask a man that question? When?

Well, we’re at our best when we are expanding freedom. We’re the party that has expanded freedom from the very beginning, from ending slavery to making certain that people have freedom here and abroad.

We’re the party that believes in giving workers the right to work. We’re the party that believes that parents — parents should choose where their children go to school.

And we’re the party — and we’re the party that unapologetically believes in America’s success, a shining city on a hill, a beacon of freedom that inspires the world. That’s what our party is dedicated to.

So, my fellow Americans, we get a chance to elect one of our great heroes and a great American. He will be an exceptional president. He will have with him an exceptional woman who has already proven that she can reform and that she can govern.

And now the job is up to us. Let’s get John McCain and Sarah Palin elected, and let’s shake up Washington and move this country forward.

God bless America. Thank you.

…You know, for decades now, the Washington sun has been rising in the east. You see, Washington has been looking to the eastern elites, to the editorial pages of the Times and the Post, and to the broadcasters from the — from the coast. Yes.

If America really wants to change, it’s time to look for the sun in the west, because it’s about to rise and shine from Arizona and Alaska.

Last week, the Democratic convention talked about change. But what do you think? Is Washington now, liberal or conservative? Let me ask you some questions.

Is a Supreme Court decision liberal or conservative that awards Guantanamo terrorists with constitutional rights? It’s liberal.

Is a government liberal or conservative that puts the interests of the teachers union ahead of the needs of our children? It’s liberal.

Is a Congress liberal or conservative that stops nuclear power plants and off-shore drilling, making us more and more dependent on Middle Eastern tyrants? It’s liberal.

Is government spending, putting aside inflation, liberal or conservative if it doubles since 1980? It’s liberal.

We need change all right: change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington.

We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington: Throw out the big-government liberals and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney says Sen. John McCain will rein in government spending. (CNN)

Former Gov. Mitt Romney says Sen. John McCain will rein in government spending. (CNN)

It’s the same prescription for a stronger economy. I spent 25 years in the private sector. I’ve done business in many foreign countries. I know why jobs come and why they go away. And I know that liberals don’t have a clue.

They think that we have the biggest and strongest economy in the world because of our government. They’re wrong. America is strong because of the ingenuity, and entrepreneurship, and hard work of the American people….

America — America cannot long lead the family of nations if we fail the family here at home….

Dependency is death to initiative, to risk-taking and opportunity. It’s time to stop the spread of government dependency and fight it like the poison it is.

You know, it’s time for the party of big ideas, not the party of Big Brother.

Our economy is under attack. China is acting like Adam Smith on steroids, buying oil from the world’s worst and selling nuclear technology. Russia and the oil states are siphoning more than $500 billion a year from us in what could become the greatest transfer of economic wealth in the history of the world.

This is no time for timid, liberal, empty gestures.

Our economy has slowed down this year, and a lot of people are hurting. What happened? Mortgage money was handed out like candy, and speculators bought homes for free. And when this mortgage mania finally broke, it slammed the economy. And stratospheric gas prices made things even worse.

Democrats want to use the slowdown as an excuse to do what their special interests are always begging for: higher taxes, bigger government, and less trade with other nations….

The right course is the one championed by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago and by John McCain and Sarah Palin today.

The right course is to rein in government spending, lower taxes, take a Weedwacker to excessive regulation and mandates, put a stop to tort windfalls, and to stand up to the Tyrannosaurus appetite of government unions.

The right course — the right course is to pursue every source of energy security, from new efficiencies to renewables, from coal to non-CO2 producing nuclear, and for the immediate drilling for more oil off our shores.

And I have — I have one more recommendation for energy conservation: Let’s keep Al Gore’s private jet on the ground.

Last week, last week, did you hear any Democrats talk about the threat from radical, violent jihad? No. You see, Republicans believe that there is good and evil in the world. Ronald Reagan called out the evil empire. George Bush labeled the terror-sponsor states exactly what they are: The axis of evil.

And at Saddleback, after Barack Obama dodged and ducked every direct question, John McCain hit the nail on the head: Radical, violent Islam is evil, and he will defeat it.

This party…

You’re hearing it here. You’re hearing it here, and they’re hearing it across the country. You see, in this party, in this room tonight, and all over America, people in our party prefer straight talk to politically correct talk.

Republicans, led by John McCain and Sarah Palin, will fight to preserve the values that have preserved the nation. We’ll strengthen our economy and keep us from being held hostage by Putin, Chavez, and Ahmadinejad.

And we will never allow America to retreat in the face of evil extremism.

Just like you, just like you, there’s never been a day when I was not proud to be an American.

We — we Americans inherited the greatest nation in the history of the Earth. It’s our burden and our privilege to preserve it, to renew its spirit so that its noble past is prologue to its glorious future.

To this we’re all dedicated. And I firmly believe, by the providence of the almighty, that we will succeed.

President McCain and Vice President Palin will keep America as it has always been: The hope of the Earth.

Thank you, and God bless America.

  • Gov. Mike Huckabe’s Speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention As much as I appreciate the opportunity to speak tonight, I really was originally hoping for the slot on Thursday called the acceptance speech. But I am delighted to speak on behalf of my 2nd choice for the Republican nomination for president, John McCain. John McCain is a man with the character and stubborn kind of integrity that I want in a president.But I want to begin by doing something a little unusual. I’d like to thank the elite media for doing something that, quite frankly, I wasn’t sure could be done, and that’s unifying the Republican Party and all of America in support of Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin.

    The reporting of the past few days have proven tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert.

    I grew up at a time and in a place where the civil rights movement was fought. I witnessed first-hand the shameful evil of racism. I saw how ignorance and prejudice caused people to do the unthinkable to people of color not so many years ago.

    So, I say with sincerity that I have great respect for Sen. Obama’s historic achievement to become his party’s nominee — not because of his color, but with indifference to it. Party or politics aside, we celebrate this milestone because it elevates our country.

    But the presidency is not a symbolic job, and I don’t believe his preparation or his plans will lift America up.

    Obama was right when he said this election is not about him, it’s about you.

    When gasoline costs $4 a gallon, it makes it tough if you’re a single mom to get to work each day in the used car you drive. You want something to change.

    If you’re a flight attendant or baggage handler and you’re asked to take a pay cut to keep your job, you want something to change.

    If you’re a young couple losing your house, your credit rating, and your American dream, you want something to change.

    John McCain offers specific ideas to respond to this need for change. But let me say there are some things we never want to change — freedom, security, and the opportunity to prosper.

    Barack Obama’s excellent adventure to Europe took his campaign for change to hundreds of thousands of people who don’t even vote or pay taxes here.

    Let me hasten to say it’s not what he took there that concerns me. It’s what he brought back. Lots of ideas from Europe he’d like to see imported here.

    Centralized governments may care for you from cradle to grave, but they also control you. Most Americans don’t want more government, they want a lot less government.

    It was in fact the founder of our party Abraham Lincoln reminded us that a government that can do everything for us can also take everything from us.

    Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.

    Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.

    I get a little tired of hearing how the Democrats care about the working guy as if all Republicans grew up with silk stockings and silver spoons. In my little hometown of Hope, Arkansas, the three sacred heroes were Jesus, Elvis, and FDR, not necessarily in that order.

    My own father held down two jobs, barely affording the little rented house I grew up in. My dad worked hard, lifted heavy things, and got his hands dirty. In fact, the only soap we had at my house was Lava.

    Heck, I was in college before I found out it wasn’t supposed to hurt to take a shower.

    Let me make something clear tonight: I’m not a Republican because I grew up rich, but because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me.

    John McCain doesn’t want the kind of change that allows the government to reach deeper into your paycheck and pick your doctor, your child’s school, or even the kind of car you drive or how much you inflate the tires.

    And he doesn’t want to change the definition of marriage. And unlike the Democratic ticket, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin believe that every human life has intrinsic worth and value from the moment of conception.

