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GOP convention: The race is on

Critics said Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had to deliver the speech of her political life tonight or risk her career and throw into question the judgment of GOP presidential nominee John McCain.

If GOP delegates Jill Buck of Pleasanton and Jenniffer Rodriguez of Fremont were on a judging panel, Palin would receive 10s across the board.

“I have never felt so liberated!” Buck said in text message from the floor.

“Amazing!” Rodriguez said, also in a text message.

Granted, the Republicans were highly primed for Palin’s highly anticipated speech. Three former Republican presidential candidates — Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani — had already ratcheted up the energy in the packed, 20,000-seat Xcel Center. They sneered at and heaped scorn upon the Democratic ticket in a series of snarky shots mixed with praise for McCain and Palin, spurring the delegates into standing ovation after standing ovation.

But McCain clearly saw something in Palin that most Americans had not had a chance to see until tonight: A woman who knows how to command attention.

She is well-spoken and funny. Her family is beautiful. She has a fascinating personal narrative. She delivered her barbs at the Democrats with that electric smile.

Her advocates describe her as tough. She needs to be. If the partisan nature of these two political conventions are any indication of how this race will play out in the next two months, it’s going to be a rough one.

Here are a couple of videos of Palin coming out on stage, followed by McCain’s appearance with the Palin family. The presidential nominee doesn’t typically come out on veep night but Obama started it last week at the Democratic convention.

(I also posted the text of Palin’s speech after the “more” button.)

Palin was impressive.

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GOP convention: Hawaii governor introduces Palin

Republican leaders gave the virtually unknown mayor of Hawaii, Laura Lingle, the opportunity to give delegates the first detailed speech of the convention about the background and qualifications of presumed veep nominee Alaska Mayor Sarah Palin a few minutes ago.

A former small city mayor herself and a female GOP governor, Lingle, who was the mayor of Maui, gave a cogent and rousing speech about Palin. Lingle emphasized Palin’s executive experience as a governor with budget and management experience.

Lingle also reminded delegates — and the millions of people watching on television — that Palin is just like any other parent whose family has its ups and downs. It was recently revealed that Palin’s 17-year-old daughter is pregnant and planning to marry the baby’s father.

Read more for her full comments: Continue Reading

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GOP convention: Huckabee delivers

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee proved once again why he has endured as a popular figure despite his inability to win the presidential GOP nomination.

With his preacher background, he enthralled Republicans with his story-telling and sharp one-liners. He honestly admitted at the opening of his speech that McCain was his second choice for president, a not-so-subtle dig at former candidate Mitt Romney.

Some of his best lines were:

I am sick and tired of hearing about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s lack of experience. She got more votes running as mayor of Wasilla (population 10,000) than Joe Biden did running for the president of the United States.” (Biden is the Democrat’s vice presidential nominee and a Delaware senator.)

‘m not a Republican because I grew up rich, but because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me.

Read more for Huckabee’s full prepared comments: Continue Reading

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GOP convention: Romney takes the stage

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the first of three former GOP candidates to speak at the Republican National Convention, has just spoken to delegates. Next up is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former New York Gov. Rudy Giuliani.

All three are expected to hammer the Democratic ticket of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and Deleware Sen. Joe Biden.

Romney’s biggest laugh line came when he recommended a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: Ground Democrat Al Gore’s jet.

Here are excerpts of Romney’s speech emailed prior to his speech: Continue Reading