Tonight Sen. John McCain takes the stage and the microphone at the Republican National Convention. Traditionally, the nominee’s speech is the main act and apex of a presidential nominating convention. But McCain’s moment in the spotlight comes on the heels of a speech that – no exaggeration – rocked the house. In her rousing remarks last night, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain’s vice presidential pick, pulled no punches and landed them with a high-wattage smile. (Cue up her well-received joke about pitbulls, hockey moms and lipstick.)
If the yardstick is energy and sheer mojo, McCain has a tough act to follow. Whether or not you were impressed with the substance of Palin’s speech, her delivery was widely praised. Formal speeches have never been McCain’s strong suit, and it’s not a stretch to say teleprompters aren’t always his best friend. McCain prefers informal forums. Remember how his staff challenged the Obama campaign to a series of 10 joint town hall meetings back in June? To be sure, tonight’s audience is as safe and friendly as they come if you’re the Republican presidential nominee. And after Palin’s performance, the delegates certainly seem revved up. The momentum is McCain’s to lose - or ride to new heights.
When McCain takes the stage around 10:30 ET, he’ll formally accept his party’s nomination. But more than that, his speech is a high-stakes exercise in which he’ll lay out his vision for the country’s future and try to convince voters that he’s the best candidate. Here are some numbers to think about as you watch: There are just 60 days until election day; 37 million viewers watched Sarah Palin’s speech last night; the latest CNN poll of polls shows Obama leading McCain by just four points.
We’d love to hear what you’ll be listening for tonight in McCain’s speech. We’re also wondering what you think about the reaction Palin’s speech is getting. Stay with CNN for live coverage of the RNC all evening. Here’s tonight’s lineup:
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION/SEPT. 4, 2008
Video: Hispanic Video
Music & Entertainment
James McEachin, Author, Actor, Korean War Vet
Introduction of Presiding Officer
Call to Order
Chairman Mike Duncan
Introduction of Colors
Presentation of Colors
Fort Snelling Joint Services Color Guards
Pledge of Allegiance
U.S. Olympians: Ryan Berube, Mitch Gaylord, Brittany Hayes, Barbra Higgins, Larsen Jensen, Elle Logan, Marcus McElhenney, John Naber.
Trace Adkins, Musician
Archbishop Demetrios, New York, NY
Posting of Colors
Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
Chairman of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee
Candidate Erik Paulsen (MN)
Candidate Jay Love (AL)
Charlie Summers (ME)
Candidate Aaron Shock (IL)
Candidate David Cappiello (CT)
Sen. John Ensign (NV)
Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee
Video: “Country First: Peace”
(Robert Duvall voice-over)
Introduction of Presiding Officer
Statement of Rules re: Requirements for Nomination of V.P. Candidate
Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY)
Speech: Remarks re: V.P. Nomination
Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. (UT)
Recognition of Delegate for Purpose of Making a Motion
Motion to Nominate V.P. by Acclamation
Floor: Alaska Delegation
Request for Second
Adoption & Announcement of Nominee
Appointment of Committee to Notify & Escort V.P. Candidate
Speech: “Spending – Differences in McCain vs. Obama Approach”
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, (TN)
Speech: “Taxes/Special Needs Children”
Rosario Marin, Fmr. Treasurer of the U.S.
(Note: Marin has a Down syndrome child; her speech will concentrate on assistance to special needs children.)
Speech: Ask for Hurricane Relief
Joe Watkins, Philadelphia, PA
Speech: “American Leadership Key”
Sen. Mel Martinez (FL)
Speech: “It Takes John McCain/Putting Country First”
Gov. Tim Pawlenty (MN)
Speech with video: “Doing the Right Thing in the World”
Fmr. U.S. Sen. Bill Frist
Speech: “They are Counting on Us: Iraq”
Lt. Gen. Carol Mutter, USMC (Ret.) Brownsburg, TX
Sen. Sam Brownback (KS)
Speech: Remarks and Introduction of Video
Rep. Mary Fallin (OK)
Video: “World Stood Still” (re: 9-11)
Brian Clay, U.S. Olympic Athlete (Beijing Decathlon)
Joe Gibbs, Fmr. Head Coach, Washington Redskins
Speech: “We are Winning”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC)
Video: V.P. Nominee – Gov. Sarah Palin
Speech: “Proven Leader”
Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania and first Secretary of Department of Homeland Security
Video: “America’s Place in the World” (Cindy McCain)
Mrs. Cindy McCain
Video: Sen. John McCain
Speech: Nomination Acceptance Speech
Sen. John McCain (AZ)
Floor Demonstration, Balloon Drop, Familes on Stage
McCain and V.P. Candidate Families
Introduction of Presiding Officer John Boehner
Introduction of Benediction
Pastor Dan Yeary, Phoenix (AZ)
Introduction of Delegate for Motion
Motion to Adjourn Sine Die
Floor – Virginia Delegation
Adoption and Adjournment
Editor's Note: Jim Wallis is a bestselling author, public theologian, speaker, preacher, and international commentator on religion and public life, faith and politics. Here is a blog the website sojo.net
President and Executive Director, Sojourners
Whew. Take a breath, Christians! I just read all the comments to my post Friday on Barack Obama's historic acceptance speech of a major party's nomination to the highest office in the country - the first African American to have achieved that American milestone. The post was about the historical significance of that event and speech, especially on the very day of the 45 anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s most remembered "I Have A Dream" speech at the 1963 March on Washington.
