Giuliani, McCain Tout Bush As Strong Wartime Leader
The first night of the Republican National Convention featured speeches by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain. Both speakers made the case for President Bush as a strong wartime leader, with McCain devoting much of his remarks to a spirited defense of the Iraq war and Giuliani focusing on the 9/11 attacks and Bush's response to them. ABC News Radio says "Giuliani recalled the 9/11 attacks and said, 'Thank God George Bush was President.'" CBS News Radio reports that "speaker after speaker focused on the destruction caused by al Qaeda just four miles away at Ground Zero. . . . Republicans want to stress here that Mr. Bush has kept the country safe and there is no reason to change course now." NPR notes McCain, "a friend of Democratic nominee John Kerry, refused to criticize the Senator." Instead, Knight Ridder reports McCain "devoted a large measure of his speech to a rousing call for political unification in the war on terror, a struggle he described as 'the test of our generation.'"
As they made their case for Bush, notes USA Today, last night's speakers "belittled Democratic nominee John Kerry as offering a weaker, wavering and uncertain alternative in perilous times." The Los Angeles Times says Kerry was described as "weak-kneed and wavering." The Wall Street Journal adds that while McCain "eschewed attacking Mr. Kerry, Mr. Giuliani was not so restrained." The New York Times quotes Giuliani saying, "My point about John Kerry being inconsistent is best described in his own words, not mine, when he said and I quote John Kerry 'I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.'" Giuliani "shrugged dramatically, and reminded his audience of the campaign slogan of Mr. Kerry's running mate, Senator John Edwards of North Carolina. 'Maybe this explains John Edwards's need for two Americas one where John Kerry can vote for something and another where he can vote against the same thing,' he said."
First-Night Speakers Used Phrases From Bush's Stump Speech.
According to the New York Times, "as speaker after speaker streamed across the Madison Square Garden podium, the phrases about President Bush, terror and Iraq had a familiar ring the ring of Mr. Bush's stump speeches. 'Osama bin Laden is on the run,' J. Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House, said in a speech that was similar to Mr. Bush's frequent statements on Al Qaeda. The president, Mr. Hastert added, 'has taken the fight to the terrorists,' a version of wording that Mr. Bush repeated last weekend from Miami to Ohio to West Virginia. 'We are safer than we were on Sept. 11,' Senator John McCain of Arizona said in the evening, echoing a favorite line of Mr. Bush. 'But we're not yet safe. We are still closer to the beginning than the end of this fight.'" Giuliani, "who campaigned with Mr. Bush in New Mexico, returned home with one of Mr. Bush's favorite lines about the Democratic nominee, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. Mr. Kerry 'declared himself an antiwar candidate,' Mr. Giuliani said. 'Now he says he's pro-war. At this rate, with 64 days left, he still has time to change his position at least three or four more times.'" The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also notes that McCain echoed "the president's own words in a Sept 20, 2001 address to a Joint Session of Congress in the wake of the 9/11 attacks" as he said, "He has not wavered. He has not flinched from the hard choices. He will not yield. And neither will we."