RNC gets back on track

ST. PAUL, Minn. - September 2, 2008 - The crowd finally got to hear from President Bush, who's speech was postponed from Monday.

He vigorously endorsed John McCain, the man with whom he fought a nasty primary battle just eight years ago.

"My fellow citizens, we live in a dangerous world, and we need a President who understands the lessons of September 11, 2001. To protect America, we must stay on the offense, stop attacks before they happen, and no wait to be hit again. The man we need is John McCain!" President Bush said.

Fred Thompson is one of McCain's former foes in the presidential primaries.

The one-time Tennessee senator lauded McCain for his dedication in doing what is right, not what is popular.

Thompson also defended running mate Sarah Palin, saying she has proven to be a courageous reformer.

Rudy Giuliani, another GOP runner-up, was supposed to deliver the keynote Tuesday night, but was bumped.

Instead, the Xcel Center crowd heard from Joe Lieberman.

The independent senator ran alongside Al Gore in 2000, and is a close friend of McCain.

In fact, some believe McCain wanted to pick Lieberman as his VP, but feared a conservative backlash because Lieberman favors abortion rights.

"What you can expect from John McCain as President is precisely what he's done this week: Put our country first!" Lieberman said. "That's not a political posture by John. That's the code by which he has lived his entire life, and that is the code he will carry into the White House next January.

This, as Action News caught up with local delegates on the floor of the RNC. They couldn't hide their enthusiasm that the party was back on-air, and back on message.

"There's a ton of energy and a lot of excitement, a lot of excitement.. More than I've seen in years," said Tom Rosse, the Delaware McCain Campaign Chair.

When asked what they thought of President Bush making his speech via satellite, delegates say they approve of the decision.

"I wouldn't make a big deal of it," said Rep. Mike Castle. "On the other hand, his approval ratings are not that high. There are probably those more satisfied that he's not here."

"He was criticized last time with Katrina, so he's doing what he's paid to do," said Rep. Joe Pitts.

One thing is clear, Republicans hope tonight marks a return to traditional campaigning.

Election day is now just 9 weeks away.

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