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The Republican National Convention; Day Four
Aired September 04, 2008 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Colors, halt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please remain standing for the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem and the invocation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome eight United States Olympians who represent more than 30 years of American leadership at the Olympic Games. Through their hard work and dedication, these individuals have made America proud. Ryan Berube...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitch Gaylord.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brittany Hayes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barbra Higgins.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Larsen Jensen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Elle Logan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Marcus McElhenney.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And John Naber.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please join them in the Pledge of Allegiance.
(PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please welcome country music star Trace Adkins, who will lead us in the singing of our National Anthem.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRACE ADKINS: (SINGING NATIONAL ANTHEM)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Please welcome His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America who will deliver tonight's invocation. Archbishop Demetrios was elected as the Archbishop of America in 1999 by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarch. He is a spiritual leader of 1.5 million Greek Orthodox Christians in America. Please give him a warm welcome at this time. Archbishop.
HIS EMINENCE ARCHBISHOP DEMETRIOS: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Let us bow our heads to the Lord. Almighty and loving God, we bow our heads before you in deepest gratitude for the abundant blessings which you have bestowed continually upon our great American nation. We thank you for the opportunity of being the privileged inhabitants of this land in which peace and liberty prevail.
These conditions are made possible because of the great diversity of our country ever mindful that we are all created in your divine image and likeness. Lord, we know that the peace and freedom which we enjoy is a result of many sacrifices made by those who offer their lives in defense of our nation. We pray that you keep alive their memory and that you protect those who valiantly serve today in our armed forces as they continue to make freedom possible for us.
We thank you, Lord, for bringing us together at this Republican National Convention and we ask that you bless all the delegates as they nominate the candidate for the offices of president and vice president of the United States. Remember these noble candidates, your servants and grant them wisdom and courage as they confront challenges both known and unknown in service to our nation and our world.
Guide them in their awesome task. A task of building a sustainable peace, prosperity and security for our country and all the nations of the earth. For you, oh, Lord, are the source of all that which is good and true and praise worthy and to you we give glory and thanksgiving now and forever and ever. Amen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please remain standing while the colors are retired.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Colors turn. (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Delegates and alternates, please welcome the chairman... WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, day four, the final day of the Republican National Convention has now been called to order. It's going to be a night where the culmination will during the 10:00 p.m. Eastern hour. That's when Senator John McCain after a long, long struggle will accept the Republican presidential nomination.
We're here on the floor of this convention. Campbell Brown is here. John King, Gloria Borger and of course Bill Bennett is here as well. We've got excellent analysts standing by at the CNN Election Center. Let's show a picture of our viewers -- tell our viewers that the best political team on television is standing by.
You see Jeff Toobin and Amy Holmes. Let's see, I'm trying to figure out -- that's Paul Begala over there, Leslie Sanchez, Carl Bernstein and David Gergen. We have a small monitor here. Sometimes it's hard to make out who's sitting where, but we know you guys are all excellent.
James Carville is going to be joining us throughout the night, the Democratic strategist. There he is. He's in our CNN Washington Bureau. Up high here at the convention in St. Paul -- there she is, Donna Brazile and Roland Martin. They're happy warriors.
They're always happy to be with us. And we're going to have their insight. Candy Crowley is down up on the podium. She's going to be reporting all night on what's going on there. And let's not forget Dana Bash and Ed Henry. They're down on the convention floor. Did I introduce everybody...
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, I think you covered it.
BLITZER: And Anderson Cooper is going to be joining us a little bit later..
BROWN: Yeah, he'll be here a little later.
BLITZER: ... as well, so let's not forget that. Alex Castellanos is going to be joining us later because Bill Bennett has got to get some sleep. You get up really early in the morning, don't you?
BILL BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There was a line in Mighty Python (ph). I get up before I go to bed. Yeah...
BENNETT: That's pretty much my life.
