Friday, August 29, 2008

Convention Watch: The American Promise

When it ended, even harsh critics had to admit that it was strong and memorable, one of the best acceptance addresses ever delivered. In “The American Promise,” Barack Obama made the case for his candidacy, outlined a clear agenda, inspired his audience, and threw down the gauntlet before John McCain. “I don’t believe that Senator McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans,” he said. “I just think he doesn’t know.” Here’s the speech:

The Republicans attempted to deflate the enthusiasm with now familiar criticisms about Obama’s inexperience, responding to rhetorical skill and charisma as if they were somehow suspect. At the same time, however, a McCain spokesman hinted that the Republican convention might be postponed if Tropical Storm Gustav strengthens into a hurricane and hits the Gulf Coast on Monday, and The Washington Post reported that President Bush might cancel his appearance Monday, ostensibly for the same reason.

On Friday, McCain picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate. Elected Alaska's first woman governor in 2006, she would also be the first Alaskan on a national ticket and the first woman GOP nominee.

In accepting the call, Palin referred to Hillary Clinton's run for president, and said, "it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all." On the other hand, she questioned the VP job in an interview a month ago, saying it didn’t seem “productive.” In fact, she admitted that she didn’t know what the vice president does.

A hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico could draw attention to the offshore oil rigs, mentioned by McCain as a solution to rising gas prices, being evacuated in the face of the storm. But it also begs the question – raised by evangelical leaders about some other natural disasters –of whether a judgment is being rendered – in this case on the Republicans. If the administration fails to respond effectively this time, it could be a turning point in the campaign.

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