    And speaking of Gov. Palin, I am so tired of hearing about her lack of experience. I want to tell you folks something. She got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States.

    John McCain is by far the most prepared, experienced, and tested Presidential candidate. Thoroughly tested.

    When John McCain received his country’s call to service, he didn’t hesitate, and he didn’t choose the easy path….

    Most of us can lift our arms high in the air to signify that we want something. His arms can’t even lift to shoulder level, a constant reminder that his life is marked not by what he wants to receive, but by what he’s already given….

    Allow me to tell you about someone who understands this type of sacrifice better than anyone.

    On the first day of school in 2005, Martha Cothren, a teacher at Joe T. Robinson High School in Little Rock, was determined that her students would not take their education or their privilege as Americans for granted. With the principal’s permission, she removed all the desks from her classroom on that first day of school in 2005. The students entered the empty room and asked, “Mrs. Cothren, where are our desks?” “You get a desk when you tell me how you earn it,” she replied….

    By lunch, the buzz was all over campus — Mrs. Cothren had flipped out; wouldn’t let her students have a desk. Kids had used their cell phones and called their parents.

    By early afternoon, all four of the local network TV affiliates had camera crews at the school to report on the teacher who wouldn’t let her students have a desk unless they could tell her how they earned it. By the final period, no one had guessed correctly.

    As the students filed in, Martha Cothren said, “Well, I didn’t think you would figure it out, so I’ll have to tell you.”

    Martha opened the door of her classroom. In walked over 20 veterans, some wearing uniforms from years gone by, but each one carrying a school desk.

    As they carefully and quietly arranged the desks in neat rows, Martha said, “You don’t have to earn your desks ’cause these guys — they already did.”

    These brave veterans went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have.

    No one charged you for your desk. But it wasn’t really free. These guys bought it for you. And I hope you never forget it.”

    I wish we all would remember that being American is not just about the freedom we have. It’s about those who gave it to us.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, John McCain is one of those people who helped buy the freedom that we enjoy and the school desks we had.

    It’s my honor to do what I can to help him have a desk that he has earned one in the Oval Office.

The audience at the Republican National Convention. (CNN)

The audience at the Republican National Convention. (CNN)

On the Campaign Trail….

  • John McCain cites Palin’s energy, mayoral experience:“This is what Americans want. They don’t want somebody who has, who is, frankly, necessarily gone to Harvard or an Ivy League school. She probably hasn’t been to a Georgetown cocktail party. But you know what, she represents everything we want to see in government and America _ change and reform and ethics and taking on the special interests.”

    Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin together at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin together at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Republican National Convention Day 2: September 2, 2008

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH: REPUBLICAN CONVENTION COVERAGE

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani on Tuesday in St. Paul. (NYT)

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani on Tuesday in St. Paul. (NYT)

Day 2 ScheduleTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2008: Service

    The 2008 Republican National Convention today announced the program of events for Tuesday, Sept. 2. The program will feature speeches by U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson. Their remarks will reflect the convention’s overall theme, “Country First,” and the theme for Tuesday’s events, which is “service.”

    “We are excited to announce Tuesday’s featured speakers, who will share John McCain’s remarkable record of leadership and service with millions of Americans tonight. We are looking forward to showcasing John McCain’s life-long record of putting his country first,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Robert M. “Mike” Duncan.

    “From his days as a POW who refused early release to his 20-year career in the U.S. Senate, John McCain has always put country first. Tonight’s program will reflect his unmatched commitment to service and his vision for increasing Americans’ participation in service and volunteer activities,” said Rick Davis, McCain 2008 campaign manager.

    Among the other speakers announced today are President George W. Bush (via satellite), First Lady Laura Bush, U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio), U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.), and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.).
    - GOP Convention 2008

Highlights:

  • September 2, 2008: Bush tells convention McCain is ready to lead, support of war shows his courage … McCain says Palin was thoroughly checked out before she was selected … With GOP struggling, Obama content to keep it local and low-key … Outside GOP convention, heavy police presence meets thousands protesting poverty, homelessness … McCain and Obama camps air new ads, alter playing field. – AP, 9-2-08
    Thompson, Lieberman to speak Tuesday night as GOP gets convention back on track … McCain’s veep vetter says Palin voluntarily disclosed teen’s pregnancy, husband’s past DUI … AP photographer, Democracy Now! TV and radio host arrested while covering anti-war protest … McCain has opposed spending on teen pregnancy prevention programs, sex education. – AP, 9-2-08

Stats & In the News…

  • 8 Years Later, Lieberman Extols McCain – NYT, 9-2-08
  • McCain Cancels Larry King Interview – NYT, 9-2-08
  • Exclusive photos show Sarah Palin has convinced John McCain – NY Daily News, 9-2-08
  • Lieberman gets convention spotlight, Bush a cameo – AP, 9-2-08
  • Bush praises McCain, Republicans defend Palin – AP, 9-2-08
  • Sarah Palin: Shooting Star? – WaPo, 9-2-08
  • Analysis: Palin choice scrambles left-right roles – AP, 9-2-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Historians Offer Insight on RNC’s Day Two: historians Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph examine the strengths of the night’s speeches and the rally for the GOP party in St. Paul. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it’s interesting. I think Judy’s right. This crowd goes out tonight feeling probably a lot better than they did even coming in this evening. I was struck by the extent to which this night was about John McCain’s personal story. And as we all know, it is a very powerful story. But it’s interesting. Here we are, two months before the campaign, and you have — before the election, and you have the feeling this is still a candidacy driven very much by biography. And I suspect what a lot of people are eager to hear over the next two nights is a lot more about what a McCain presidency would actually mean, whether it’s the economy, or health care, or a host of other issues. One other thing I would just add as an asterisk, knowing some Republicans and having been around Republicans, I don’t think you can overestimate the emotional surge in this hall that arises from the sense as a result of the Sarah Palin feeding frenzy that the “media,” quote, unquote, is out to get them. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Certainly. I think that tonight, it was an extraordinary night. I think Joe Lieberman’s speech quoting George Washington, who was against parties, at least partisanship, and calling for a bipartisan participation in this next election, Democrats, independents to vote for McCain, really building on what Richard said, based on biography rather than specific public policy proposals. And I think the controversy over the Palin choice is energizing their base. And they really feel they’re trying to rally around Palin in a way that — when we think of 1972, George McGovern didn’t, and when we think of 1988, George Bush, in fact, did. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: Maybe not a lot. And as a matter of fact, you know, you were talking a moment ago, Jim, about going after the media, which never hurts to do for a speaker at any convention, maybe particularly a Republican one. And, in 1964, probably the most powerful applause line at that convention, the Republicans in San Francisco, aside from the one given by — the speech given by Barry Goldwater, Dwight Eisenhower, of all people, who people thought of as rather mild-mannered, said, “Let us particularly scorn the sensation-seeking columnists because, my friends, I can assure you these are people who couldn’t care less about the good of our party.” And there was almost an animal roar. One lady started screaming, “Down with Walter Lippman!” It really brought down the house. The other thing you were saying, Jim, about, you know, reaching across the aisle. You know, Joe Lieberman’s speech tonight, I think it probably can be fairly said, if he had been nominated for vice president this week, we probably would have heard maybe three-quarters of the words that we heard tonight. That was probably large chunks of an acceptance speech that he never got to give. The reason he never got to give it, we are told, is that John McCain wanted to choose him, but his party said you can’t reach across the aisle, you can’t nominate a Democrat who has very differing views from many of us and from John McCain. And so there was a great irony that here he is saying, “Let’s all reach across the aisle,” to a group that essentially prevented John McCain from choosing a Democrat, Lieberman, as vice president. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • H.W. Brands on “McCain Walks Fine Line With Bush Legacy”: Dealing with the legacy of the previous president “is a perennial problem for candidates of the same party as the incumbent, especially when the incumbent has baggage.” said H.W. Brands, author of Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    A professor of history at the University of Texas, Brands — who was not in Minnesota — said that presidential candidate Al Gore tried to embrace Bill Clinton’s prosperity but not Clinton’s personal behavior. George H. W. Bush endorsed Reaganism, but distanced himself from the Iran-Contra affair. When Hubert Humphrey ran for president in 1968, he endorsed Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society but wavered on the Vietnam war. Calvin Coolidge echoed Warren G. Harding on the economy in 1924 but not on the Teapot Dome scandal. And Martin Van Buren wanted to be Andrew Jackson, without some of Jackson’s sharp edges.

