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.
There is a new inconvenient truth and that is that Barack Obama will loose this election if they do not hit Gov. Palin head on. The right has been so energized that they will not be voting for Senator McCain, they will be voting for Gov. Palin. Senator McCain's speech was weak and he looks old and tired and unable to deliver voters based on his moderate track record. The McCain campaign knows this and they will keep Gov. Palin insulated from the mainstream press and filter all of her press exposure through her hometown news organizations. The McCarthy era will be back.
Here is my biggest thing outside of his policies....McCain is a cheater. I believe once a cheater....always a cheater. If you can betray someone that close to you....what would stop you from screwing over every person in this country? The answer is nothing. Nothing will stop him.
How pathetic and deseprate were McCain and the other speechmakers last night?
I thought the Biography Channel was A&E, but I could have sworn that was what I was watching last night at the RNC.
I suppose when you cannot justify the present and last 8 years, have no plans, solutions, answers or ideas for the future, the only thing you can do is stay stuck in the past. ATTACK! ATTACK! ATTACK! is right out of the republican playbook.
Face it, John McCain is decades past his prime and has become a bitter, angry, selfish OLD MAN!
And to think he began his speech by praising Bush. If anyone had any doubts at all about McCain, they should have been dispelled last night.
How very sad. VOTE NO ON "GEEZER and GIDGET" in November.
mccain short on answers, long on stupidity
Your not going to win this election. Period.
I had to laugh at McCain's characterization of himself as a changed man when he returned from Vietnam. From all I've read, his refusal to accept early release was the first really decent thing he did – and the last for a while. When he returned to the US and found his wife had been critically hurt in a car accident and physically changed – he started carousing around, went to Hawaii, met Cindy and then divorced his crippled wife.
This is the kind of person we want running our country?
McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis owes nothing to the American people, as to a proper introduction is outrageous! To say that it doesn't matter as long as we win! They're openly admitting to you, the only obligation the McCain campaign has to the American public is convincing you to vote for them. The truth ain't got nothing to do with it.
What treatment do you think we can expect from a potential administration if from the BEGINNING they say "No questions at this time"?
Another attempt of a candidate trying to get elected via smoke screen rather than offering solutions. It's worked for the republicans before, so instead of updating their solutions for the country, they are counting on diverting our attention to something, anything, long enought to steal the election.
This community organizer is deploying her network to stop this fearmongering candidate and his fishy side-kick from succeeding.
John McCain has served is country well. There is no doubt about that and nobody has ever doubted that.
Here's the deal breaker for me though. After nearly a year of running on experience John McCain is only NOW realizing how much things need to change in this country for the American citizens? Suddenly the guy has an epiphany that jobless rates are soaring, foreclosures are soaring, energy costs are soaring, and the whole time we have a iron fisted executive branch that cares little about the legislative branch (and vice versa)?
Quite frankly McCain's lack of foresight frightens the hell out me. It should frighten the hell out of everyone.
On the flip side you have Barack Obama who has been running on the same message that McCain just preached about for nearly two years, not two days. He may not have the answers everyone likes, he may not have the experience everyone would find ideal, but it's pretty apparent by McCain's change of tactics that Obama gets it.