updated 9/4/2008 1:58:55 PM ET 2008-09-04T17:58:55

Guests: Tom Brokaw, Kelly O‘Donnell, Andrea Mitchell, Ann Curry, Ron Allen, David Gregory, Pat Buchanan, Michelle Bernard, Norah O‘Donnell, Eugene Robinson, Savannah Guthrie, Mika Brzezinski, Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough, Chuck Todd, Tom Brokaw, Kelly O‘Donnell , Ron Allen

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  The observation was made by no less an authority than the ultraconservative Web site WorldNetDaily, Sarah Palin is the newest political, in their term, rock star.  Does that invoke any memories of the midsummer Republican campaign against Barack Obama, the “celebrity” commercial?

It was Karl Rove‘s dismissal of a mayor turned governor turned vice presidential aspirant, saying that Obama‘s consideration of Tim Kaine meant he was, Obama, not “really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States.”

And then there is an even uglier argument against Obama suddenly back in play.  In the words of a gentleman writing at the conservative National Review: “Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man?” 

Tonight, the political society debut of Sarah Palin, who comes complete with her own prefabricated self-dismissing narrative against her. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN (voice-over):  From St. Paul and New York, with NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw covering his 22nd convention, and political director Chuck Todd at the Xcel Center, Ann Curry at the podium, and Andrea Mitchell, Ron Allen, Kelly O‘Donnell, and Luke Russert on the convention floor.

With chief White House correspondent David Gregory, the anchor of “NBC NIGHTLY NEWS,” Brian Williams, and Savannah Guthrie, reporting from Wasilla, Alaska, the panel: Norah O‘Donnell, Pat Buchanan, Rachel Maddow, Eugene Robinson, and Michelle Bernard, Howard Fineman at the campaign “Listening Post.” Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough. 

Among our guests, senators Kay Bailey Hutchison, Richard Burr, John Ensign, and Lisa Murkowski.  With the speeches by former governors Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and the controversial Republican choice for vice president, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. 

This is MSNBC‘s coverage of the 2008 Republican presidential Convention. 

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I thank you, Senator McCain, and Mrs. McCain, for the confidence that you‘ve placed in me. Senator, I am honored to be chosen as your running mate.  I will be honored to serve next to the next president of the United States. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  Good evening, alongside Chris Matthews in St. Paul, Minnesota, I‘m Keith Olbermann at MSNBC headquarters in New York. 

And, Chris, if anybody has doubts about what tonight will be about, I can quote the official convention schedule.  10:37 p.m., speaker, Governor Sarah Palin.  10:57 p.m., floor demo.  It‘s right there in the script. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Right.  You know, I was watching the power with which you displayed our own media cast tonight.  And I have the sense that the Republican image-makers, the ballyhoo boys know exactly what they are doing.  They are setting up a David and Goliath.  In this sense, Governor Palin as David, us as Goliath. 

This is showbiz, they know what they are doing.  It might work.  We‘ll see.  Big night for the Republicans and their ballyhoo boys. 

OLBERMANN:  How long, if it works, can it work?  You cannot maintain a permanent protest.  You can‘t file a constant appeal to the refs that never ends.  It must have a concluding point, must it not?

MATTHEWS:  Richard Nixon did it for many years.  It can be done.  You can create a continual tension between your political party and what you describe as the establishment.  You can continue to portray yourself as the underdog in a battle in which you in fact carry all the political weight of the government.  It has been done before and I think they are going to try it one more time tonight. 

Sarah Palin is a brilliant, perhaps, construct to the Republican Party tonight.  They have taken someone from way off stage, they‘re putting her out in one, as they say on Broadway, right out there in front to face the lions, to face the media.  They are going to see if she can do well.  If she does well, they win tonight. 

I think, the odds are, the way they have set it up, she will win tonight, because Americans, in our deepest spirit, root for the underdog, we root for the rookie.  And tonight, no one doubts that Sarah Palin is a political rookie on the national stage. 

OLBERMANN:  As, Chris, we prepare to bring in our NBC News special correspondent, Tom Brokaw, from the Xcel Center, there‘s one quote that has been disseminated so far from Governor Palin‘s speech tonight, and it is simply: “Some candidates use change to promote careers, McCain devotes career to promote change.” That according to the AP, that it what she will be saying later on.  I imagine it will be a little longer than that.  The control—I‘m misled here by instructions.  Tom Brokaw at the Xcel Center, as promised. 