    “Every candidate promises to be his own man,” Brands said, “but wants to be associated with such success as his predecessor achieved. Some strike the balance, others don’t.” – NPR, 9-2-08

  • Ted Frantz on “Assessing Gustav damage to RNC”: “You can make the argument that in some ways Gustav helped John McCain, given what he was trying to run on and stress. Leadership and experience,” said Ted Frantz.
    University of Indianapolis history professor Ted Frantz said even though the Republican Party didn’t get the media coverage it had wanted, Gustav didn’t keep John McCain out of the news. Rather it allowed the Senator an opportunity to react to a potential disaster on the national stage. “Hey this is what I would do as commander in chief, putting Americans first and party loyalty second,” said Frantz.
    But Frantz notes, of the two parties, the Democrats were the ones who needed more convention time. Not only did the party want to take time to reintroduce Senator Barack Obama to the nation, but party leaders had to deal with far more drama. In this case, giving the Clintons prime time coverage so they could show their support for Barack Obama and encourage their supporters to do the same.
    With John McCain a well known entity, viewers may not be as interested in the Republican National Convention.
    “I think generally they would tune in for McCain’s speech and to see Sarah Palin speak for the longest time, after that, probably most Americans wouldn’t have tuned in that heavily anyway,” said Frantz. – WISH-TV 8, 9-2-08
  • Melissa Harris-Lacewell on “Cindy and Michelle Defy First Lady Stereotypes Political Experts Say Either Woman Could Create Stronger White House Role”:

    “Americans are going to get a different first lady,” said Melissa Harris-Lacewell, associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University, and who is friends with Michelle Obama. “Whoever winds up there, it’s going to be a different approach.”…
    As a working mother, Obama’s central theme could be balancing home and work. “How do contemporary women fulfill their own series while also fulfilling their desire for family?” asked Harris-Lacewell. “How do they support their husbands without getting lost in their identities?” Harris-Lacewell also suggested that Michelle Obama may champion issues involving her children as they grow, such as gender equality and education.

    “Eight years ago, she had incredible dignity and was a fierce advocate of her own adopted daughter,” Harris-Lacewell said. “She is a woman of more substance than people imagine.” – ABC News, 9-2-08

  • Carl Sferrazza Anthony on “Cindy and Michelle Defy First Lady Stereotypes Political Experts Say Either Woman Could Create Stronger White House Role”: “The campaigns don’t necessarily want the wives to appear overly substantive,” said Carl Sferrazza Anthony, a historian for the National First Ladies Library in Canton, Ohio. “The campaign of 1992 stands out as a stark reminder of how a first lady can be demonized if there is the slightest suggestion she might use her intelligence and experience and offer advice to her husband.”…
    “Michelle gave [Barack Obama] a sense of grounding and purpose in Chicago,” said Anthony. “She gave him a sense of home.” – ABC News, 9-2-08
  • Catherine Algore on “Cindy and Michelle Defy First Lady Stereotypes Political Experts Say Either Woman Could Create Stronger White House Role”: “The twist is that Cindy McCain has more of an opportunity to make a more radical difference,” said Catherine Algore, visiting professor at Claremont McKenna College and author of “A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation.” “It’s the paradox of her being a Republican woman, with traditional appearance and presence of self. She can actually do more than someone looked at as a radical, liberal feminist and black woman,” Algore told ABCNews.com. “In some ways Michelle Obama is constrained by our own prejudices and expectations, whereas Cindy McCain can take that conservative, former beauty queen wife and mother and philanthropist and run with it,” she said. – ABC News, 9-2-08
  • Edward Berkowitz on “Cindy and Michelle Defy First Lady Stereotypes Political Experts Say Either Woman Could Create Stronger White House Role”: History demonstrates that the role of first lady is complex, according to Edward Berkowitz, professor of history and public policy at George Washington University. “There are contradictions built in to the family and political roles,” he told ABCNews.com. “How to reconcile between being active and not getting involved, giving the president the proper space, the proper environment for giving advice, but not definitive advice. The tensions are very hard to navigate.”…
    “Michelle Obama is a different animal than any other first lady ever,” said Berkowitz. “She is this sort of black, upwardly mobile, upper-class type. She is not that aristocratic, but very often the high-achieving black world has its own rules and decorum.”…
    “She’s like Nancy Reagan, in the sense that she and Ronnie had been divorced,” Berkowitz said. “Reagan made it a nonissue. She’s from that world.” And her wealth is “relatively new money,” Berkowitz said. “Having a beer distributorship, it’s not unlike the Kennedy father. It’s not like being a banker, not that respectability. It’s more working class.” – ABC News, 9-2-08
  • Joseph Crespino on “Obama and the New South”: She is a very compelling personality and has already injected a lot of enthusiasm and interest into McCain’s campaign. But Palin is a huge wild card. I thought that the one question that the Dems had not fully answered by the end of their convention was the experience issue, but obviously the McCain camp thought differently because they’ve taken that off the table. It’s hard to know what to make of the news about Palin’s daughter. Nobody really wants to touch it because it’s sad to have the private lives of family members injected into national politics, but how can you hear that new — not to mention the troopergate story — and not wonder who actually vetted this candidate….
    I don’t think any Republicans are remiss about George Bush being unable to speak in prime time Monday night — or the fact that Dick Cheney will not be at the convention. It looks now like Gustav will more or less blow through New Orleans with relatively little impact, and if the Republicans get three full days in, then I think they will be thrilled. – Emory Wheel, 9-1-08
  • Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph: Experts Mull Historical Context of GOP’s Convention Postponement: The Republican Committee decided to delay convention events on Monday due to Hurricane Gustav — a first in party convention history. Historians discuss the decision and its political significance in the context of past conventions. – PBS Newshour, 9-1-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University:: In a word, no. I thought someone this week would be brief, you know. No, this is unprecedented. But, you know, Andy had a point when he was talking earlier. There are going to be some people who won’t say it in front of a camera, but who privately see this as not entirely a cause for despondency, because the fewer people out there who see the president and the vice president this evening, the better it may be for the people in here….

    Well, you know, first of all, to be fair, there’s a poll today that says 71 percent of these delegates approve of President Bush’s performance. That’s just that they’re not necessarily representative of the electorate at large. I’ll give an example. You can’t get much more radioactive than Richard Nixon following his resignation from office in 1974 in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Two years later, he continued to cast a long shadow over the Ford White House and the Ford campaign against Jimmy Carter. There was a press conference in October of ’76. A reporter stood up and said, “Mr. President,” to Gerald Ford, “twice in this press conference you’ve referred to ‘your predecessor.’ Once you’ve referred to ‘Lyndon Johnson’s successor.’ Are you deliberately trying to avoid saying Richard Nixon’s name?” Ford said, “Yes.” That said it all. Richard Nixon never did, in fact, appear at another Republican convention. And it made news four years ago when his name was actually uttered from the podium by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger….

