# Tom Ridge

McCain speech/Republican convention open thread

The schedule for the evening is here. They will show the Sarah Palin biographical video during prime time, after Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and before former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, the video about John McCain, and Cindy McCain’s introduction of her husband.

It won’t have the same impact as if they had shown it before Palin introduced herself to 37 million viewers. We owe Rudy Giuliani and the chanting crowd a big thank you for running late last night.

Palin’s speech seems to have fired up the Democratic base as well as the Republicans. Barack Obama is rumored have raised nearly $10 million in the past 24 hours.

Chatter away. I’ll be watching the repeat of the proceedings later tonight and will post updates then.

UPDATE: Talking Points Memo has the full text of McCain’s speech.

Also at TPM, Josh Marshall’s liveblog of McCain’s speech is hilarious.

Shamelessly, the producers of tonight’s events thought it was a good idea to show a “9/11 tribute video” with graphic footage. You can watch the video here if you have the stomach for it.

Also, McCain started speaking at exactly 9:11 pm central time.

Blogger plf515, who survived the World Trade Center attack, posted his outraged commentary here.

I’m not a big fan of Keith Olbermann, but this time he got it exactly right:

“If at this late date any television networt had of its own accord showed that much video tape and that much graphic video tape of 911, and I speak as somebody who lost a few friends there, it, we, would be rightly eviscerated at all quarters perhaps by the Republican party itself for exploiting the memories of the dead and perhaps even for trying to evoke that pain again. If you reacted to that video tape the way I did, I apologize. It is a subject of great pain for many of us still and was probably not appropriate to be shown.”

SECOND UPDATE: I saw most of McCain’s speech on the repeat. He never said “George Bush”–just one reference to “the president,” “Laura Bush,” and “the 41st president.” Will people buy the way he is running away from the Republican Party’s record of failure? I have no idea.

A few things toward the end struck me as odd. Here is the last part of his speech:

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.

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 in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach 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, 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.

When McCain started talking about being grateful to his country for “saving” him, I was taken aback, because I thought that might offend Christians who think only Jesus saves. But McCain got around to thanking God a minute later, so I don’t think that was a gaffe.

To my ear there was a bit of a sneer in his voice as he delivered the line about 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.” I also sensed a rebuke to Obama in McCain’s line about how “nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.”

McCain spent a large part of this speech defining himself as a servant to his country. Although he nodded to Obama’s achievement at one point, it seems clear that he will continue to depict Obama as a celebrity whose campaign is all about himself.

But look what he said at the very end:

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.

Sounds like McCain is worried about Republicans resigning themselves to Obama’s inevitable history-making victory. It was strange to hear him acknowledge that pessimism about his chances at what should have been the climax of his speech.

THIRD UPDATE: This part of the speech was drafted poorly:

I will keep taxes low and cut them where I can. My opponent will raise them. 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. My health care plan will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance. His plan will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a government run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.

The crowd kept interrupting with boos after McCain’s description of what Obama would do. It came across as very negative.

These contrasts should have been flipped around so that the crowd kept interrupting McCain with applause after he contrasted his opponent’s plans with his own ideas. You want television viewers to see the audience repeatedly cheering the nominee.

Continue Reading...

Final McCain VP speculation thread

Rumor has it that John McCain will officially announce his running mate tomorrow in Ohio. The Republicans will likely leak the news this evening so that Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at Mile High Stadium’s Invesco Field won’t dominate all the media commentary.

Who’s it gonna be?

I still think “Biden crimps McCain’s VP choice.”

My best guess is that McCain will pick Mitt Romney. The downside is that the ticket can be ridiculed as “Rich and Richer,” but the upside is that Romney is seasoned enough to go head-to-head with Biden in a debate. I can’t say the same for other possible choices such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal or Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Also, I think I saw one poll suggesting Romney would help McCain in Florida, where recent polls show Obama and McCain within the margin of error.

Some people in the McCain campaign are supposedly pushing for Joe Lieberman to be the running mate. Although he still caucuses with Senate Democrats, he has been campaigning for McCain and using Republican talking points against Obama.

I can’t imagine McCain would dare to pick Lieberman. The beltway media would love the bipartisan-looking ticket, but the Republican base would go ballistic if McCain picked someone pro-choice. Although I don’t like Lieberman, his voting record is solidly Democratic.

The religious right doesn’t even want former Pennsylvania Governor and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge on the ticket, because he is pro-choice. At least Ridge is a lifelong Republican.

Open Left user leshrac55 pointed me toward this Huffington Post article about how Karl Rove has asked Lieberman to withdraw his name as a possible running mate, but Lieberman declined to do so.

(UPDATE: More rumors that McCain  really wants to pick Lieberman.)

I’ve seen no sign that McCain has ever considered Mike Huckabee for VP, but after watching Huckabee on The Colbert Report last night, I’m more convinced than ever that we haven’t heard the last from him. He’ll be running for president in 2012 or 2016 for sure. I disagree with many of his views, but I give Huckabee a lot of credit for praising Michelle Obama’s speech and pointing out the absurdity of conservative pundit spin about Hillary Clinton’s speech.

Also, I don’t recall hearing any Republican besides Huckabee express pride that this country has nominated a black man for president. On Colbert’s show, he said that while he won’t vote for Obama and wouldn’t like to see him become president, he remembers growing up with racism in the deep South, and he’s glad Obama’s race didn’t prevent him from winning the nomination.

I have heard some speculation that McCain will pick a woman, most likely Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison now that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is mired in scandal.

What do you think?