BLITZER: Let's go to David Gergen first. David, tell us what John McCain needs to do tonight.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well I think first and foremost, as Karl Rove himself said today, he needs to speak to people about their -- about his economic plans. To reach them at their kitchen tables. This very day, Wolf, of course the stock market fell 340 points on news that the latest job numbers were once again discouraging. There's great deal of concern that this economy is not turning up in the next few months. The next president is going to have to solve a lot of problems on the economic front. So far, I think Bill Bennett has been absolutely right. The Republicans have done a superior job in closing the enthusiasm gap.
Now tonight I think John McCain needs to reach beyond the base. I think a lot of the convention so far has been directed at the so- called base. Tonight, I think he needs to reach beyond and tell them in particular where he wants to go on the economy and persuade people he's on the right path.
BLITZER: Because Jeffrey Toobin, as we've heard from John King and others throughout this period, it's not enough for John McCain only to rally the conservative base of the Republican Party. If he wants to be president of the United States, he has to bring those Independent voters and several of those key battleground states around to his side.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: He does, but you know a figure who hasn't been mentioned very often this week is not Ronald Reagan but Richard Nixon. This campaign, this convention reminds me a lot of the very successful Richard Nixon campaigns of 1968 and especially 1962. This resentment of elite...
BLITZER: 1972, you mean?
TOOBIN: I'm sorry, 19 -- yes, 1972. That you know a campaign in which he won 49 states. This is a campaign where he has -- he is running -- he's trying to run as an outsider against the big boys who are trying to you know put one over on the ordinary folks.
That, I think is -- it's a tough sell given where the Republican Party is right now. But the rhetoric and the sound sounds a lot like Richard Nixon's Republican Party and very little like Ronald Reagan's.
BLITZER: Amy Holmes, can the Republicans really -- can John McCain -- I'll rephrase the question -- can John McCain do that tonight?
AMY HOLMES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I most certainly thing he can. I think he intends to talk about reform. He intends to talk about energy policy in terms of economic policy, getting those gas prices down. But also national security and getting us off of foreign oil.
You know I'd like to remind the viewers that last night was Sarah Palin's speech and also her introduction to America on Friday in Dayton, Ohio, she never once mentioned some of those hot-button social issues like choice, life, gay marriage, et cetera.
It was directly focused on the economy, taxes. She said that the reason why she got into public life was because she wanted to cut taxes, wasteful spending, property taxes. Those were the themes that they are hitting hard. I think that David and Jeffrey are right.
That John McCain, he does need to reach voters where they are, middle class voters, at the kitchen table and talk to them about their concerns. Just like Barack Obama needed to do that at his convention.
BLITZER: All right, guys, stand by. I know everybody wants to weigh in. I know Carl Bernstein especially wants to weigh in on the Nixon analogy that we just heard about. Leslie Sanchez is standing, James Carville has got some thoughts on what's going on as well.
Our coverage is going to continue here from St. Minnesota. Remember, CNNpolitics.com. You can see everything on the stage behind me. We're streaming it live at CNNpolitics.com. Watch us. Have your laptop available. If you'd like to do both, that's a good idea. A lot of people do that. From St. Minnesota, the Republican National Convention will continue right after this.
BLITZER: Welcome back to the Republican National Convention here in St. Paul, Minnesota. A big night for John McCain. He'll be accepting the Republican presidential nomination. Before he does that, they've got some business, Campbell that they have to do. They have to officially nominate the vice presidential candidate. She said last night she will accept the party's nomination, but they haven't nominated her yet.
And shortly they're going to have a very abbreviated roll call. It's just a technicality, but it's something that they have to do in order to make it official, according to the rules of the Republican Party. So we'll see that. We'll watch that. There will be some videos. And of course there will be some good music that we want to sure...
BLITZER: ... we share with our viewers as well. We want our viewers, Campbell, as you and John and Gloria and all of our...
BROWN: To get the flavor of it.
