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End of an Era; or End of an Error

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(St. Paul, Minnesota)

It’s was a night of nostalgia in St. Paul. The crowd honored veterans; former POWs; past GOP presidents; and the spirit of volunteerism. Like the Democrats in Denver last week, this is part “love fest”

President Bush spoke to the crowd for seven minutes tonight, via satellite from the White House. Oversight of hurricane relief on the Gulf Coast kept him away. Some delegates were relieved. The prospect of an unpopular president trying to get his successor into office seemed improbable, if not uncomfortable.

In Denver they were selling buttons and t-shirts with Mr. Bush’s photo and the phase, “End of an Error!” Few in St. Paul would find that amusing. Instead they were marking the “End of an Era.” George W. Bush was honored for his two terms; his father George H.W. Bush was here too, honored for his term and a lifetime of public service to the U.S. “41, 41, 41,” the crowd chanted as the elder Bush and wife Barbara waved on.

The current President got a good laugh, when he painted John McCain as a maverick who was not afraid to buck his own party. “He’s not afraid to tell you when he disagrees. Believe me I know,” said President Bush, and the crowd roared with laughter. McCain is different enough from Bush, that it’s silly to call his election Bush’s “third term.” We’ll see if critics can make that stick anyway.

The President praised John McCain for his courage, especially his years as a POW in Vietnam, and the physical abuse and torture he suffered. “His arms had been broken, but not his honor.” Meanwhile Mr. Bush made only passing reference to McCain’s running mate. “America will have a strong in principled Vice-president in the Governor of the great state of Alaska, Sarah Palin.”

Actually, Laura Bush talked somewhat more about Palin and her impact. Praising the VP choice, she referred to her as “a strong executive and a proven reformer, Gov. Sarah Palin”

“I am proud that America’s first female vice president will be a Republican woman,” said Mrs. Bush, “Women have always played an important role in our party.”
She then noted that the current secretaries of state, labor and education are women.

The ever popular actor-turned-Senator-turned actor Fred Thompson wowed the crowd with his speech and sprinkled it with laughter. It made you wonder why the telegenic Thompson was such a bust in this year’s Presidential primaries and then was never seriously considered for Vice-president.

Connecticut’s Independent Senator Joe Lieberman then came to the podium to endorse John McCain. Lieberman was Al Gore’s running mate ion the Democratic ticket, just eight years ago.

Delegates loved the show! Joni Craighead, the immediate past president of the Douglas County Nebraska Republican Party said, “I think it was great. I think it’s been very inspiring. There are a lot of memories here tonight.”

Craighead is not worried about any lingering controversy over Sarah Palin, who will speak to the convention Wednesday night. She feels the chatter about Palin’s teen daughter’s pregnancy; her husband’s old DUI arrest; and, an Alaska ethics probe, will not be real issues to voters. “Nope. Family should not be brought up. If anything it may strengthen the ticket. It’s something that people can identify with,” Craighead said.

If nothing else, the convention seems back on track, ready to go full bore down the stretch, after a couple of days dampened by hurricane concerns.

Check back later fro more at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

Palin Backlash Underway in St Paul

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(St. Paul, Minnesota)

Forget Hurricane Gustav. The biggest storm is St. Paul is now the “Palin backlash.” Conservatives are mounting a defense of their Vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, and the gloves are coming off.

When the elevator door opened on the third floor of the Xcel Energy Center, I got in not knowing there was a firestorm inside. “There’s a lot of sexism in the media,” I heard a loud voice say. It was former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

“She’s having to answer questions no man would ever have,” said Huckabee, to a radio reporter, who had him cornered. He was mad! After venting, he praised Barack Obama who on Monday said the candidate’s children should be “off-limits”

“I think Barack Obama has shown a lot of class,” said Huckabee. The door opened and he stormed out with aides in tow.

His sentiments are not alone though. The Palin stories and the reaction to them are the talk of St. Paul, not to mention the Xcel Center.

“Politics are a nasty business,” said Susan Sandberg, of Stillwater, Minnesota. Sandberg is the Republican Party’s chair for State Senate District 52. “I would never run for public office,” she said, “because they will dig back to elementary school for anything they can find.”

Sandberg believes the DUI arrest of Sarah Palin’s husband 22 years ago, is a case in point. And as for the Plain’s pregnant teenage daughter? “They are just normal, everyday human beings, going through life the way the rest of us do,” said Sandberg.

And she may have a point. The public probably likes politicians who look more human, rather than less so. What happened in the Palin household has happened in millions of other American families. People can relate. They probably also appreciate the candor. The story, just a few days after her VP selection, has hardly been varnished or sugar coated. If John McCain really knew all this, and stood by his pick anyway, then more power to him.

It’s interesting to note that while Mike Huckabee calls this episode sexist, Susan Sandberg does not. “I don’t think so,” she told me, “but politics is a nasty business. It’s pretty cut throat. You’ve got to be a really strong person, and realize every little skeleton in the closet will come up.”

The upside for her is that she believes Palin will attract wavering independent voters, and disgruntled woman who backed Hillary Clinton. ”I like what she (Palin) had to say,” said Sandberg, “She definitely appeals to the party base, and people who may have been on the fence. They will decide it was a good choice and go for it.”

In a close race, that could provide the margin of victory.

More to come later on: www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

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