I didn't even comment on the content of the speech, except to say it allowed Obama to clearly and eloquently present himself and his policy ideas, so Americans could agree or disagree. But the heat of the comments to the post was amazing and alarming to me. So I think it is time to plead for some Christian civility in this election year.
Let me give an example of Christian civility from Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, which is a leading institution of the "Religious Right" and whom nobody would confuse with a Democratic or Obama supporter.
Editor's Note: Kate Barron is Oxfam America’s Louisiana Community Development Specialist. She has spent the past 2+ years working with residents of and groups assisting Terrebonne Parish, and also Plaquemines, Lafourche and Vermillion parishes, in its recovery from hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Hurricane Gustav has exacerbated an already bad situation for this area. Kate briefly evacuated to family in Baton Rouge, but is driving back into the affected parishes. She shares her experience in the storm here… both before, and after:
Oxfam America Louisiana Community Development Specialist
Last Friday night, August 29th, 2008 was three years to the day of Hurricane Katrina. And there I was, packing up my house, scrambling to whip up an evacuation plan to family in Baton Rouge: Gustav loomed on the horizon.
I work as the Louisiana field representative for Oxfam America, the international humanitarian aid agency, and have spent the past two and a half years in the rural coastal communities south and west of New Orleans as part of the long and heartbreakingly inconsistent recovery from Katrina and Rita. My role in Oxfam’s work is to link small, local non-profits who are renewing these very communities to resources and opportunities that sustain their good work and amplify their voice.
Prior to Hurricane Gustav making landfall in Cocodrie this weekend, one of the community groups that Oxfam’s Gulf Coast Recovery Program supported was Bayou Grace Community Services. As I headed back to Gustav’s ground zero, Terrebonne parish, the day after the storm I spoke with Courtney Howell, Bayou Grace’s now evacuated Executive Director who formed her organization when Hurricane Rita brought over 6 feet of water into her community, Chauvin. She has spent the past three years helping her area recover holistically, as well as to get more informed and involved in its own sustainability and wellness. Courtney is a Gulf Coast leader in the call for citizens to realize one very important thing: Those levees that the media couldn’t take its eyes off this week are a third line of defense.
Joe Johns | BIO
CNN CorrespondentFederal prosecutors today released details of what they called a plan by a 23 year old man to set off bombs to coincide with the Republican National Convention.
Matthew DePalma of Flint, Michigan is the suspect.
He is charged with possessing Molotov cocktails. The criminal complaint also alleges that DePalma in July 2008 (at something called the Crimethinc Convergence, which looks vaguely on-line like an Anarchists' Convention), told an FBI confidential source that he wanted to travel to the RNC to "make some bombs" and "blow sh*t up."
Later in August, the affidavit says DePalma now begin recorded on FBI audio and video, told the source that he wanted to build a chemical bomb to cause a power outage at the RNC.
He also expressed his interest in Molotov cocktails. The source apparently went with the defendant to buy gasoline and diesel fuel, and witnessed the suspect creating a "flammable gelatin" for Molotov cocktails.
Still the document indicated that the defendant indicated a power outage at the convention hall was his main purpose. He was locked up August 30th.
Not clear how far he got on the main plan. The complaint said there was cause to believe he had five Molotov cocktails in his possession when it was filed.
Editors note: Republican Leslie Sanchez was director of the Bush White House Initiative on Hispanic Education from 2001 to 2003 and is the author of "Los Republicanos: Why Hispanics and Republicans Need Each Other." She is not a paid consultant to any current candidate. Sanchez is CEO of the Impacto Group, which specializes in market research about women and Hispanics for its corporate and nonprofit clients.
AC360° Contributor | Bio
In 1993, Kevin Kline starred in a movie called "Dave," playing a look-alike who winds up impersonating the president. In the movie, the real president has a stroke and is kept on life support in a restricted area of the White House by a power-mad chief of staff, played by Frank Langella. Dave fills in.
He brings in his accountant, and over bratwurst, they find $600 million to build homeless shelters for kids. At a Cabinet meeting, he gets the commerce secretary to kill an expensive program to make Americans feel good about the cars they've already bought. He becomes a better, more beloved president than the real one.
Dave's tagline was, "In a country where anybody can become president, anybody just did."
