- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 2, 2000

Sen. John McCain, terming himself "a distant runner-up," last night asked independent and Democrat supporters of his failed Republican candidacy to join him on Gov. George W. Bush's bandwagon to the White House.
"I support him. I am grateful to him. And I am proud of him," Mr. McCain told the Republican National Convention as he built up an adversary he tore down on the campaign trail. Twice he referred to "My friend, Governor Bush" and praised the whole Bush family.
"We need to get riled up a bit, and stand up for the values that made America great," said the Arizona senator and war hero whose starring role was nonetheless a bit part at a convention he hoped would nominate him for the presidency.
In the other major prime-time televised speech from the First Union Center here Bush foreign policy adviser Condoleezza Rice introduced by Mr. Bush via satellite from Dwight Eisenhower's old library at Gettysburg, Pa. denounced the trend to use American troops as international peacekeepers and police, promising that Mr. Bush feels the same way.
"As commander in chief, I will rebuild America's military and strengthen our alliances," Mr. Bush said in his introductions.
"If the time ever comes to use military force, President George W. Bush will do so to win, because for him victory is not a dirty word," said Miss Rice, who was President Bush's Soviet adviser as well and left her post as provost of Stanford University to work in the campaign.
"He recognizes that the magnificent men and women of America's armed services are not a global police force. They are not the world's 911," said the speaker, who also mentioned the name of Ronald Reagan that largely had been unspoken before a near-worshipful audience.
"We remember those great Republican presidents who sustained American leadership through the decades, ended the Cold War and lifted our nuclear nightmare. Thank you Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush," she said.
Former Presidents Bush and Ford got a hero's welcome when they made a grand entrance together with their wives at 9 p.m., and Nancy Reagan represented her husband who rarely leaves home.
Mr. McCain, a Navy pilot imprisoned for 5 and 1/2 years in the Hanoi Hilton, was anchorman in a relay of war veterans, including Desert Storm commander H. Norman Schwarzkopf and 1996 nominee Bob Dole, who portrayed the Texas governor as a strong leader who would restore pride to the job of commander in chief.
Both the retired general and Mr. Dole, who was decorated for gallantry in World War II, made a plea to improve personal conditions and military readiness in a force where thousands of serving families rely on food stamps to get by.
"If American forces are called into action again, we must make sure that they go into battle as well-equipped, well-trained and highly motivated as the men and women of Desert Storm," said Gen. Schwarzkopf, who said the nation has fewer than half as many combat divisions as before Desert Storm and only two-thirds of the Navy battle force.
"Knowing this and recalling back to Operation Desert Storm, I can't help asking myself: 'Wouldn't it be great for our armed forces and for America if we could have another commander in chief named George Bush with Dick Cheney on his team?' " said Gen. Schwarzkopf, speaking via satellite from the deck of a mothballed battleship with an audience of veterans seated on deck.
Mr. Dole asked veterans among the delegates and spectators to stand when their service songs were played and many did, to a cascade of applause.
"We look to Governor Bush and Secretary Cheney to raise our sights, and to restore honor and civility to our public life," Mr. Dole said, playing his part as the first half of a husband-and-wife team on the convention's second night.
"Throughout his career, he has appealed to the best in people, bridging our differences rather than exploiting them. George W. Bush will be a different kind of leader," said Elizabeth Dole.
"I speak not of military weapons, but of moral ones, of the defense of values as well as territory," Mrs. Dole said when her turn came in the 10 o'clock hour, sandwiched between Miss Rice and Mr. McCain.
She called her concern national security of a different kind and said Mr. Bush would be a warrior on both fronts.
"As president, he will put an end to the smash-mouth politics of recent years and to the name-calling that tarnishes our trust and alienates so many real people whose real problems can never be solved in a focus group or soothed by a spin-doctor," said Mrs. Dole, who had been widely discussed as a possible vice-presidential candidate on the Bush ticket.
"George W. Bush understands there is power, and there is a higher power. He knows there is no strength without integrity; no security apart from strong character," she said.
For the delegates, a highlight of the evening was video tributes to Presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, with a special affection for Mrs. Reagan who seemed moved to tears.
The Reagan tribute opened with video of the attempted assassination outside the Washington Hilton.
The unique "rolling roll call" began with Kansas and got as far as North Carolina last night, with plans to announce enough votes to put Mr. Bush "over the top" with 1,034 votes tonight. When counting stopped last night he had 659 votes, Mr. McCain had one, and Alan Keyes had six.
The first minor note of discord in a tightly scripted lovefest came about 8:30 p.m. when Rep. Jim Kolbe, Arizona Republican, was introduced to speak about foreign trade.
Texas delegates, seated front and center before the podium, remained seated and bent their heads in prayer to protest recognition of an avowed homosexual as the latest entry in a display of diversity that more resembled pre-Clinton Democratic conventions prior to 1988 when that party sought to look more mainstream.
The happy-days tone resumed when Mr. Kolbe left and Rep. J.C. Watts Jr. of Oklahoma was cheered on from the floor as he hurried to the microphone to make the next introduction.
The pace of protesters in the streets picked up and jammed rush-hour roadways. Police arrested more than 230 protesters in street demonstrations downtown, many miles from the hall where the convention was held.
"We have taken the streets," said Sue Kelly, 54, of Richmond, protesting the death penalty. "We just don't like Republicans and what the ruling class stands for."
Other than that, inside the hall tolerance was the watchword, even from such outspoken Christian advocates as the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who said victory required outreach.
"It's my feeling the Republicans need every vote they can get. That does not mean the president agrees with the views of every constituent," Mr. Falwell said during an interview about overtures to splinter constituencies.
"What we want to do is win," he said, not even objecting to Mr. Kolbe's appearance as a spokesman for GOP policy.
"Homosexuality is wrong, just like adultery is wrong, but the Republican Party is not a church," he said.
It was Mr. McCain the delegates wanted to hear, to hear the man who had attacked Mr. Bush's sincerity and defeated him in seven primaries. But none of the bitter seeds sown in New Hampshire, Michigan and South Carolina sprouted in what has become a celebration at Philadelphia.
Mr. McCain the son of an admiral and the grandson of an admiral recalled that the elder Bush served under his grandfather while a Navy pilot in the Pacific during World War II.
"Now it is my turn to serve under the son of my grandfather's brave subordinate," said Mr. McCain.
"George W. Bush believes in the greatness of America and the justice of our cause. He believes in the America of the immigrant's dream, the high lantern of freedom and hope to the world," Mr. McCain said in a lyrical speech that some said was an investment for 2004 should Mr. Bush falter.
"My friend, Governor Bush, believes in an America that is so much more than the sum of its divided parts. He wants to give you back a government that serves all the people no matter the circumstances of their birth. And he wants to lead a Republican Party that is as big as the country we serve," he said.
In an unannounced surprise, former first lady Barbara Bush came to the podium to introduce her son's brief remarks from Gettysburg.
The popular Mrs. Bush drew a tremendous reception when she declared "Philadelphia, the city of motherly love."
"Thank you, mother," Mr. Bush replied, adding a comment by a friend who said: "You may have your daddy's eyes but you've got your mother's mouth."
Seated beside Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, Mr. Bush introduced Miss Rice as "my good friend."

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