BLITZER: Right. We don't want them just to hear the speeches and all that stuff. We want them to see and hear and feel what a convention is like.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leno's got a band. Letterman has got a band. We need a Situation Room band.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wolf on the keyboard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Play very bad guitar.
BLITZER: All right, I want to check in with James Carville because he's got some thoughts on what's going on here. I know, James, you've admired John McCain personally for many, many years. What are you looking for? What do you anticipate he will do tonight?
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think there's going to be a lot of bio. I think he'll draw some contrast and distinctions, which a good acceptance speech should do. I mean the problem is that Donna and I are both from Louisiana and we know something about a party and I think the Republicans are going have a heck of a party, but we also know something about a hangover.
And come 8:35 tomorrow morning the hangover is coming. That's when the unemployment numbers are going to be released. So, but I do think -- I do like Senator McCain. I think he's an admirable man. I think his service is heroic. And I think he will try to do -- talk a lot about his bio and think he'll draw some distinctions, but again, his is still a very tough environment that he's in the middle of and Senator Obama is a very, very skilled candidate also.
BROWN: Let me go to Leslie Sanchez. Leslie, as I drove here to the convention today on -- there was a giant billboard on the side of the highway of John McCain hugging George W. Bush. It was a billboard the Democrats had put up. That has been their argument that they are one in the same. And it has been striking to me the absence here of George W. Bush. In any of the speeches there's been almost no mention of him.
LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know that's the oldest hat trick. We did that trick in 2000 with Al Gore and Bill Clinton outside the Gore headquarters, so you know nothing new there. But I will say that this is a different time for the Republican Party. There is no doubt that John McCain is going to take the party in a different direction.
I think part of it is also getting back to fiscal responsibility. The party many believe has lost its way. He is showing he can be somebody who reaches across party lines, but also bring the party back fundamentally to what has worked for us in the past. That's going to be the balance we want to hear today. That's also the appeal to Independents who are tired of the partisan bickering and want to see people get things done.
BROWN: Paul Begala, how crucial is it that John McCain separate himself, and convey in some way to the people he -- not necessarily the people in this hall because I think you can argue that the crowd here is a George W. Bush crowd. But those Independents out there, how crucial is it for him to convey that he is not with George W. Bush?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL STRATEGIST: It is essential and yet it may be impossible. The Obama campaign is burning into people's brain the statistic that McCain votes with him 90 percent of the time (INAUDIBLE) Section 91. The Obama campaign being that rare creature that understates the actual facts, even when the facts are better in their favor.
McCain will try and he has this or that occasionally where he has parted company with President Bush, very quickly then getting back in line, I will note. The other thing he will try to do is take a page out of the Bush playbook, which is cultural populism, we saw so much of that last night with Governor Palin.
You know the Democrats when they are on their game try to (INAUDIBLE) that the Republicans are economic elitist. The Republicans when they are on their game, and Bush was one of the best at this, post my party as cultural elitists. And so I think he'll try to do that. Now it's hard to be a regular guy when you're John McCain and you have nine homes actually, not seven, nine homes in three time zones, and "Vanity Fair" says McCain's wife last night was wearing an outfit and jewelry that was worth $300,000.
It's kind of hard to be an average guy, by the way, when you schedule your big speech up against the first NFL game of the year. What are these people crazy? I mean every decent normal red bloodied American is going to be watching the Redskins lose to the Giants. So I don't know how well they are going to do on the cultural populism.
BLITZER: You know Paul Begala, we're hoping that the Redskins do a lot better.
BEGALA: We do.
BLITZER: I'm a Redskins fan. I'm hoping they don't lose because we like the Redskins. But Bill Bennett...
BENNETT: There is so much to say back to Paul Begala.
BLITZER: Go ahead. Say he's thinking...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we try to stay on topic?
BENNETT: Let me just say one thing.
BENNETT: You got the...