Tom, spinning it away from the media narrative—or the narrative about the media for a second, if Sarah Palin lives up to all the advertising and all the hype and genuinely goes out and gives a great speech and shocks the doubters and silences any critics, does the whole working the refs anti-media campaign collapse if she does well tonight? 

TOM BROKAW, NBC SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:  Well, no.  I think it‘s just stage one.  And I think that they understand that.  We introduce this program by saying the controversial choice for vice president, Sarah Palin.  She‘s not controversial in this hall, I can tell you that. 

I expect that she‘s going to light this place up tonight because she is a perfect match for these delegates on the floor, in terms of her traditional values, her social values, where she comes from, the idea that she was a surprise choice, that she was—in effect, by picking her, John McCain was making a statement against the punditry class and against his own party establishment. 

But this is only stage one and no one knows that better than the McCain campaign.  They get out of here successfully tonight.  They introduce her to the country and to this hall.  What they want is for the country to say, hey, I‘m willing to take a second look at her, I‘m not going to dismiss her out of hand. 

Now, they move to stage two, which is out of this hall, she goes on the campaign trail with John McCain.  They hope to get a bump out of the convention.  Then she has to go back to Alaska to see her son off to Iraq. 

And then she‘ll disappear for a while for what they call boot camp as she gets trained on what it‘s like to be a vice presidential candidate in the hot glare of the national spotlight, not just from the media, but from the Democrats as well. 

So we have to take all of this in stages.  We ought not to be drawing

any conclusions just yet.  I guess that‘s my message from here in St. Paul

Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  One more thing, Tom.  Is there any historical context for this?  Has there been a previous Sarah Palin thrown into the deep end of the political pool? 

BROKAW:  Well, I think that Dan Quayle probably comes pretty close to that, when he was chosen.  We all remember how excited he was when he appeared with President Bush 41 in New Orleans on that riverboat after it had been reported by Andrea Mitchell that he would be the choice. 

And he had a very, very rough start, as you know, and even midway through the campaign, he was still struggling.  But I always like to remind people for all of the difficulties that Dan Quayle had, and all the questions that were raised about him, guess what?  George Bush won that election. 

OLBERMANN:  Indeed, he did.  Tom Brokaw, inside the Xcel Center, we‘ll get back to you in just a few moments. 

Kelly O‘Donnell has been covering the McCain campaign for months now and joins us now from the convention floor with the sort of inside perspective on all of this and expectations. 

And what do they think they can get out of this tonight?  What is the actual expectation?  Clear away the clutter for us on all the media expectations and all the media hype and all the media criticism.  What are the McCain people actually expecting tonight? 

KELLY O‘DONNELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Keith, coming in on the airplane with Senator McCain this afternoon, the first thing they wanted to do was to show that image of John McCain meeting with the Palin family.  There we saw Bristol Palin, her boyfriend.  Senator McCain had on opportunity to go over and speak to them. 

Senior advisers I‘ve talked to say that was an important moment, because John McCain wanted to say to those two teenagers, in effect, I‘m sorry you have been put through this, I have confidence that you are strong enough and courageous enough to go through this very difficult publicity. 

Now I happen to be right now in the place in this room that really will be home for Sarah Palin.  This is the Alaska delegation.  And people I‘ve talked to here say that they have been in effect a proxy for her with other Republicans from other states who have come over and want to know things about her. 

And of course, she‘s very popular in this delegation.  So the big goal tonight from senior advisers I‘ve talked to who have been working with her today, prepping her, is they want her to be able to introduce herself and also to convey her connection to John McCain. 

She has working with a podium to practice off-scene.  She has been going through that prep to get her ready for what will be an unmistakably difficult night.  But they have confidence.  They say that she is courageous and tough, and that she will be able to weather this. 

Very competitive.  They go back to that high school basketball player to say she is competitive and ready for this kind of a challenge—Keith, Chris. 

OLBERMANN:  Kelly O‘Donnell on the floor of the convention, our apologies for putting you in the position of trying to talk over the convocation.  Thank you, Kelly.

