The Washington Times - September 3, 2008, 09:30PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele delivered a patriotic treatise at the Republican National Convention that doubled as an attack on Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama’s message of change.

In remarks delivered to delegates just before 8 p.m., Mr. Steele, now the chairman of GOPAC, stressed his mother’s example of leadership and said Republican nominee Sen. John McCain is the leader the country needs now.

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He also took a veiled shot at Mr. Obama’s soaring rhetoric, which is often criticized by Republicans for emphasizing style over substance.

“In times such as these, we need a leader who will work for the public’s interest, not clamor for public applause,” said Mr. Steele, who also addressed Republicans at the 2004 convention. “In times such as these, we need John McCain.”

Mr. Steele tied in key Republican principles of lower taxes and national security with the convention theme of “Country First.”

He repeatedly posed the question “Do you want to keep your country first?” to delegates, before imploring them to elect Mr. McCain as the candidate who can achieve ideals like lowering taxes and decreasing the country’s dependency on foreign oil.

“Let me make it real clear: Drill, baby, drill, and drill now,” said Mr. Steele, drawing applause from the crowd.

As he drew to a close, Mr. Steele said Mr. McCain can help shed partisan labels.

“The only label that really matters is American,” Mr. Steele said. “My friends, that’s appropriate. That’s putting country first. That’s John McCain.”

 

Gary Emerling reporter, The Washington Times