BENNETT: You got the wrong guy in fashion. But look, you can't, it's hard to underestimate the degree of unhappiness even of this audience with George Bush. People are loyal. Republicans tend to be loyal. People are very grateful to George Bush for keeping us safe, but unhappiness with George Bush on budget issues, unhappiness with George Bush on other things.
You know go a little below the surface and the Republicans here and you'll hear them say that. So they are happy to be wooed from that, but yeah, look, most of these votes, by the way, are the pro forma votes, as Rudy Giuliani was talking about before. But if there's one thorn in George Bush's side in the Republican Party and the Republican Senate, it has been John McCain. But I got an idea for a poster of Harry Reid and Barack Obama and that's about 97.3 I think on the percentage vote.
BLITZER: All right, guys, let's take another break. We're waiting for a video. Some of these videos that they've done here, Campbell, they've been really amazing. Robert Duvall, the actor is going to narrate a video. I want to stand by for that.
And also some of the musical entertainment, some of the speeches are coming up. The big speech coming up later tonight. That would be John McCain. And also don't forget it's coming up shortly, the technical but critically important roll call. Sarah Palin will be the Republican vice presidential nominee, will be official in a few moments.
CNNpolitics.com, you can see everything going on live. We're streaming it from the podium. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: This is the fourth and final day of the Republican National Convention here in St. Paul. The theme of this convention since day one has been "country first" and everyday they've had a sub theme. Tonight's sub theme is "peace" and we're about to see a video that Robert Duvall, the actor that is will narrate. He's been doing these videos for these Republicans, for these days of the Republican Convention every day. They're pretty well done. We'll go to that video. It's not that long, once it starts.
And then that will be followed at some point by the governor of Utah. Jim Huntsman (ph) is going to be formally introducing Sarah Palin's name into nomination as the vice presidential candidate, so they'll have some business. They got to go through the business of this. Once he accepts -- John McCain accepts the Republican nomination and Sarah Palin accepts the vice presidential nomination this convention is over with, they then become eligible for some $85 million in federal matching funds. That will help them between now and November 4th. Now to compare that with the hundreds of millions of dollars that Barack Obama will have at his disposal, he's raising money very, very...
BROWN: He opted out of accepting...
BLITZER: He opted out even though earlier he said he would accept those federal matching funds. He's going to have a whole lot more money. But the Republican Party is going to try to come to the defense of John McCain and try to balance that money battle if they will. It's not going to be that easy for the Republicans to beat the fund-raising progress of Barack Obama.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It will not be easy and a lot of people at home probably don't understand the significance of what you just said. The Democrats will have a significant financial advantage over the Republicans in a presidential election. That is a very rare thing in our history, almost unheard of in our lifetime. That the Democrats through the fundraising of Obama will have a huge advantage and they already have the other fundamentals in their favor. That matters.
BLITZER: All right, I think this video is about to begin right now. Robert Duvall, the actor, narrating.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT DUVALL, ACTOR: You can't really touch your country, but you can serve it. You can't really see your country, but you can love it. America is a love story. A love all Americans share. And from our midst rise extraordinary men and women who lead her to greatness. Americans who have found the love of country so profound that it naturally came first in their lives. Before work. Before friendship. Before self. Through war. Through peace. Despair and success. Our country is here. We are here. Because of their belief in all of us. My name is Robert Duvall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen.
BLITZER: Let's check in with Carl Bernstein. What do you think of the theme "Country First" that the Republicans have used at this convention?
CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST: I think throughout the convention they've tried to imply that they have a lock of patriotism and they put country first and the Democrats don't. And there have been these constant attacks on so-called liberal liberals. The angry left as the president called it.
But I think the real story of the convention is the transformation of the John McCain that I and many other reporters and many Republicans in that convention have known for a decade or more into a figure who once, above all other principles, said we can't have the right wing of this party dictate all of our policies. We need to have a post partisan party that reaches across party lines.