    Well, I think it warms its fire — its hands by the fire ignited by Ronald Reagan. I mean, this is still very much Ronald Reagan’s party. It’s easier to imagine a post-Bush Republican Party than it is a post-Reagan Republican Party. And yet, if you look at the Tories in England, for example, granted, Mrs. Thatcher left office under different circumstances, but it took a long time for that party to find a new identity, clinging, presumably, to the values of Thatcherism, whatever that means, but adapting them to a different political and cultural climate. And that is one of the real challenges. And it’s interesting, because part of the Reagan coalition, the kind of populist, particularly the religious right, the right-to-life movement, they are ecstatic with the choice of Sarah Palin, because they see her as an unconventional conservative, a populist, anti-establishment conservative, very much, perhaps, the next generation of Reaganism. – PBS Newshour, 9-1-08 Download

  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: In August of 2000, President Bill Clinton proved to be an albatross on the candidate Vice President Al Gore. Clinton had record approval ratings and was really one of only two men in the postwar era to be elected to and serve two terms as president, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. But the Lewinsky scandal made Clinton personally toxic. He appeared once at the convention August 14th. And Al Gore only mentioned him one time in his speech. So for the rest of the campaign, what Al Gore attempted to do was actually embrace Clinton’s legacy, while really distancing himself from the president as a personal figure. And it proved to be a really tough act to follow, and eventually it proved to be his undoing….

    If the post-Lyndon Johnson Democratic Party has been wrestling with the perception that it’s a party of special interests, the post-Reagan Republican Party wrestles with the perception that it’s really the party of business or corporate interest. And what’s very interesting about that is that, over the last quarter of a century, what the Republican Party has attempted to do is really think of itself as a party of compassion, a party of an ownership society, and really a party of racial inclusiveness, to the extent that the perception of the party is that it’s a party that doesn’t really care about poor people, it’s not a party that cares about minorities, and, in fact, is a party that’s hostile to minorities. Ronald Reagan himself had a little something to do with that, when we think about public policy, and the perceptions of his reputation of affirmative action and also his initial resistance to sign the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday into law. By 1988, when his vice president, George Bush, is running, we’ve got the infamous Willie Horton ad, which really solidified for many a perception, at least, that the Republican Party really had a long way to go towards racial inclusiveness. By 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit, that perception almost became political reality and a huge albatross. So when we look at this convention, really postponing or at least truncating its schedule this past Monday, it goes a long way towards combating that perception that the Republican Party doesn’t care about racial minorities. – PBS Newshour, 9-1-08 Download

  • Phil VanderMeer on “Can John McCain break Mo’s Curse?”: “You can certainly say (McCain) is a maverick who spans Barry and Mo in interesting ways,” said Phil VanderMeer, associate professor of history at Arizona State University. “He puts together issues that don’t match traditional liberal and conservative (views). That’s a Western way. He has an ability to appeal to people outside pre-packaged ideologies.”… “All of them had an attitude toward the environment that I would consider Western,” VanderMeer said. The West, he said, “mattered to them differently.” – The Arizona Republic, 9-1-08
  • Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph: Convention Decision Highlights GOP’s Post-Katrina Sensitivity “By cancelling most of tomorrow’s program, this party sends a pretty powerful signal that in effect we have learned our lesson from three years ago … This is, ironically enough, the re-launch of compassionate conservatism, Richard Norton Smith said. – PBS Newshour, 8-31-08

The Speeches….

Damon Winter/The New York Times)

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman at the convention. (Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

We meet tonight in the wake of a terrible storm that has hit the Gulf Coast but that hurts all of us, because we are all members of our larger American family.

At times like this, we set aside all that divides us, and we come together to help our fellow citizens in need.

What matters is certainly not whether we are Democrats or Republicans, but that we are all Americans.

The truth is, it shouldn’t take a hurricane to bring us together like this….

Instead they see Democrats and Republicans fighting each other, rather than fighting for the American people.

Our founding fathers foresaw the danger of this kind of senseless partisanship. George Washington himself — in his Farewell Address to our country — warned that the “spirit of party” is “the worst enemy” of our democracy and “enfeebles” our government’s ability to do its job.

George Washington was absolutely right. The sad truth is — today we are living through his worst nightmare, in the capital city that bears his name.

And that brings me directly to why I am here tonight. What, after all, is a Democrat like me doing at a Republican convention like this?

The answer is simple.

I’m here to support John McCain because country matters more than party.

I’m here tonight because John McCain is the best choice to bring our country together and lead our country forward.

I’m here because John McCain’s whole life testifies to a great truth: being a Democrat or a Republican is important.

But it is not more important than being an American.

Both presidential candidates this year talk about changing the culture of Washington, about breaking through the partisan gridlock and special interests that are poisoning our politics.

But only one of them has actually done it.

Only one leader has shown the courage and the capability to rise above the smallness of our politics to get big things done for our country and our people.

And that leader is John McCain!

John understands that it shouldn’t take a natural disaster like Hurricane Gustav to get us to take off our partisan blinders and work together to get things done.

It shouldn’t take a natural disaster to teach us that the American people don’t care much if you have an “R” or a “D” after your name.

What they care about is, are we solving the problems they are up against every day?

What you can expect from John McCain as President is precisely what he has done this week: which is to put country first. That is the code by which he has lived his entire life, and that is the code he will carry with him into the White House.

I have personally seen John, over and over again, bring people together from both parties to tackle our toughest problems we face –to reform our campaign finance, lobbying and ethics laws, to create the 9/11 Commission and pass its critical national security reforms, and to end the partisan paralysis over judicial confirmations.

My Democratic friends know all about John’s record of independence and accomplishment.

Maybe that’s why some of them are spending so much time and so much money trying to convince voters that John McCain is someone else.

I’m here, as a Democrat myself, to tell you: Don’t be fooled.

God only made one John McCain, and he is his own man.

If John McCain was just another go-along partisan politician, he never would have taken on corrupt Republican lobbyists, or big corporations that were cheating the American people, or powerful colleagues in Congress who were wasting taxpayer money.

But he did!

If John McCain was just another go-along partisan politician, he never would have led the fight to fix our broken immigration system or to do something about global warming.

But he did!

As a matter of fact, if John McCain is just another partisan Republican, then I’m Michael Moore’s favorite Democrat.

And I’m not.

Senator Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who can do great things for our country in the years ahead. But eloquence is no substitute for a record — not in these tough times.

In the Senate he has not reached across party lines to get anything significant done, nor has he been willing to take on powerful interest groups in the Democratic Party.

Contrast that to John McCain’s record, or the record of the last Democratic President, Bill Clinton, who stood up to some of those same Democratic interest groups and worked with Republicans to get important things done like welfare reform, free trade agreements, and a balanced budget.

Governor Sarah Palin, like John McCain, is a reformer who has taken on the special interests and reached across party lines. She is a leader we can count on to help John shake up Washington.

That’s why the McCain-Palin ticket is the real ticket for change this year.

The Washington bureaucrats and power brokers can’t build a pen strong enough to hold these two mavericks.

And together, you can count on John McCain and Sarah Palin to fight for America and to fight for you! And that’s what our country needs most right now.

What we need most is not more party unity in America but more national unity!…

When others were silent, John McCain had the judgment to sound the alarm about the mistakes we were making in Iraq. When others wanted to retreat in defeat from the field of battle, when Barack Obama was voting to cut off funding for our troops on the ground,

John McCain had the courage to stand against the tide of public opinion and support the surge, and because of that, today, our troops are at last beginning to come home, not in failure, but in honor!…

But you can always count on him to be straight with you about where he stands, and to stand for what he thinks is right regardless of politics.

As President, you can count on John McCain to be a restless reformer, who will clean up Washington and get our government working again for you!

So tonight, I ask you whether you are an Independent, a Reagan Democrat or a Clinton Democrat, or just a Democrat: This year, when you vote for President, vote for the person you believe is best for the country, not for the party you happen to belong to.

Vote for the leader who, since the age of 17, when he raised his hand and took an oath to defend and protect our Constitution, has always put our country first.

So, let’s come together to make a great American patriot our next great President!

…We know that we have challenges — always have, always will.

But we also know that we live in the freest, strongest, most generous and prosperous nation in the history of the world and we are thankful.

Speaking of the vice presidential nominee, what a breath of fresh air Gov. Sarah Palin is.

She is from a small town, with small town values, but that’s not good enough for those folks who are attacking her and her family.

