Bill Schneider has covered political conventions for more than 30 years and has covered them for CNN since the 1992 election.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - It's odd to present yourself as a maverick to the most partisan audience imaginable, as John McCain did Thursday night.
But the real audience wasn't sitting in the Xcel Center this evening to watch the Arizona senator accept the Republican Party's presidential nomination; it was the independents at home looking for a reason to vote for him.
It wasn't that long ago that McCain was the Republican most admired among Democrats. He retains some residual popularity with Democrats and particularly independents.
But some of that glow has faded.
He's certainly doing his best to regain some of that luster. He didn't talk much at all about divisive 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. That's not the core of his agenda.
But in a moment sure to be featured in campaign ads from now to November, he paid tribute to the sitting Republican president, George W. Bush. A risky move.