updated 8/20/2008 12:24:24 PM ET 2008-08-20T16:24:24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The announcement of speaking slots is in no way an indication of who will — or won't — make it onto the ticket; it's possible the campaign will rearrange the schedule once McCain makes his choice known. It's also possible McCain will chose someone not frequently mentioned.

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

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

"I'm going to the Republican convention not to attack the Democratic candidate, but to explain to the American people why I support John McCain," Lieberman told the Associated Press in Tbilisi, capital of the Republic of Georgia. "Sen. McCain asked me to do it, and I strongly support him."

"Our convention will showcase a cross-section of leaders who will highlight John McCain's long commitment to putting our country first — before self-interest or politics," McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said in a statement that announced the speakers along with the meeting's "Country First" theme.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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