Editor's note: CNN contributor Hilary Rosen is the political director and Washington editor at large of HuffingtonPost.com, which describes itself as an Internet newspaper and focuses on politics from a liberal point of view. A longtime Democratic adviser, Rosen is a former CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America and supported Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Warning! This pundit isn't feeling the same way as many of my colleagues about Sarah Palin. She is being attacked for her lack of experience for the job and for whether she should be putting her family first instead of her career.
This just isn't that unusual in my book. And the more it goes on, the more uncomfortable I feel with that message.
Let's reflect. In her acceptance speech, we saw a woman who was compelling, charming and aggressively partisan. She succeeded in demonstrating that she is a regular mom who came to government to make a difference.
And she had that crowd in the convention hall eating out of her hands. Celebrity? It will be hard for the Republicans to attack Sen. Barack Obama for his celebrity now that they have one of their own.
A superstar of the radical right was made Wednesday night. And she may also have made some headway with those who buy her folksiness without knowing the extreme nature of her actual policy views
Ready for today's Beat 360°?
Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too.
Check back later to see if you are our favorite!
Here is 'Beat 360°’ pic of the day:
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin talks with Republican presidential candidate John McCain after he joined her on stage following her speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn last night.
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions!
Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
But wait!… There’s more!
When you win ‘Beat 360°’ not only do you get on-air prime-time name recognition (complete with bragging rights over all your friends, family, and jealous competitors), but you get a “I Won the Beat 360° Challenge” T-shirt!
Good luck to all!
Update: Today's winner is Melanie from Surrey, Canada who wrote:
Gov. Palin takes a moment for sweet talk, in between her tough talk.
Senior International Correspondent
It's been over a year since I've been in Pakistan.
For the longest time I couldn't get a visa, my reporting on former President Musharraf's failed policies to take on the Taliban had apparently won me powerful enemies Pakistani insiders told me. But that's all changed now.
The former military dictator is out of power and the new government says it wants to open it's doors to all reporters. Political leadership isn't the only thing that's changed. When I was last here Spring 2007 the Taliban were a growing problem in the border region, now they are much stronger and the government is waging an increasingly violent war against them.
When I pick up the daily news papers here the headlines are dominated by reports of pro government tribes taking on the Taliban, government jets bombing Taliban hide outs. It was never this way before.
CNN Ticker Producer
Prominent Republican analysts Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy became the latest victims of an open microphone Wednesday, caught after a segment on MSNBC trashing John McCain's pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Noonan, a Wall Street Journal columnist and former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, and Murphy, a campaign strategist and onetime aide to John McCain, can both be heard expressing disbelief with the pick of Palin after they apparently thought they were in a commercial break.
“I come out of the blue swing-state governor world, Engler, Whitman, Thompson, Mitt Romney,” Murphy said during the mishap which has since been posted on YouTube. Murphy later flatly says of the pick, "It's not going to work."
Noonan is heard going even further, saying of the presidential race, "It's over."
"I think they went for this — excuse me– political bulls–t about narratives," Noonan also said. "Every time the Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and it's not what they're good at, they blow it."
Murphy, who was a senior adviser to John McCain's 2000 presidential bid, also adds, "You know what's really the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical."
UPDATE: Writing on the Wall Street Journal Web site, Noonan apologizes for using profanity and says she was not claiming McCain's campaign was "over."
"In our off-air conversation, I got on the subject of the leaders of the Republican party assuming, now, that whatever the base of the Republican party thinks is what America thinks. I made the case that this is no longer true, that party leaders seem to me stuck in the assumptions of 1988 and 1994, the assumptions that reigned when they were young and coming up," she writes. "The first lesson they learned is the one they remember," I said to [MSNBC's Chuck] Todd — and I'm pretty certain that is a direct quote. But, I argued, that's over, those assumptions are yesterday, the party can no longer assume that its base is utterly in line with the thinking of the American people. And when I said, "It's over!" — and I said it more than once — that is what I was referring to."
As I predicted earlier yesterday, Sarah Palin did just fine.
In fact, she delivered a brilliant speech. It was a classic Republican speech–written by Matthew Scully of the Bush speechwriting shop–chock full of conservative populism, a cultural "torpedo" as Chris Mathews is saying as I write this, aimed directly at Barack and Michelle Obama. She was far more effective, using fewer words than the over-the-top Rudy Giuliani, in tearing down the Obama candidacy. There was not much substance–issues don't matter, remember?–and her description of Obama's policies, particularly his tax policies, was quite inaccurate.
But that hardly matters. Palin established herself as a major-league performer, a very effective messenger for the perennial Republican themes of low taxes and strong defense. And a new theme–government reform–that changes the terrain of the election and will have to be forcefully countered by the Democrats. Obama will have to be every bit as sharp–and down to earth–as he was in his speech last week as this goes forward.
Last week, when Bill Clinton began to speak, I thought: this turns this lugubrious convention around. I thought the same as Palin spoke tonight. John McCain, not nearly the speaker that Palin seems to be, has a tough act to follow tomorrow night.