- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 4, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

St. PaulGOP planners hope for an enthusiasm crescendo in St. Paul on Day 3 of the Republican convention. After speeches Tuesday by former Sen. Fred Thompson and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, delegates tonight hear from Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. But the main event is the much-anticipated speech by vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, which is scheduled for prime time. “This has been an odd event so far,” a GOP official told me. “Hurricane Gustav confused people’s emotions. How can you cheer and chant when so many people in the Gulf are in danger? But now that the situation has stabilized, we think enthusiasm will naturally build as concerns about the hurricane ease.”

Mr. Lieberman’s political courage was on display last night, creating one of the most moving moments thus far at the convention. One veteran Republican told me this: “Joe Lieberman’s toast. He has to go back to Washington and face a bunch of Democratic senators and work with them for the rest of the year - and beyond. Next year, there will be even more Democrats in the Senate. And he will be even more reviled by the left and liberal bloggers. He didn’t have to come here. He could have just said nice things about his friend John McCain. But he came to this convention, went on national TV and told people the way to put American first was to vote for John McCain. That took guts. He’ll pay a price. And it’s something I will never forget.” But even Lieberman’s speech was an odd spectacle — a Democratic senator speaking to Republican delegates.

Delegates and planners are excited to hear from Mrs. Palin. Her speech may represent an emotional turning point in this convention, as delegates pivot from worries about hurricanes and mixed emotions to full-throated focus on electing a Republican ticket to the White House.

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