Thursday, August 21, 2008

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani will give the keynote address at the Republican National Convention next month, and Democrat-turned-independent Sen. Joe Lieberman also will take center stage at the Republican gathering.

Sen. John McCain‘s vanquished Republican primary rivals - and a slew of potential McCain running mates - also have speaking roles at the four-day gathering in St. Paul, Minn.

President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, first lady Laura Bush, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mr. Lieberman, who was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000 and is said to be under consideration for the same role with Mr. McCain, will open the convention on Monday, Sept. 1, with speeches that focus on service.

The subsequent days will focus on reform, prosperity and peace.

Mr. Giuliani, the two-term mayor who led New York through the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, will deliver his spotlight speech on Tuesday night. He ran for president this year but failed to win even one delegate, much less a state. He withdrew after a crushing loss in Florida, endorsed Mr. McCain the next day and has since campaigned for Mr. McCain.

Most of Mr. McCain’s other former primary rivals will speak, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who also is mentioned as a potential vice presidential nominee.

At least eight others whose names have been mentioned as potential running mates also are to address the convention, including Govs. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Charlie Crist of Florida, Sarah Palin of Alaska, Jon Huntsman of Utah, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana; former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge; Meg Whitman, the former chief executive and president of eBay, and Carly Fiorina, the former chairwoman and chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co.

Mr. McCain’s vice presidential candidate is scheduled to speak on the third night of the convention, the same night Mr. McCain’s wife, Cindy, will give her address. Mr. McCain will accept the nomination on the final night.

The announcement of speaking slots is in no way an indication of who will - or won’t - make it onto the ticket; it’s possible the campaign will rearrange the schedule once Mr. McCain makes his choice known.

The decision to schedule an address by Mr. Lieberman, the 66-year-old independent from Connecticut who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate, recalls 2004 when former Sen. Zell Miller, Georgia Democrat, spoke to the Republican convention.

Mr. Miller criticized the Democratic ticket as weak on defense, but Mr. Lieberman said that’s not his intention.

“I’m going to the Republican convention not to attack the Democratic candidate, but to explain to the American people why I support John McCain,” Mr. Lieberman told the Associated Press in Tbilisi, capital of the republic of Georgia. “Senator McCain asked me to do it, and I strongly support him.”

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