ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - McCain ends with his biggest themes – sacrifice, and patriotism. And he has the standing to talk about it. But it’s the crowd’s reaction that is disturbing here: the chanting of “USA” continued.
It’s a fighting close, which is intended to be stirring – but I wonder if the call to “fight” turned OFF a lot of voters. People really are tired of fighting.
My view is: it was a simple, and sincere speech that gave testimony and his character, avoiding the divisive social issues – but it did not seem to answer the question, What are you going to do about the nation’s terrible economic problems? His answers seemed very much part of the past: cut spending, cut taxes. He really needs to find a new and bolder economic plan.
If voters are choosing between two men, they will probably choose McCain. If they’re choosing between two policies, I think Obama has the edge: newer, smarter, fresher.
Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton released the following statement in response to McCain's speech:
“Tonight, John McCain said that his party was elected to change Washington, but that they let Washington change them. He’s right. He admonished the ‘old, do-nothing crowd’ in Washington, but ignored the fact that he’s been part of that crowd for twenty-six years, opposing solutions on health care, energy, and education. He talked about bipartisanship, but didn’t mention that he’s been a Bush partisan 90% of the time, that he’s run a Karl Rove campaign, and that he wants to continue this President’s disastrous economic and foreign policies for another four years. With John McCain, it’s more of the same.
“That’s not the change Americans need. Barack Obama has taken on the special interests and the lobbyists in Illinois and in Washington, and he’s won. As President, he’ll cut taxes for 95% of all working families, provide affordable health care to every American, end the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East in ten years,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.
John McCain and Sarha Palin are the 2008 Republican presidential ticket. (Photo: Mike Roselli/CNN)
A few thoughts as John McCain takes his bows: one cannot leave that speech without having enormous respect for him as a war hero and patriot. His retelling of his story tonight was extremely moving. I have long been a fan of John McCain the human being and I came away even more impressed tonight. It is worth remembering that a McCain has fought in every American war since 1776.
In terms of addressing America's big challenges, however, I found the speech much less compelling. It was a very general recitation of fairly standard Republican approaches (how is he really different from Bush on policy?), and it did not address many issues such as getting us out of an economic ditch, heading off the worst financial crisis since the Depression, exploding health care costs, and more. Overall, I thought that part of the speech was thin.
Kudos to McCain for leaving personal partisan rancor out of the speech. Personally, I wish that he had curbed some of that earlier in the convention.
Overall, I came away believing that the McCain-Palin ticket will be very formidable this fall. And even though the speech was long, I thought that when one judges its political impact, I would give it an A.
St. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - Cindy McCain praised her husband, Republican presidential nominee John McCain, as "someone of unusual strength and character" in a speech to the Republican National Convention on Thursday.
"You can trust his hand at the wheel," she said, adding: "But you know what - I've always thought it's a good idea to have a woman's hand on the wheel as well. So how about Gov. Sarah Palin!" Delegates erupted in cheers at the mention of McCain's running mate, the governor of Alaska.
Cindy McCain said her husband's run for the White House "is not about us. It's about our special and exceptional country."
She called Americans the most generous people in history, and said "our hearts are still alive with hope and belief in our individual ability to make things right if only the federal government would get itself under control and out of our way," prompting cheers from the delegates.
The convention hall fills with balloons after John McCain officially accepts the Republican presidential nomination. (Photo Credit: Mike Roselli/CNN)
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - Two protesters tried to disrupt Republican presidential nominee John McCain's speech behind and to the right of the podium.
One took off an outer garment to reveal a pink garment underneath and held a banner in front of her.
The banner was snatched away by a man nearby who threw it to the floor and the protester tried to pick it up and struggled with several people for it.
One of the protesters flashed a peace sign while being led away by a single man. The other struggled with several men before being carried up the stairs and out of the auditorium.
ST. PAUL (CNN) - When McCain talks about change, he talks about changing Washington – when the Democrats talk about change, they’re talking about changing the way things are going in the country.
It’s amazing how much animus there is against public education in this audience. That’s a controversial position – popular with this crowd, but not necessarily the country at large.
He follows that with a universally popular theme: stop giving money to countries that don’t like us. This is something that goes way beyond partisanship.
Finally, an oblique reference to his stand on an issue that’s popular outside the convention hall: global warming, where he parts ways with his party.
One thing interesting about this speech – he’s not talking much at all about social issues – a brief reference to his support for life, no talk of gay issues, a brief reference to judges that don’t legislate from the bench, but no extended focus on social issues. It’s not the core of his agenda.
McCain’s very aggressive response to the war in Georgia worried a lot of people; now he’s going out of his way to say he doesn’t want another Cold War. The worry: McCain is a neocon, with neocon advisers. He’s trying to address that now.
There’s a debate in the foreign policy community about whether he’s a realist, a neocon – or a bit of both.
Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
Thursday, Sep 4, 2008
The two party conventions showcased vastly different directions for our country. Senator Obama and Senator Biden offered the new ideas and positive change America needs and deserves after eight years of failed Republican leadership. Senator McCain and Governor Palin do not.
After listening to all the speeches this week, I heard nothing that suggests the Republicans are ready to fix the economy for middle class families, provide quality affordable health care for all Americans, guarantee equal pay for equal work for women, restore our nation's leadership in a complex world or tackle the myriad of challenges our country faces. So, to slightly amend my comments from Denver: NO WAY, NO HOW, NO McCAIN-PALIN.
(CNN) - McCain touched on immigration policy –- it’s a touchy subject. One thing the convention has largely avoided talking about is immigration, an area where McCain has often parted ways with the conservative base.
Finally, he brings out some criticism of Obama, in talking about the second element of his economic plan: cutting taxes. Cutting taxes and keeping government spending low are the foundation of Republican economics –- Reaganomics.
The question is, do people feel their economic problems caused by government spending and high taxes? They certainly did in 1980 -– but it’s 28 years later.
He keeps hitting Obama on the economy with an arguable criticism: I don’t know if it’s fair to say Obama is wishing away the global economy, as McCain is saying –- what’s the basis of that claim?
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - It’s very odd to present yourself as a maverick to the most partisan audience imaginable, as McCain is doing tonight.
So far, at least, the essence of his economic plan is to stop government spending - an arguable proposition for economic growth, but so far it’s the most concrete plan he’s provided: Stop government overspending and rescue the economy. Democrats will try to pick that apart.
He says back to basics –- he means small government.
It’s always been an article of belief among Republicans that they lost the 2006 congressional elections because of overspending. It’s simply not true –- they lost because of Iraq. But they refuse to believe it.
The Iraq issue has really receded in importance in this campaign. It was the central issue in 2006 - but not in 2008. And one of the ironies is, more Americans think we’re winning in Iraq - but more Americans believe that Obama will handle the issue better than McCain.