St. Paul: September 5, 2008- IR Summary/NYT - While accepting the Republican Presidential Nomination, Senator John McCain pledged in his speech on Thursday that he would move the nation beyond “partisan rancor” by narrowing self-interest. He markedly toned down the blistering attacks on Senator Barack Obama that had filled the first nights of his convention.
Standing in the center of an arena here, surrounded by thousands of Republican delegates, Mr. McCain firmly signaled that he intended to seize the mantle of change Mr. Obama claimed in his own unlikely bid for his party’s nomination.
Mr. McCain suggested that his choice of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate gave him the license to run as an outsider against Washington, even though he has served in Congress for more than 25 years.
“Let me just offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first-country-second crowd: Change is coming,” Mr. McCain said.
With his speech, Mr. McCain laid out the broad outlines of his general election campaign. He sought to move from a convention marked by an intense effort to reassure the party base to an appeal to a broader general election audience that polling suggests has turned sharply on Republicans and President Bush.
He invoked, in one of the most emotional moments of the night, his struggles as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
Mr. McCain also returned to what has been his signature theme as a candidate, including in his unsuccessful 2000 campaign: that he is a politician prepared to defy his own party.
He used the word “fight” 43 times in the course of the speech, as he sought to present himself as the insurgent he was known as before the primaries, when he veered to the right.
“Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight,” he said at the end of his speech. “Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.”
Much of the address, though delivered at one of the most prominent moments of a presidential campaign, was little different from the stump speech he has been delivering across the country.
And it was often offered in a monotone as he stood before a solid-color backdrop that flicked from green to blue. The reaction was far more subdued than it was the night before for his running mate, Ms. Palin. There were stretches in which he drew only a smattering of applause.
“I liked the conservative tone and that he talking about being prolife, self-sufficient — let’s keep the money from countries that don’t like us,” said Peggy Lambert, a delegate from Maryville, Tenn.. “But man, Sarah Palin! John is gonna have trouble keeping up with her.”
One of the livelier moments of the evening came when Mr. McCain was interrupted by several antiwar protestors who had infiltrated the hall. Their signs were quickly ripped from their hands, and they were carried out of the arena as the crowd shouted, “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” Full