Also on the floor of the convention at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, our correspondent Andrea Mitchell standing by with Senator Voinovich of Ohio. 

Andrea, good evening. 

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Keith.  I‘m here with Senator Voinovich, who is from the state that put George W. Bush over the top four years ago. 

Is Ohio going to respond to Sarah Palin, the evangelicals, the conservatives—the social conservatives, her message? 

SEN. GEORGE VOINOVICH ®, OHIO:  I think so.  I think our base is fired up.  And I think this is the thing that we really needed to make sure we get people out to vote.  Because last time around, Bush carried the state by 118,000 votes.  And it was the get-out-the-vote effort, and our social conservatives really were the ones that delivered in some of our counties. 

In fact, they delivered twice the vote in 2004 than they did in 2000.  The other thing that I think is going to happen is I talked to a woman today, she took a Democratic primary vote to vote for Hillary Clinton, a Republican.  She said, when they didn‘t nominate Hillary, I‘m going back and I‘m going to vote for McCain and for Sarah. 

MITCHELL:  And so you see a big gender effect?

VOINOVICH:  I think so.  I think—I have a daughter-in-law who I love.  She happens to be a liberal Democrat.  And she said, you know, dad, I was for Hillary.  And I‘m not saying I‘m going to vote for McCain, but I‘m going to stop, look, and listen. 

MITCHELL:  Thank you very much, Senator Voinovich in Ohio. 

Keith, as you can imagine, there‘s a lot of expectation down here tonight about what Sarah Palin will say.  And we‘re told she will not go on the attack.  She wants to portray herself as a fighter against broken government.  And that the speech was in fact modified.  It had been drafted for some unknown vice presidential nominee.  But it was made less masculine once she was chosen last week—Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  To add to your body of information on this, we‘re getting some of the excerpts now, Andrea.  And I think it‘s fair to say, there don‘t seem to be, in the excerpts, anyway, any significant attacks on Obama or the Democrats. 

However, guess who has been attacked?  That would probably us, the collective us.  Let me read one before we go back to the floor at the Xcel Center.  “Why she‘s going to Washington D.C.” is the headline on this excerpt.  “I‘m not a member of the permanent political establishment,” she says.  “And I‘ve learned quickly these past few days that if you‘re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.  But here‘s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators, I‘m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion, I‘m going to Washington to serve the people of this country.” 

Who those reporters or commentators might be, she does not say, at least not in the excerpt.  It will be interesting to see if they are named in that speech.  There‘s no one I can think of, off the top of my head, who did what she is apparently complaining of tonight.  But she will be doing the complaining herself.

Now back inside the Xcel Center to our podium correspondent, not quite at the podium at the moment, but Ann Curry is with us now. 

Ann, good evening. 

ANN CURRY, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Keith, listen, I want to tell you, in response to what you reported, which is the first I‘ve just heard of it just now.  You know, in talking to people, it seems to me that she‘s saying this tonight in her speech because it will have play. 

There are people in America who feel over the course of the last few days that we have seen and heard the kind of portrayal of her that, for a lot of people, brings sympathy.  There are a lot of women and men as well who sympathize with the fact that she has a son who is going to Iraq, sympathize with the fact that she has a Down child, sympathize with the fact that she has a child who has—is having a child out of wedlock and that she‘s enduring all of that in addition to now being now the vice presidential nominee after this convention. 

So I think that she‘s saying that tonight, here on this podium behind me, because I think that there will be a lot of people listening tonight from both sides of the aisle who will have sympathy for her on this score. 

OLBERMANN:  All right.  Ann Curry, our podium correspondent at the Xcel Center.  Thank you, we‘ll get back to you later on. 

As we continue our roundup of our correspondents as the evening unfolds, Ron Allen is on the convention floor with at the Xcel Center with the former New Jersey governor, Christi Todd Whitman. 

Ron, good evening to you. 

RON ALLEN, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Keith.  Yes, the hall is starting to fill up.  I‘m here with former Governor Whitman, also former head of the EPA.  And I should say, from the great state of New Jersey, it happens to be my home state. 

Do you feel a sense of history here tonight? 

CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN ®, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR:  Without question.  I mean, this is the first time, this party, our party, my party, has nominated a woman.  And when you look at the choices that are going to be presented to the American people, with an African-American, a black American man at the head of one ticket and a woman as the vice presidential candidate on another ticket, you have choices such as we have never seen before.  It‘s exciting.

