Fred Thompson rocked the house at the Republican Convention last night in St Paul, Minnesota, but Sen. Joe Lieberman left a larger mark on the delegates at the convention.

Democrat Lieberman went farther than he was expected to go in support of Republican McCain according to a number of delegates in the hall. Despite a host of previous speakers, it fell to the Democrat Lieberman to first mention by name Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama.

“Senator Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who can do great things for our country in the years ahead. But eloquence is no substitute for a record — not in these tough times,” Lieberman said. He added, “In the Senate he has not reached across party lines to get anything significant done, nor has he been willing to take on powerful interest groups in the Democratic Party.”

Lieberman, the former Democratic Party vice-presidential nominee, offered words in support of Vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

“He didn’t have to do that,” said one delegate.

Others on the floor echoed the thought that Lieberman went beyond what they expected of him, a simple reaffirmation of his friendship with John McCain and his description of McCain as a “good man.” Lieberman spoke directly to Democrats and Independents asking for their vote for the Republican candidate.

Lieberman argued that the Democratic campaign effort to make McCain look like a twin of George W. Bush would fail. “Don’t be fooled. God made one John McCain, and he is his own man.”

Not that former Senator Fred Thompson disappointed the delegates that I talked to. Thompson was lively and rousing. More than one delegate said that if Thompson made speeches like he did at the convention when he was a candidate for President, he may have had a chance at the nomination.

Tirso del Junco, former California Republican Party Chairman, called the speech the best of Thompson’s career. Calls of “Give ‘em hell, Fred,” rang out in the hall.

To loud applause, Thompson praised John McCain’s experience and skills and told the audience, “Two questions we don’t have to ask ourselves are who is this man and can we trust this man with the Presidency?”

Yet, Thompson did not mention McCain’s opponent, Barak Obama, by name.

Delegate Mike Spence, President of the California Republican Assembly, said, “They should mention him by name. It’s not like he doesn’t already have a high name ID.”

Spence was pleased that Lieberman mentioned Obama but thought the attacks against the Democratic nominee should be stepped up today and tomorrow. “The knives haven’t come out yet.”


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The Texas delegation has a routine going with their delegates on the floor and the Texas alternates sitting behind and above them in the stadium seating. The Texans on the floor lift their cowboy hats toward the alternates in the stands and yell: “McCain!”

The alternates lift their hats and return the cry: “Palin.”

Back and forth it echoes, time and again.


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John McCain’s “Country First” theme plastered all around the convention hall found its way into nearly every bit of business last night. Not only did the phrase come up in the major addresses of the night, it even appeared in the invocation at the beginning of the evening and in a video tribute to former president Ronald Reagan. The tribute’s narrator informed the audience that Reagan always put “country first.”


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Earlier in the day, USC’s Annenberg Communications School co-hosted a seminar with the on-line political website, Politico, called “Politics and the Media, Bridging the Political Divide.” The panel never got around to discussing the political divide but focused instead on political journalism—the difficulties for newspapers and the rise of the internet.

Politico’s reporter, Roger Simon, noted that things are changing so fast that even political pros are having trouble keeping up. He claimed that an aide to former president Bill Clinton said that Clinton didn’t grasp the idea of the constant 24-hour news cycle and instant Internet reporting, which got him in trouble during the primary campaigns.


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The Republican delegation hotels are located over 20 miles from the convention site in St. Paul. While the California Republican Party provides buses to the delegates for scheduled events, to get to other events in St. Paul requires a $100 cab ride, round trip.