Mitch McConnell, the temporary chairman of this convention. I have listened to John McCain describe Mitch McConnell in words you do not want to hear on this air. They hate each other. At least they did until this convention. Why is John McCain running a convention in which there's this demonization of the other side. This old language, somewhat what we are talking about Nixon, from the Spiro Agnew playbook, speeches written by Pat Buchanan for Spiro Agnew in the '68 Nixon campaign.
That was right in Sarah Palin's speeches. So we now have a transformed John McCain totally at odds with his own history. I would like to hear from our Republicans on the panel about how this came about and what it means?
BLITZER: Let's let Bill Bennett do that. Bill, I may have to cut you off. They're about to start very important business, the nomination of Sarah Palin as the vice presidential candidate of the Republican Party.
BILL BENNETT, CNN ANALYST: You don't want to miss that. Apparently Carl missed the debate on immigration.
BLITZER: I'm interrupting you right now. John Huntsman, the very popular governor of Utah. There he is right there. He's going put Sarah Palin's name into nomination.
JOHN HUNTSMAN, (R) UT: History will be made tonight. And her name is Sarah Palin. Sarah, Sarah, Sarah.
We're here -- we're here as a party united and excited for a McCain- Palin presidency.
Last night, John McCain asked this group a question about his selection for vice president. And tonight, we're here to answer it. So do you think he made the right choice?
In a world of artificiality, we're looking for originality. We're looking for authenticity. We're looking for a rebel, a renegade, we are looking for Sarah!
We're looking for a beacon of light to show us the way. We're looking for an American who represents every one of us. Who can relate to the needs of our families and the struggles of our country. We are looking for Sarah!
Our nation's challenges are real and daunting. But we will not despair. The future depends on leadership. The kind of leadership that carries a confident and independent spirit. Born out of experience, hardship, disappointment and success. We are looking for Sarah!
She's a hockey mom, a hunter, a hard-hitting reformer. And quite frankly, she's not afraid in a little town called Washington to kick a few fannies and raise a little hell!
Just what America needs. I've long supported my good friend John McCain. Now it's my honor and privilege to nominate my fellow Western governor, Sarah Palin, to be the next history-making vice president of the United States of America.
My friend, Sarah, has shown her strengths and tenacity to stand up for what she believes in. To stand up for the tax payers. To stand up for real energy independence and to stand up for America!
And tonight, tonight, it is time to stand up for her! Let's stand up for Sarah, everybody.
Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. Thank you and may God bless the great United States of America. Thank you all so very much.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KY: Thank you, governor. It's now an order under rule 40(a) under the rules of the convention to recognize the delegate from Alaska.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chairman.
MCCONNELL: For the purpose of offering a motion to nominate by acclimation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Chairman, I am Annette Kreitzer (ph) from the capital city of Juneau, Alaska. I have with me a few of my close friends.
And apparently a few more of Sarah Palin's friends.
Mr. Chairman, it's a great day to be a Republican. It's a great day to be a woman. It is a -- it is a great day to be a Republican woman.
So Mr. Chairman, I am proud to move that Sarah Palin be nominated by acclimation by this convention for the office of vice president of the United States.
MCCONNELL: Is there a second? The chair hears a sufficient second. Without objection, the previous question is ordered. And the question now occurs on the motion of the delegate of Alaska. All those in favor, signify by saying aye. Those opposed no? In the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. And the motion is agreed to without objection. The motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
Delegates, and alternates, ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud to declare that the 39th Republican National Convention has unanimously nominated Sarah Palin for the office of the vice president of the United States.
The -- the chair appoints the following people to officially notify Sarah Palin that she's been nominated by this convention as its candidate for the office of vice president of the United States of America and to escort her, at the appropriate time. Sally Heath of Alaska, Colleen Jones of Washington. Katie Johnson of Washington. Bristol Palin of Alaska, Willow Palin of Alaska, Fay Palin of Alaska, Wendy Palin of Alaska, Miranda Palin of Alaska, Karina Heath of Alaska, Piper Palin of Alaska and Lawdon Bruce (ph) of Alaska. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
CROWD: Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah.