Some Washington pundits and media big shots are in a frenzy over the selection of a woman who has actually governed rather than just talked a good game on the Sunday talk shows and hit the Washington cocktail circuit. Well, give me a tough Alaskan governor who has taken on the political establishment in the largest state in the union — and won — over the beltway business-as-usual crowd any day of the week.

Fred Thompson Speaking to Republican National Convention, Tuesday night. (CNN)

Fred Thompson Speaking to Republican National Convention, Tuesday night. (CNN)

Let’s be clear … the selection of Gov. Palin has the other side and their friends in the media in a state of panic. She is a courageous, successful, reformer, who is not afraid to take on the establishment.

Sound like anyone else we know?

She has run a municipality and she has run a state.

And I can say without fear of contradiction that she is the only nominee in the history of either party who knows how to properly field dress a moose … with the possible exception of Teddy Roosevelt.

She and John McCain are not going to care how much the alligators get irritated when they get to Washington, they’re going to drain that swamp.

But tonight, I’d like to talk to you about the remarkable story of John McCain.

It’s a story about character.

John McCain’s character has been tested like no other presidential candidate in the history of this nation.

He comes from a military family whose service to our country goes back to the Revolutionary War.

The tradition continues…..

…Also here tonight is John’s 96-year-old mother, Roberta. All I’ve got to say is that if Roberta McCain had been the McCain captured by the North Vietnamese, they would have surrendered.

Now, John’s father was a bit of a rebel, too.

In his first two semesters at the Naval Academy, he managed to earn 333 demerits.

Unfortunately, John later saw that as a record to be beaten.

A rebellious mother and a rebellious father – I guess you can see where this is going.

In high school and the Naval Academy, he earned a reputation as a troublemaker.

But as John points out, he wasn’t just a troublemaker. He was the leader of the troublemakers.

Although loaded with demerits like his father, John was principled even in rebellion.

He never violated the honor code.

However, in flight school in Pensacola, he did drive a Corvette and date a girl who worked in a bar as an exotic dancer under the name of Marie, the Flame of Florida.

And the reason I’m telling you these things, is that, apparently, this mixture of rebellion and honor helped John McCain survive the next chapter of his life:

John McCain was preparing to take off from the USS Forrestal for his sixth mission over Vietnam, when a missile from another plane accidentally fired and hit his plane.

The flight deck burst into a fireball of jet fuel.

John’s flight suit caught fire.

He was hit by shrapnel.

It was a scene of horrible human devastation.

Men sacrificed their lives to save others that day. One kid, who John couldn’t identify because he was burned beyond recognition, called out to John to ask if a certain pilot was OK.

John replied that, yes, he was.

The young sailor said, “Thank God”… and then he died.

These are the kind of men John McCain served with.

These are the men and women John McCain knows and understands and loves….

…Putting his “Country First.”

Three months later John McCain was a Prisoner of War.

On October 26, 1967, on his 23rd mission over North Vietnam, a surface-to-air missile slammed into John’s A-4 Skyhawk jet, blowing it out of the sky.

When John ejected, part of the plane hit him — breaking his right knee, his left arm, his right arm in three places.

An angry mob got to him.

A rifle butt broke his shoulder.

A bayonet pierced his ankle and his groin.

They took him to the Hanoi Hilton, where he lapsed in and out of consciousness for days. He was offered medical care for his injuries if he would give up military information in return.

John McCain said “No”….

We hear a lot of talk about hope.

John McCain knows about hope. That’s all he had to survive on. For propaganda purposes, his captors offered to let him go home.

John McCain refused.

He refused to leave ahead of men who’d been there longer.

He refused to abandon his conscience and his honor, even for his freedom.

He refused, even though his captors warned him, “It will be very bad for you.”

They were right.

It was.

The guards cracked ribs, broke teeth off at the gums. They cinched a rope around his arms and painfully drew his shoulders back.

Over four days, every two to three hours, the beatings resumed. During one especially fierce beating, he fell, again breaking his arm….

Whenever John was returned to his cell — walking if he could, dragged if he couldn’t — as he passed his fellow POWs, he would call out to them.

He’d smile … and give them a thumbs-up.

For five-and-a-half years this went on.

John McCain’s bones may have been broken but his spirit never was.

Now, being a POW certainly doesn’t qualify anyone to be president.

But it does reveal character.

This is the kind of character that civilizations from the beginning of history have sought in their leaders.

Strength.

Courage.

Humility.

Wisdom.

Duty.

Honor.

It’s pretty clear there are two questions we will never have to ask ourselves, “Who is this man?” and “Can we trust this man with the presidency?”….

…This man, John McCain is not intimidated by what the polls say or by what is politically safe or popular.

At a point when the war in Iraq was going badly and the public lost confidence, John stood up and called for more troops.

And now we are winning.

Ronald Reagan was John McCain’s hero.

And President Reagan admired John tremendously.

But when the president proposed putting U.S. troops in Beirut, John McCain, a freshman Congressman, stood up and cast a vote against his hero because he thought the deployment was a mistake.

My friends … that is character you can believe in….

…The Senate has always had more than its share of smooth talkers.

And big talkers.

It still has.

But while others were talking reform, John McCain led the effort to make reform happen — always pressing, always moving for what he believed was right and necessary to restore the people’s faith in their government.

Confronting when necessary, reaching across the aisle when possible, John personified why we came to Washington in the first place.

It didn’t always set too well with some of his colleagues.

Some of those fights were losing efforts.

Some were not.

But a man who never quits is never defeated.

Because John McCain stood up our country is better off.

The respect he is given around the world is not because of a teleprompter speech designed to appeal to American critics abroad, but because of decades of clearly demonstrated character and statesmanship….

Spending at home that threatens to bankrupt future generations. For decades an expanding government … increasingly wasteful and too often incompetent.

To deal with these challenges the Democrats present a history making nominee for president.

History making in that he is the most liberal, most inexperienced nominee to ever run for president. Apparently they believe that he would match up well with the history making, Democrat controlled Congress. History making because it’s the least accomplished and most unpopular Congress in our nation’s history.

Together, they would take on these urgent challenges with protectionism, higher taxes and an even bigger bureaucracy.

And a Supreme Court that could be lost to liberalism for a generation.

This is not reform.

And it’s certainly not change.

It is basically the same old stuff they’ve been peddling for years. America needs a president who understands the nature of the world we live in.

A president who feels no need to apologize for the United States of America.

We need a president who understands that you don’t make citizens prosperous by making Washington richer, and you don’t lift an economic downturn by imposing one of the largest tax increases in American history.

Now our opponents tell you not to worry about their tax increases.

They tell you they are not going to tax your family.

No, they’re just going to tax “businesses”! So unless you buy something from a “business”, like groceries or clothes or gasoline … or unless you get a paycheck from a big or a small “business”, don’t worry … it’s not going to affect you.

They say they are not going to take any water out of your side of the bucket, just the “other” side of the bucket! That’s their idea of tax reform.

My friends, we need a leader who stands on principle.

We need a president, and vice president, who will take the federal bureaucracy by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shaking.

And we need a president who doesn’t think that the protection of the unborn or a newly born baby is above his pay grade.

The man who will be that president is John McCain.

In the days ahead at this convention, you will hear much more about what John will do as president — what he will do on the economy, on energy, on health care, the environment… It is not my role tonight to explain that vision.

My role is to help remind you of the man behind the vision. Because tonight our country is calling to all of us to step up, stand up, and put “Country First” with John McCain.

Tonight we are being called upon to do what is right for our country.

Tonight we are being called upon to stand up for a strong military, a mature foreign policy, a free and growing economy and for the values that bind us together and keep our nation free.

Tonight, we are being called upon to step up and stand up with John just as he has stood up for our country.

Our country is calling.

John McCain cannot raise his arms above his shoulders.

He cannot salute the flag of the country for which he sacrificed so much. Tonight, as we begin this convention week, yes, we stand with him.

And we salute him.

We salute his character and his courage.

His spirit of independence, and his drive for reform.

