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Government, Politics & Issues

McCain connects his past to the present, asks for help in fight for ideals

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008 - ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008- ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

Standing at the end of a stage runway, McCain showed his humble side and his combative streak as he contrasted his vision of change with that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, on domestic issues, such as employment and health care, and foreign issues, such as Iraq and Russia.

McCain is known mainly as a war hero, as delegates have been reminded repeatedly throughout the week with speeches and documentaries about his life. And tonight McCain himself spoke movingly of his personal transformation during his time as a prisoner of war. There, the once-cocky aviator discovered a cause greater than himself: "I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's."

Still, McCain's biggest challenge is not proving his patriotism; it's proving that he understands the hardships affecting ordinary families. During part of his 50-minute speech, he singled out three specific families from the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania and from New Hampshire. One wife juggles three jobs while her husband has but a temporary job; one family struggles with an autistic son; and another lost a son in Iraq.

For each of them, McCain promised to fight. And he made clear that these are the fights that matter: "I don't mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I've had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test."

On this sink-or-swim night when pundits were warning that McCain wouldn't deliver a speech powerful enough to bring delegates to their feet, he performed like a Michael Phelps. Like that of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's address the night before, McCain's remarks caused feet to stomp, hands to clap and mouths to cheer as he talked about his beliefs and projected himself as a leader, ready to take on any fight for what he believed was best for the country.

Even a protester who distracted delegates with a banner that said, "You can't win an occupation," didn't seem to bother McCain. He lost his rhythm only briefly and told his audience, "Please don't be diverted by the ground noise and static." The audience laughed and gave him another rounds of cheers and applause.

He also outlined several specific policies, some of which have been mentioned during the campaign:

On taxes, he promised not only to keep them low but to double the child tax exemption to $7,000 from $3,500 to "improve the lives of millions of American families."

On government assistance for displaced workers, he promised to use community colleges to retrain workers and help make up part of their wages between their lost job and a temporary lower-paying job while they receive retraining. The federal government already uses community colleges to provide some job retraining, but McCain seemed to suggest major changes in the federal unemployment compensation program.

On education, McCain said he would champion charter and private schools as alternative to failing public school systems. He called education the "civil rights issue of this century." He said, "We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice … attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work."

On energy independence, he promised to embark on the most "ambitious national project in decades" by drilling more new wells off shore, building more nuclear power plants and boosting the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. In addition, he promised to use government incentives to encourage use of "flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles." He made no reference to a previous financial reward to the company that developed a long-lasting battery for electric cars.

"This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity, jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce," he said.

On foreign policy, he thanked President George W. Bush -- whose absence from the convention and from its speeeches has been noteworthy -- because he said Bush had been vigilant about terrorism and may have prevented al Qaeda from waging a second attack after 9/11. McCain added, though, that al Qaeda had yet to be defeated, and he singled out Iran and Russia as nations that could threaten world peace.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threaten the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

It is ironic that McCain spoke in so many different ways tonight about change, which has been the theme of Obama's campaign. Obama's "change we can believe in" has become McCain's "change we can trust." Indeed McCain spoke so much about change, especially changing Washington, that no one would ever guess that the Republicans had held the White House for the past eight years.

Toward the end, McCain appealed to critics to work to make life in America by performing public service, and he ended with almost a chant to delegates to fight for ideals and character, for the future of children and for justice and opportunity.

His voice was drowned out by cheering and clapping as he exhorted delegates to never give up or quit.

"We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

Red, white and blue confetti and balloons fell as McCain's family and Palin and her family gathered for one extended round of applause.

In a convention that began with so many uncertainties, brought about by a hurricane and media scrutiny of the freshly minted veep choice, the McCain-Palin team appeared to have moved ahead, united Republicans and put the party back on track. Next comes the hard part: selling its ideas to other voters.

Contact Beacon staff writer Robert Joiner.

Robert Joiner Beacon staff

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