BLITZER: All right. So an historic moment right now. For the first time ever, the Republican Party has nominated a woman to be the vice presidential candidate. It's only happened in U.S. history once before back in 1984, when the Democrats nominated Geraldine Ferraro to be the vice presidential candidate together with Walter Mondale. History unfolding here at the Republican National Convention.
We'll take a quick break. Much more of the coverage coming up. Remember, cnnpolitics.com. That's where you can see everything happening up on that stage live, we're streaming it. Much more of our coverage from St. Paul after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: We're back here at the Republican National Convention. It's official now. A woman is the vice presidential nominee on this McCain ticket. Sarah Palin. We just saw it live here, Campbell Brown. I guess we should not ignore the history of the moment because it's not every day - actually this is the first time Republicans have ever done it and the Democrats have done it only once before.
CAMPBELL BROWN:, CNN HOST Absolutely. And you saw the delegate from Alaska who made it official was a woman, talked about the history of this. The fact they were proud and reaching out to women here in the hall and women across America. How proud a moment it is for Republican women. But it goes beyond that, Wolf. As we've been talking about the politics of this, they are reaching well beyond republican women and hoping some of those disaffected Hillary Clinton voters think ...
BLITZER: You heard Carl Bernstein say, Bill, that the John McCain that we're going to see tonight, that we've been seeing recently, is not the John McCain that so many reporters and others knew over the years. You want to respond to that?
BENNETT: Yeah. I would like to, thanks.
First I think they need to get - the critics need to get the message clear. Is John McCain in the full embrace of the Republican conservatives and George Bush or all are they all mad and yelling at him like Mitch McConnell and George Bush? Because I think John McCain has been yelled at and had more temper tantrums with Republican leadership than anyone else. On the issues, the immigration debate, a lot of people thought would derail John McCain. He hasn't recanted that position. He hasn't recanted his position on McCain-Feingold or McCain-Kennedy. John McCain's last name, conservatives were saying, is causing a lot of trouble.
Remember Gary Bauer? Family Research and all of that. When he dropped out of the 2000 race, who did he endorse? He endorsed John McCain.
John McCain has been pro-life all his life. He is not in favor of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. I think it's been pretty consistent.
BROWN: He's refined his position on immigration during the campaign. During building the walls first.
BLITZER: Marsha Blackburn is a congresswoman from Tennessee. Let's listen to her.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN, (R) TN: Last night, for the first time in a long time, millions of Americans like me whispered to themselves, thank God somebody finally gets it. We heard a voice that spoke with the accent of real America. Not the washed out, mainstream, TV speak that sometimes soothes the soul but never solves the problem. We met a woman with a bravery that only a mother of five can summon who said, thanks, but no, thanks (sic), to the good old boys and their earmarks. It's an honor for me to quote the constituents I heard from today when I say it's about damn time.
Now, to all of the gray suits in the booths up here, who had their backs turned facing Washington instead of watching the future on this stage, on behalf of all of the great new gals in this room, I tell you, and listen up, now, boys. I want all your guys to listen up. As a wife, a mother, a businesswoman and public servant, neither Governor Palin nor I need you to tell us what our limitations are, or when we might have taken on too much, or when we might have reached too far.
You know. Every working mother knows the value of action over deliberation and decision over debate. Vice President Sarah Palin is going the be the most action oriented, problem solving, revolutionary second in command this country has ever known.
My fellow Tennesseans and I already know and respect John McCain. And we love his straight talk and unyielding sense of honor. And last night, my NASCAR dads fell in love with Alaska's hockey mom. I tell you, we really are the gun-toting, God fearing, freedom loving, flag waving Americans who are excited to see two crack shots on the ballot with the status quo in their sights.
