Senator John McCain accepted his party’s nomination for President in St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center last night in front of an enthusiastic audience. However, the excitement meter was turned down a bit from the previous night when Governor Sarah Palin spoke to the convention.

McCain’s address did not provide the drama, anticipation or the curiosity that the little known governor of Alaska offered the previous night. Then again, more drama was expected from a person that the Senator’s wife, Cindy, described earlier in the evening as “a pistol packing mother of five.”

As to McCain’s speech, the reviews from the California delegation were mostly positive. McCain was lauded for his direct approach and straight talk. I was told McCain understands the need to move the government forward with 21st century ideas. Others said he delivered the speech he had to give and did it well.

Congressman Ed Royce declared the last two days the best he’s experienced in politics.

But there were also critics that thought the speech was subdued with not enough high rhetoric and stark contrasts to show the difference between McCain and Barack Obama.

McCain certainly performs best in Town Hall formats. The debates with Obama should be more to McCain’s liking than open hall speech-making at a convention.

Still, on the whole the delegates were in a good mood at the end of the evening. They believed that McCain led by example rather than by soaring rhetoric, and the delegates were optimistic that, despite all the problems facing a Republican candidate this year, McCain and Palin will win in November.

Polls released yesterday seem to support that confidence. At least this presidential contest looks like a horse race down to the wire. A CBS poll had the race even and another inside poll showed the same results.

Let the race begin.