His vision to bring security and peace in our time, and continued prosperity for America and all her citizens.

For our own good and our children’s, let us celebrate that vision, that belief, that faith so we can keep America the greatest country the world has ever seen.

God bless John McCain and God bless America.

…As you gather tonight in St. Paul, I want to share some thoughts about our nominee — a great American, and the next President of the United States, John McCain.

Before I do so, I want to say hello to two people in the hall with you tonight. I could have no finer examples of character, decency, and integrity than my mom and dad. And I love you a lot.

I know what it takes to be President. In these past eight years, I’ve sat at the Resolute desk and reviewed the daily intelligence briefings, the threat assessments, and reports from our commanders on the front lines. I’ve stood in the ruins of buildings knocked down by killers, and promised the survivors I would never let them down. I know the hard choices that fall solely to a President. John McCain’s life has prepared him to make those choices. He is ready to lead this nation.

Damon Winter/The New York Times)

President George W. Bush addressed the convention over a video link from the White House. (Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

From the day of his commissioning, John McCain was a respected naval officer who made decisions on which the lives of others depended. As an elected public servant, he earned the respect of colleagues in both parties as a man to follow when there’s a tough call to make.

John McCain’s life is a story of service above self. Forty years ago in an enemy prison camp, Lieutenant Commander McCain was offered release ahead of others who had been held longer. His wounds were so severe that anyone would have understood if he’d accepted. John refused. For that selfless decision, he suffered nearly five more years of beatings and isolation. When he was released, his arms had been broken — but not his honor.

Fellow citizens: If the Hanoi Hilton could not break John McCain’s resolve to do what is best for his country, you can be sure the angry left never will.

As the father of seven sons and daughters, John has the heart of a protector. He and his wonderful wife, Cindy, are adoptive parents. John is a leader who knows that human life is fragile, that human life is precious, that human life must be defended.

We’ve seen John McCain’s commitment to principle in our Nation’s Capital. John is a steadfast opponent of wasteful spending. As President, he will stand up to the high tax crowd in Congress, and make the tax relief permanent. He will invest in the energy technologies of tomorrow — and lift the ban on drilling for America’s offshore oil today.

John is an independent man who thinks for himself. He’s not afraid to tell you when he disagrees. Believe me, I know. No matter what the issue, this man is honest and speaks straight from the heart.

Last year, John McCain’s independence and character helped change history. The Democrats had taken control of Congress and were threatening to cut off funds for our troops. In the face of calls for retreat, I ordered a surge of forces into Iraq. Many in Congress said it had no chance of working. Yet one Senator above all had faith in our troops and the importance of their mission — and that was John McCain. Some told him that his early and consistent call for more troops would put his presidential campaign at risk. He told them he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war. That is the kind of courage and vision we need in our next Commander- in-Chief.

My fellow citizens, we live in a dangerous world. And we need a President who understands the lessons of September the 11th, 2001: that to protect America, we must stay on the offense, stop attacks before they happen, and not wait to be hit again. The man we need is John McCain.

When he takes office next January, John will have an outstanding leader at his side. America will have a strong and principled Vice President in the Governor of the great state of Alaska, Sarah Palin.

In the time the Oval Office has been in my trust, I’ve kept near my desk reminders of America’s character — including a painting of a West Texas mountain lit by the morning sun. It reminds me that Americans have always lived on the sunrise side of the mountain. We’re a nation that looks to the new day with confidence and optimism. And I’m optimistic about our future, because I believe in the goodness and wisdom of the American people. I’m optimistic because I have faith in freedom’s power to lift up all of God’s children, and lead this world to a future of peace.

And I’m optimistic about something else: When the debates have ended, and all the ads have run, and it is time to vote, Americans will look closely at the judgment, the experience, and the policies of the candidates — and they will cast their ballots for the McCain-Palin ticket.

While I am not with you in the Twin Cities on this wonderful night for our party, with Laura Bush speaking, you have clearly traded up. I am so proud the American people have come to know her gracious presence, her determined spirit, and her loving heart. Laura has been a fantastic First Lady.

Thank you, Laura — and thanks to all of you in the hall tonight. God bless you, and God bless America.

On the Campaign Trail….

Republican National Convention Day 1: September 1, 2008

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH: REPUBLICAN CONVENTION COVERAGE

Laura Bush, Cindy McCain call for Gustav donations (CNN)

Laura Bush, Cindy McCain call for Gustav donations (CNN)

Day 1 Schedule

    MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2008
    Country First: Service

    John McCain 2008 and 2008 Republican National Convention Announce Changes to Convention Program and Hurricane Response Efforts

    Monday’s Convention Program Will Only Include Required Proceedings, McCain Campaign Takes Steps to Aid Affected Delegations

    “Love of country, my friends, is another way of saying love of your fellow countryman.”
    –Sen. John McCain

    John McCain’s commitment to his fellow Americans, a commitment forged in service to his country, is one of the defining hallmarks of his life. Monday’s events will highlight John McCain’s record of service and sacrifice and reflect his commitment to serving a cause greater than one’s own selfinterest.

    Speakers: First Lady Laura Bush and Cindy McCain
    - GOP Convention 2008

Highlights:

  • September 1, 2008: GOP convention appeals for hurricane aid; Palins say unmarried daughter is pregnant … Palin says daughter, 17, is pregnant; announcement aims to rebut rumors about governor’s son … Obama curtails campaign to watch Gustav, asks for Red Cross donations … McCain says campaign raised $47 million in August … Smashing windows and throwing bottles, some protesters turn violent in march to GOP convention … Biden skips Pittsburgh parade to monitor Gustav, still plans to visit hometown of Scranton. – AP, 9-1-08

Stats & In the News…

  • GOP convention opening with appeal for Gustav aid – AP, 9-1-08
  • Republican Convention by the Numbers – PBS Newshour, 9-1-08
  • McCain raises $47 million in August – AP, 9-1-08
  • Palin’s Teen Daughter Is Pregnant; New G.O.P. Tumult – NYT, 9-1-08
  • 5 arrested in protests at GOP convention site – AP, 9-1-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Henry Robertson on “McCain’s VP choice surprises La. GOP leaders”: And associate history professor Henry Robertson at Louisiana College in Pineville says the history doesn’t end there, with both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates snubbing political tradition by choosing their running mates from states with few electoral votes. Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, hails from a state with three electoral votes, the same as Palin’s Alaska. “On both counts, I think, it was kind of a surprise that they didn’t pick people to geographically balance or to have the kind of electoral count you would expect,” said Robertson, who also is the faculty adviser to the College Republicans, a student group at LC. Robertson did praise Palin’s selection, though, calling her “an excellent choice, a fresh new face” who will make the Republican ticket a strong contender. But as Republicans expressed glee with their completed ticket, they also expressed concern as Hurricane Gustav threatened to wreak havoc just as their convention kicks off. Robertson suggested that the party should consider delaying the convention should Gustav become a large national event. “I don’t think you want to have a convention when you have a major emergency in the United States,” Robertson said. “I do think it would be wise if they waited, or delayed certainly, the convention because the focus needs to be on what is going on, on the Gulf Coast.” – The Town Talk, LA, 8-30-08

The Speeches….

  • First Lady Laura Bush encouraging contributions for hurricane relief
    “Our first priority is to assure the safety and well-being of those living in the Gulf Coast region. When such events occur, we are reminded that, first, we are all Americans, and that our shared American ideals will always transcend political parties and partisanship. We hope that the people on the Gulf Coast know that the American people are here to do what we can to assist them.”

    Though she focused on private aid, Bush noted that her husband “has been speaking with the officials in the region to make sure they have what they need from the federal government.”

    She noted that the governors of the affected states — Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida — “happen to be Republicans,” but had canceled their planned attendance at the convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

    “We know that it’s far more important for them to remain in their home states to provide the leadership and the management of this crisis…. Let’s work together to provide those affected with the means to restore and rebuild their communities.”