ALLEN:  Is it going to be tougher for her because she‘s a woman? 

WHITMAN:  Well, I have to say that I think it‘s always tougher for women.  They are held to a different standard.  And actually women are usually harder on women than even their male counterparts are.  So it will be tough.  But again, the focus is going to be primarily, after we get through this week, on the presidential candidates. 

ALLEN:  You said, when we were talking before, that your response to people who are complaining would be, get used to it, it‘s the world we live in. 

WHITMAN:  Well, the world we live in, unfortunately, means that there are no parameters, there are no boundaries, and everything is going to be put out there.  But I hope the American people will start to help draw those boundaries and say, enough is enough.  I mean, if a person‘s daughter gets pregnant outside of wedlock, so what, what does that say about them?  A young person may have made not a great decision for their lives, but they made it and that doesn‘t reflect on their parent‘s ability to do anything.

ALLEN:  Indeed, there is a line and it is hard for us to find it in many aspects of this society.  Thanks very much, Governor, appreciate it. 

WHITMAN:  My pleasure.

ALLEN:  Keith, back to you. 

OLBERMANN:  Ron Allen, with Governor Whitman.  Thank you, Ron.  We‘ll get back to you later on—Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go right to NBC News chief White House correspondent David Gregory. 

One victory that John McCain has already achieved it seems, based upon all of the polling and what we‘re watching here in the Xcel Center, he has won the Republican Party.  They are his. 

DAVID GREGORY, NBC CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  That‘s no small thing.  This is a party that has never loved him.  And here you have George W. Bush who‘s saying he‘s ready for the job, it falls to John McCain to pick up the mantle of George W. Bush. 

But the excitement inside, I can guess there‘s nervousness.  There is a lot of trepidation.  It‘s kind of like a roller coaster ride, what are they going to get with Sarah Palin?  But they are excited.

And I think that they would have looked up and though that John McCain would have been an unlikely Republican to give them that gift. 

MATTHEWS:  How does he set this up with the media on one side, Ronald Reagan as his almost foster father?  How does he do it? 

GREGORY:  I think he‘s doing it by trying to create an icon here, and trying to create a narrative, which is, here‘s a political newcomer who the media establishment is against and so far is saying, who is she?  Does she belong here?  Is she qualified to be here? 

And he can say, oh yes, they did it to Ronald Reagan, remember that?  And they didn‘t do it as much to Barack Obama, and he‘s a newcomer.  Yet they are doing it to her.  It‘s not fair.  If they say that she is wrong, she might actually be right.  We may be onto something here.  And I think they‘re trying to built support.

But she still has to deliver.  I think there‘s a big test for her to fill in some of the gaps here.  And there‘s a lot of people who think that she can do it.  They have got the excitement, they‘ve got the buzz.  They‘ve created it for her and now she has to come through. 

MATTHEWS:  But what I said a moment ago, check me on this, David, is it possible that they have staged this tonight so well with the odds so much seemingly against their candidate for VP that she‘s going to beat the odds?  That it‘s not that hard to do what she‘s going to have to do tonight, beat the spread, beat the—with the media poised as the enemy, expectations down, the newcomer?  Is that dramatics 101? 

GREGORY:  Well, as Tom Brokaw said, I do think there are stages to this test.  This is an important one because she‘s going to play on a national audience.  People maybe have read about her in People magazine.  They‘re hearing a lot of the news reporting.  But they want to see her firsthand. 

There‘s a lot of people, men and women, who I think like her story.  It may not be like a lot of their lives, in some cases, it may be very much like their lives, that she knows what she believes and she has a life that‘s in common with a lot of people in terms of struggles that people deal with. 

So she can fill in the gap and I think do very well in this hall tonight.  There will be a bigger test down the line, how she deals with the national glare, how she deals with the debates, how she deals with some of the substantive questions about what you do.

You know, Barack Obama, as a newcomer, had to face those same questions.  A lot of people feel that because he has been inspiring and a terrific speaker and has bipartisan sensibility, he has been able to overcome the experience questions. 

But I don‘t think he has completely overcome them, not even in the Democratic Party. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you, David Gregory.  Back to you, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Chris Matthews, thank you. 

