- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 3, 2000

Republican Vice Presidential nominee Richard B. Cheney unexpectedly took on the pit-bull role last night moments after his formal nomination, and used Democrat Al Gore's own words to declare "It is time for them to go."
On a day when the top of the ticket, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, came to town, the former defense secretary abandoned the "vegetarian" convention and threw "red meat" to starving delegates, seasoned with sarcasm and a dash of morality.
"Bill Clinton vowed not long ago to hold onto power 'until the last hour of the last day.' That last hour is coming. That last day is near. The wheel has turned. And it is time. It is time for them to go," he said.
As for his running mate, Mr. Cheney said the change will be immediate
"Help is on the way," he promised, sparking one of the many floor demonstrations that interrupted the 2,000-word speech time after time as if they had been marked for applause by political strategists.
"George W. Bush will repair what has been damaged," he said, referring to the sex-and-lies scandals that brought impeachment of the president, grand jury investigations and a federal contempt of court fine against President Clinton.
"On the first hour of the first day, he will restore decency and integrity to the Oval Office."
The quiet man who many said was lifeless and couldn't give a speech had delegates chanting back at his prompts when he said presumed Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore and Mr. Clinton are forever bound.
"They came in together. Now, let us see them off together."
That galvanized the entire convention, bringing delegates to their feet and gesturing with their thumbs, like baseball umpires signaling a runner out.
"Now, as the man from Hope goes home to New York, Mr. Gore tries to separate himself from his leader's shadow. But somehow we will never see one without thinking of the other. Does anyone Republican or Democrat seriously believe that under Mr. Gore, the next four years would be any different from the last eight?"
Mr. Cheney's words evoked memories of the hot summer night at Madison Square Garden in 1992 when Mr. Gore repeated "It is time for them to go" eight times.
On the campaign trail, it became the Clinton-Gore ticket's mantra. When Mr. Gore asked the crowd at every stop "What time is it?" they would reply "It's time for them to go."
Mr. Cheney borrowed another line from the 1992 Democratic script for his punch line. "I have been in the company of leaders. I know what it takes."
Broadcast networks were not yet carrying the convention at 8:20 p.m. when Mr. Cheney was nominated, and it happened so fast even those watching on cable might have missed the brief nominating and seconding speeches from the floor.
"Bush-Cheney. Sounds great, doesn't it?" Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said as he declared the deed done by acclamation, setting off a quick celebration featuring signs that said "We Love Cheney" and "Our Next VP."
Mr. Bush's nomination also became official at 10:04 p.m., giving Mr. Bush 1,042 votes, eight more than needed for nomination, to seven for Alan Keyes.
The count brought Mr. Bush's parents, George and Barbara Bush, to their feet along with thousands of delegates and alternates in a celebration that looked a bit like the glory days of political conventions.
The Cheney speech enlivened a night on which prayers were joined on the floor for former President Gerald Ford, who had a stroke and was hospitalized yesterday.
Former 49ers quarterback Steve Young delivered an invocation last night that asked that the "spirit be a healing force and comfort to President and Mrs. Ford, who are in our prayers."
"You have the emotion of the moment the convention and the sobering reality that life is a fragile gift," said Bill Federer, a Missouri delegate who is running for Congress against Democratic House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt.
Threats of major protests failed to materialize, and delegates generally said they saw demonstrations only if they turned on the television. Philadelphia police arrested about 300 demonstrators Tuesday, but there were no encores yesterday.
The beat was up, and the man of the hour was Wyoming oil man Cheney, who played on public revulsion at Mr. Clinton's semantic games over definitions of words like "is" and "sex" and Mr. Gore's assertion that his questionable fund raising was bound by "no controlling legal authority."
"They will offer more lectures, and legalisms, and carefully worded denials. We offer another way, a better way, and a stiff dose of truth," said the usually restrained speaker whose style is far different than gesturing, colorful Bush speeches.
At times during the speech, it was so quiet you could hear a single cell phone ringing as delegates hung on Mr. Cheney's every word. Other times, the crowd exploded, prompting middle-age women to shuck off their shoes so they could stand on their chairs.
Lynne Cheney, a one-time head of the National Endowment of the Humanities, introduced her husband's "pretty spiffy resume" as chief of staff to President Ford, and as a congressional leader and defense secretary.
She spoke of him as a "fabulous father" who taught two daughters his fly-fishing passion, a sport she said defines him.
"It is not a sport for the impatient. And it is definitely not a sport for chatterboxes," she said of her stolid husband.
"He will be a very, very good vice president," Mrs. Cheney said.
Mr. Cheney used much of his speech to endorse the man for whom he would be number two, who will be nominated tonight and close the convention with an acceptance speech scheduled to start about 10:22 p.m.
"I have to tell you that I never expected to be in this position. But now I am back in the arena, and let me tell you why. I have been given an opportunity to serve beside a man who has the courage and the vision and the goodness to be a great president, Governor George W. Bush."
"I see in our nominee the qualities of mind and spirit our nation needs, and our history demands," he said. "To serve with this man, in this cause, is a chance I would not miss."
Even before the Cheneys reached the podium, delegates were cheering them. Huge TV screens inside First Union Center showed them walking purposefully through a draped corridor a half-hour ahead of time.
Mr. Bush arrived at midmorning aboard the red-white-and-blue Boeing 727 with "Bush Cheney" painted in huge letters along the fuselage.
He campaigned around town, in English and Spanish, assuring backers of victory after an eight-year dry spell.
"My fellow Americans, I accept your nomination," he said jokingly during a quick visit to the convention hall for sound checks in preparation for tonight's finale. "Together, we can win in November."
His day was rife with historic Philadelphia, a costumed fife and drum corps and countless actors dressed as Benjamin Franklin.
Mr. Bush even rang a replica Liberty Bell and attended a GOP fund-raiser with a target of raising $10 million.
He and Sen. John McCain hugged when they got together and they talked of plans to campaign jointly next week.
"Senator, I can't wait to campaign with you all across our country," Mr. Bush said of the trip that begins by train Friday through the Midwest and continues on a West Coast swing for three days in California, Oregon and Washington.
Mr. McCain then will host Mr. Bush for a respite at his Sedona, Ariz., home.
Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III, who will represent his party on the GOP truth squad during the Democratic convention in Los Angeles Aug. 14-17 recalled how he cut Virginia taxes in a four-minute speech last night to the convention.
"Americans worked from Jan. 1 until May 3 this year just to pay the cost of taxes," Mr. Gilmore said. "These Americans are not rich people … watching everything extra they can save disappear for somebody else's priority in Washington, D.C."


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