We don't need to elect someone to install an ATM machine on Pennsylvania Avenue that debits your liberty to fund wasteful programs, but yet they won't do the one thing that can really drive down gas prices. We know the only place Senator Obama wants to drill is your wallet.
Leadership is not about creating perceptions. It's about creating results. Leadership is not honed and tested on a Hollywood stage. Leadership is honed and tested on Alaska's frontier, on the deck of an aircraft carrier and in a dark, squalid cell in Vietnam. Last night, when I saw John and Sarah on this stage, I saw, and you did, too, the brilliant spark of leadership as it caught fire and as it begins to illuminate the path to a brighter tomorrow. May God bless America, thank you so much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Delegates and alternates, please welcome ...
BLITZER: She's a rising star in the Republican Party. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn making it clear why she is so excited about this ticket. She had been billed as supposedly speaking about differences on some of the spending issues between Barack Obama and John McCain.
She got into a little bit at the end. But I want to bring in Paul Begala and let him respond to what we just heard. To line that Senator Obama is going take more taxes, spend more money, tax and spend, we've heard this before, haven't we?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN ANALYST: Yeah. The fact check organizations have checked. And Obama's position is he would cut taxes in fact for every American making less than $250,000 a year. Now, Ms. Blackburn looking at the outfit she was wearing might get a tax increase. But 95 percent of us would get a tax cut from Obama's plan.
But you know, they can sort that out in the campaign. I don't think that was across the line in anyway. I think where she took a risk was in repeating this myth that the governor of Alaska opposed earmarks. Now if they are transparent and disclose anything, the reforms the Democrats put in, I think earmarks can be fine. But Governor Palin hired a lobbyist, a lobbyist who was connected to Jack Abramoff, the criminal, who got her $27 million of earmarks when she was the mayor of her small town.
So that's an accomplishment she used to cite and I think that's a bigger problem, actually is to tell those really kind of flat-out falsehoods about the governor's record. Attacking Obama on taxes, they'll do that every day and he's got the capacity to defend. I think that's more acceptable.
BLITZER: Campbell is getting some information on this whole issue that our political unit has put together. Campbell, tell our viewers what you are looking at right now.
BROWN: It's the earmark issue. We've been doing a lot of research on it. In fact, Governor Palin's office has requested a large number in earmarks, $197 million in earmarks for fiscal year 2009 ...
BLITZER: From the federal government. Earmarks are pork barrel spending, really, where there is specific funding requests that go specific projects usually in home districts of members of Congress or in states.
And in fact, John McCain, with regard to some of these specific requests, called them earmarks. September 3rd, "L.A. Times" McCain criticized at least three earmarks that Palin requested when she was major of Wasilla. We also talked about the bridge to nowhere. This is not critical this is just a fact check here. She was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it. So I think, in fairness, you do have to go back and look at some of the arguments they're making and put them in the proper context.
BLITZER: It's not the first time that the vice presidential candidate has disagreed with the presidential candidate of the same party.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is not and her record is will be scrubbed as it should be. Her record of public service should be scrubbed from beginning to end.
She also says drill in ANWR, John McCain says no, he is not ...
BLITZER: The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.
KING: He'll go offshore but he's not ready to go there because he's worried about environmental concerns.
So they have some issues without a doubt. I think they disagree on how they believe gay marriage should be handled. Whether it's a constitutional issue or a state issue. Al Gore and Bill Clinton disagreed about some issues. George Bush and Dick Cheney disagreed about some issues.
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams disagreed. It's always been so but it's one of the interesting sub plots ...
BLITZER: It's fascinating to see differences that will emerge and a lot more probably.
Hold on guys, we're going to take a quick break. We have much more to talk about. This is the Republican National Convention. An historic night. A woman has been nominated as the vice presidential candidate. And John McCain, shortly, will deliver his acceptance speech. We're watching and waiting right here in St. Paul.