  • First Lady Laura Bush listened as Cindy McCain spoke at the 2008 Republican National Convention on Monday in St. Paul. (NYT)

    First Lady Laura Bush listened as Cindy McCain spoke at the 2008 Republican National Convention on Monday in St. Paul. (NYT)

  • Cindy McCain encouraging contributions for hurricane relief
    Cindy McCain, said her husband, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, John McCain, “has been saying for the last several days this is the time we take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats.” She urged Americans to go to www.causegreater.com, a Web site paid for by John McCain 2008, to donate. “That will allow all of us to aid those who have been affected by Hurricane Gustav.”

On the Campaign Trail….

  • Obama Cuts Short Rally and Calls for Moment of Silence
    “Today’s not a day for political speeches. I hope you’ll forgive me. I hope you don’t mind. Today is the day for all of us to come together as Americans and send our thoughts and prayers to our brothers and sisters who are worrying at this very hour…. I know that John McCain wants what’s best for the people that have been evacuated. I know George Bush wants what’s best and so do I. So I want all of us to come together. “I will be monitoring it all day,” Mr. Obama said, urging people to give to the Red Cross or contribute in whatever way they could. “We are prayerful this will not be the same situation we saw three years ago.”
  • Obama says Palin’s family off limits

    Sen. Barack Obama campaigns in Monroe, Michigan, on Monday. (AP)

    Sen. Barack Obama campaigns in Monroe, Michigan, on Monday. (AP)

    “Let me be as clear as possible,” Obama said. “I think people’s families are off-limits, and people’s children are especially off-limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin’s performance as governor or her potential performance as a vice president.” Mr. Obama said the pregnancy “has no relevance to Governor Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president… My mother had me when she was 18. How a family deals with issues and teen-age children — that shouldn’t be the topic of our politics, and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that’s off-limits. So, I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories.”

    “I am offended by that statement. There is no evidence at all that any of this involved us. We don’t go after people’s families; we don’t get them involved in the politics. It’s not appropriate, and it’s not relevant,” he added. “Our people were not involved in any way in this, and they will not be. And if I ever thought that there was somebody in my campaign that was involved in something like that, they’d be fired.”

  • McCain spokesman Steve Schmidt about news of Bristol Palin’s Pregnancy
    “Senator McCain’s view is this is a private family matter. As parents, (the Palins) love their daughter unconditionally and are going to support their daughter. Life happens.”
  • Sarah and Todd Palin said in a brief statement about their Daughter’s Pregnancy
    “Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media, respect our daughter and Levi’s privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates.”

July 21, 2008: Focus on Race & Iraq

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH:HNN, July 21, 2008

The week that was….

  • July 20, 2008: Barack Obama is visiting Afganistan; he had breakfast with US troops there, and then met with President Hamid Karzai where he pledged continual aid to the country. This is the second day of Obama’s international tour which is meant to boost his foreign policy credentials.
  • July 19, 2008: Obama landed in Kabul, Afganistan, the first stop on his tour of war zones, which will also include a visit to Iraq. Officially Obama is visiting the regions as part of Congressional delegation, but it also a campaign tour and a response to Republican criticism, which claimed Obama has not visited the area in 900 days.
    The contraversay surrounding Texas Sen. Phil Gramm’s comments has ended; Gramm, who was McCain’s campaign co-chairman resigned from his position. Last week Gramm was criticized for calling “the United States had become a “nation of whiners” whose constant complaints about the U.S. economy show they are in a “mental recession.””
  • July 18, 2008: McCain launched a new TV ad that claimed that Obama changed his positions on Iraq to be elected President. The ad which is the most critical of Obama’s positions on Iraq comes just as he is embarking on a trip to Afganistan and Iraq. The 30-second ad starts by saying: “Barack Obama never held a single Senate hearing on Afghanistan. He hasn’t been to Iraq in years. He voted against funding our troops. Positions that helped him win his nomination. Now Obama is changing to help himself become president.”
    A new AP-Yahoo News poll claims that Obama supporters are much excited than McCain’s; 38 percent to 9 percent.
    McCain pledged to help revive the auto industry that has been hit hard by the country’s economic woes.
    Obama will meet with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel on July 24, 2008.
  • July 17, 2008: Obama’s upcoming trip to Europe and the Middle East marks his his first “high profile” trip abroad Obama will visit Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and England, and possibly Iraq and Afghanistan in attempt to curb criticism that he does not have enough foreign policy credentials. Obama will give speeches in historic settings usually reserved to past presidents and will meet with foreign leaders.
    Christian Evangelicals according to a new AP-Yahoo News poll are less excited than they were for George W.Bush in 2004. Bush garned 78 percent of Evangelical support, while McCain only has 68 percent.
    In a new interview with Glamour magazine, Obama claimed that what angers him the most is when his wife Michelle is criticized. He called the attcks “infuriating,” adding “If they have a difference with me on policy, they should debate me. Not her.”
  • July 16, 2008: John McCain announces at the NAACP national convention that he supports vouchers for private schools
  • July 15, 2008: Obama announced that he does not believe that the war in Iraq is the best route for protecting the country, and and one of his top priorities would be ending the war “responsibly.”
  • July 14, 2008: In a New York Time Op-ed, Barack Obama outlined that he would consider sending 7,000 more troops/ two more brigades to Afghanistan to curb the resurgent Al-Quaida, while at the same time he would end the war in Iraq. The New Yorker debuts a contraversial caricature cover with Obama dressed as a Muslim, and his wife, Michelle dressed as an armed terrorist.

The Stats

  • July 17, 2008: According to a AP-Yahoo News poll, 30 percent view Michelle Obama favorably as opposed to 35 percent unfavorably. Although Cindy McCain garned a lower favorability rating, her unfavorable rating was also lower than Michelle Obama’s.
  • July 16, 2008: According to Evans and Novak the Electoral College results will be Obama 273, McCain 265 – Human Events
  • July 16, 2008: Obama still faces a racial gap according to a new New York Times/CBS News poll. 83 percent of black respondents had a favorable view of Obama, while only 31 percent of whites view Obama favorably.

Historians Comment

  • Tom Segev, Israel: Let’s Make a Deal:
    The senator may be surprised to discover how Americanized Israelis have become in recent decades: the American Dream is now a central element of their identity. Most Israelis feel deeply dependent on America and will not risk major policy differences with the United States. That means Obama may find them open to a new, more rational approach to the Middle East’s conflicts.
    Obama has declared his support for Israel, and most Israelis believe him: they assume that no one can get elected president of the United States today unless he or she is willing to put Israel’s security near the top of Washington’s list of priorities. For many years, however, U.S. politicians have confused “support for Israel” with support for the Israeli government. There’s a difference, and Obama may be surprised to discover that Israelis are actually much more reasonable than the hawkish parties who keep their coalition government in office—or than the inflexible pro-Israel lobby in Washington…. – Newsweek, 7-28-08
  • Timothy Garton Ash: U.K.: Help Unite Our States:
    First the good news: we are all Obamamaniacs now. In a recent Guardian/ICM poll, 53 percent of British respondents said Barack Obama would make the best U.S. president, compared with just 11 percent for John McCain. That means Obama is now the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat candidate for president. Then there’s the bad news: even in Britain, America’s linguistic motherland and staunchest ally, nearly eight years of George W. Bush have done huge damage to the United States’ reputation and authority. This distrust has reinforced a deeper historical trend. The old transatlantic West of the cold-war period is no longer cemented together by such an obvious common enemy as the Red Army in the heart of Europe. So enthusiasm for Obama personally is equaled by skepticism about his country. That means there’s a lot of ground for him to make up….
    If Obama truly wants a stronger Europe to forge a renewed strategic partnership with the United States in a world of rising giants like China and India, he will need to start getting that message across to the man who will likely be Britain’s next prime minister. If such a message comes from Obama, he might even listen. Only a charismatic American could persuade conservative Brits to become more European. – Newsweek, 7-28-08
  • Haider al-Mousawi, a history professor in the city of the holy city of Najaf on “What Iraqis Think of Barack”:
    “What is interesting is that a man who is not white is trying to be president. This is interesting because it is so unique,” says Haider al-Mousawi, a history professor in the city of the holy city of Najaf. “His second name, Hussein, is Arabic but that will make no difference because his father refused his religion and his name to get what he wanted. This is the height of pragmatism and is standard in the United States. The person’s interests are above all other things.” He continues: “Anyway, whether Obama or [Sen. John] McCain wins, the president is just the figure who works on strategies run by the institutions that run America. The president is like a middleman.” – Newsweek, 7-20-08
  • Mary Frances Berry, professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania: McCain Challenges Obama’s Military Wisdom – NPR, 7-16-08
  • Julian Zelizer on “Romney’s stock rising as possible McCain VP”:
    “They are two very different kinds of people. There is clearly a lot of tension between the two. But that never stops anyone from joining into an alliance if they can win. And given the odds Republicans face and given the challenges that McCain faces in winning, if Romney brings him that one asset that changes his odds, I think McCain would be more than willing to enter into that alliance.” – Reuters, 7-15-08
  • Gil Troy on “The first lady tightrope walk Unlike earlier presidential spouses, Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain must emphasise both career and family to avoid criticism”:
    “Unfortunately for first ladies, the game is often more about un-favourability than favourability,” Gil Troy, a historian at McGill University and the author of Leading from the Centre: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents, told me. “They rarely deliver votes, but they have much more of a track record of alienating voters or losing voters. So the first lady’s mission is to follow the political version of the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm.” – The Guardian, 7-15-08

On the Campaign Trail….

  • Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, John McCain’s campaign co-chairman upon to the Washington Times commenting about his resignation:
    “It is clear to me that Democrats want to attack me rather than debate Senator McCain on important economic issues facing the country,” Gramm said. “That kind of distraction hurts not only Senator McCain’s ability to present concrete programs to deal with the country’s problems, it hurts the country. To end this distraction and get on with the real debate, I hereby step down as co-chair of the McCain campaign and join the growing number of rank- and-file McCain supporters.” -
  • John McCain, July 18, 2008:
    “I believe that we can modify Iranian behavior. We need to exhaust every possible option before we can ever consider a military option. Americans have made great sacrifices and it has grieved us all.”
  • John McCain, Remarks to the 99th Annual NAACP Convention, July 16, 2008: “Democrats in Congress, including my opponent, oppose the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program. In remarks to the American Federation of Teachers last weekend, Senator Obama dismissed public support for private school vouchers for low-income Americans as, “tired rhetoric about vouchers and school choice.” All of that went over well with the teachers union, but where does it leave families and their children who are stuck in failing schools?Over the years, Americans have heard a lot of “tired rhetoric” about education. We’ve heard it in the endless excuses of people who seem more concerned about their own position than about our children. We’ve heard it from politicians who accept the status quo rather than stand up for real change in our public schools. Parents ask only for schools that are safe, teachers who are competent, and diplomas that open doors of opportunity. When a public system fails, repeatedly, to meet these minimal objectives, parents ask only for a choice in the education of their children. Some parents may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private school. Many will choose a charter school. No entrenched bureaucracy or union should deny parents that choice and children that opportunity….Under my reforms, moreover, parents will exercise freedom of choice in obtaining extra help for children who are falling behind. As it is, federal aid to parents for tutoring for their children has to go through another bureaucracy. They can’t purchase the tutoring directly, without having to deal with the same education establishment that failed their children in the first place. These needless restrictions will be removed, under my reforms. If a student needs extra help, parents will be able to sign them up to get it, with direct public support….

    As much as any other group in America, the NAACP has been at the center of that great and honorable cause. I’m here today as an admirer and a fellow American, an association that means more to me than any other. I am a candidate for president who seeks your vote and hopes to earn it. But whether or not I win your support, I need your goodwill and counsel. And should I succeed, I’ll need it all the more. I have always believed in this country, in a good America, a great America. But I have always known we can build a better America, where no place or person is left without hope or opportunity by the sins of injustice or indifference. It would be among the great privileges of my life to work with you in that cause.

  • Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: 99th Annual Convention of the NAACP, July 14, 2008: And if I have the privilege of serving as your next President, I will stand up for you the same way that earlier generations of Americans stood up for me – by fighting to ensure that every single one of us has the chance to make it if we try. That means removing the barriers of prejudice and misunderstanding that still exist in America. It means fighting to eliminate discrimination from every corner of our country. It means changing hearts, and changing minds, and making sure that every American is treated equally under the law….That’s how we’ll truly honor those who came before us. Because I know that Thurgood Marshall did not argue Brown versus Board of Education so that some of us could stop doing our jobs as parents. And I know that nine little children did not walk through a schoolhouse door in Little Rock so that we could stand by and let our children drop out of school and turn to gangs for the support they are not getting elsewhere. That’s not the freedom they fought so hard to achieve. That’s not the America they gave so much to build. That’s not the dream they had for our children.That’s why if we’re serious about reclaiming that dream, we have to do more in our own lives, our own families, and our own communities. That starts with providing the guidance our children need, turning off the TV, and putting away the video games; attending those parent-teacher conferences, helping our children with their homework, and setting a good example. It starts with teaching our daughters to never allow images on television to tell them what they are worth; and teaching our sons to treat women with respect, and to realize that responsibility does not end at conception; that what makes them men is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one. It starts by being good neighbors and good citizens who are willing to volunteer in our communities – and to help our synagogues and churches and community centers feed the hungry and care for the elderly. We all have to do our part to lift up this country.That’s where change begins. And that, after all, is the true genius of America – not that America is, but that America will be; not that we are perfect, but that we can make ourselves more perfect; that brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand, people who love this country can change it. And that’s our most enduring responsibility – the responsibility to future generations. We have to change this country for them. We have to leave them a planet that’s cleaner, a nation that’s safer, and a world that’s more equal and more just.

    So I’m grateful to you for all you’ve done for this campaign, but we’ve got work to do and we cannot rest. And I know that if you put your shoulders to the wheel of history and take up the cause of perfecting our union just as earlier generations of Americans did before you; if you take up the fight for opportunity and equality and prosperity for all; if you march with me and fight with me, and get your friends registered to vote, and if you stand with me this fall – then not only will we help close the responsibility deficit in this country, and not only will we help achieve social justice and economic justice for all, but I will come back here next year on the 100th anniversary of the NAACP, and I will stand before you as the President of the United States of America.

  • Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Summit on Confronting New Threats, July 16, 2008:
    We cannot wait any longer to protect the American people. I’ve made this a priority in the Senate, where I’ve worked with Indiana’s own Republican Senator Dick Lugar to pass a law accelerating our pursuit of loose nuclear materials. And I’ll lead a global effort to secure all loose nuclear materials around the world during my first term as President….

    To protect our national security, I’ll bring together government, industry, and academia to determine the best ways to guard the infrastructure that supports our power. Fortunately, right here at Purdue we have one of the country’s leading cyber programs. We need to prevent terrorists or spies from hacking into our national security networks. We need to build the capacity to identify, isolate, and respond to any cyber-attack. And we need to develop new standards for the cyber security that protects our most important infrastructure – from electrical grids to sewage systems; from air traffic control to our markets….

    That is the task that lies before us. We must never let down our guard, nor suffer another failure of imagination. It’s time for sustained and aggressive action – to take the offense against new dangers abroad, while shoring up our defenses at home. As President, I will call on the excellence and expertise of men and women like the people here today. And I will speak clearly and candidly with the American people about what can be done – what must be done – to protect our country and our communities.

  • Barack Obama in the New York Times Op-ed “My Plan for Iraq,” July 14, 2008
    The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

    The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown.

    …But this is not a strategy for success — it is a strategy for staying that runs contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, the American people and the security interests of the United States. That is why, on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war.

    …Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq…

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