When Chris and I return, opening thoughts from our panel.  Plus Joe Scarborough inside the convention hall.  And we‘ll talk to the protestors who misspelled the name of the network.   This is MSNBC‘s coverage of the 2008 Republican Convention.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to MSNBC‘s coverage of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.  I‘m joined right now by our panel, MSNBC‘s chief Washington correspondent; Norah O‘Donnell, Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post, MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard, and MSNBC political analyst Patrick Buchanan. 

Pat, I recognize the tactic here.  You start a fight with the press, establish your underdog status, take them on, win public approval.  Is that what‘s going on here with the candidacy and the nomination of Sarah Palin? 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  No.  I think it‘s utterly foolish to say that Sarah Palin has started a fight with the press.  The press has been savage on her and feral on her ever since she was nominated. 

She has been an obsession of the press.  She has been attacked, her daughter‘s pregnancy has got two or three stories on the front page of The New York Times.  It has been a disgraceful performance by the press. 

Fred Thompson took it on last night and I certainly hope she takes it on tonight, because quite frankly, it is a battle that the press started, and the conservatives and the Republicans really ought to finish. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, it could be said, Pat, that you are part of that strategy right now because of what you are saying.  Savagery is a strong word. 

Michelle, do you accept that, the press has been savage in its inquiries about a brand-new national figure at the highest level?

MICHELLE BERNARD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I think the tabloid press has been savage in their treatment of Governor Palin.  But I have to say that just as people ask questions about Barack Obama and his qualifications to be president of the United States, I think it is legitimate inquiry to ask about her qualifications to be one heartbeat away from the presidency if Senator McCain is elected and should something, you know, happen to him and she ends up taking over as president. 

I think it‘s a legitimate line of inquiry.  But that being said, questions about her daughter‘s pregnancy, her daughter is not running for vice president, she‘s not on the ticket.  It needs to be left alone.  And I‘m happy to say that I have not seen much...

NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  Media doing that.

BERNARD:  . of that type of discussion here at all.  It‘s all in the tabloid press. 

MATTHEWS:  I wonder, let me—Norah, you called my attention to it.  This is in an excerpt that has been released for—for release.  We can—we don‘t feel any embargo.  And this is going to be part of Governor Palin‘s address to the nation much later tonight. 

“I‘m not a member of the permanent political establishment.  And I‘ve learned quickly these past few days that if you‘re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.  And here‘s a little news flash for those reporters and commentators, I‘m going to Washington to seek their good opinion.  I‘m going to Washington to serve the people of this country.” 

Those are the words, of, it seems to me, ginning up a fight, Norah O‘Donnell.  She wants this fight and she wants it between herself and the Washington media. 

N. O‘DONNELL:  Well, this is the continuation of the strategy that the McCain campaign is using.  They are saying that these questions about the vetting process are outrageous.  They have even called them sexist. 

So they are going to continue that.  The principal herself, Governor Palin, will do that tonight.  She‘ll do some other things in this speech that I think are very interesting.  She, of course, is going to talk about herself as a reformer.  She‘s going to paint herself and talk about being the average hockey mom.  And then she will in fact attack Barack Obama on the very issue of experience, which Sarah Palin is being challenged on. 

She will say: “I guess a small town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” That is a pow in the face of Barack Obama and back at Democrats.  I think the headlines in part will read tomorrow, not only about this woman and what she says as she tries to introduce herself to the American people, that she‘s no wallflower. 

Because she‘s going after the media and she‘s going after Barack Obama in the speech.  And, Pat, you can probably tell me better than—but I have a feeling that the crowd is going to like that inside that hall tonight. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Yes, that is the point.  That is the point.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  It always works.  Gene, here, it seems like this is old political tactics, start a fight with the media and the establishment, portray yourself as the underdog. 

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Absolutely, absolutely.  Look, who knew that Republicans were so sensitive and finely attuned to any whiff sexism or ageism or anything like that.  I wasn‘t aware that the Republicans were such hothouse flowers about all of this stuff.

But in any event, if I were in her position, I would probably run against the media too.  It‘s an easy target and it wins you points. 

(CROSSTALK)

N. O‘DONNELL:  There is one important thing to point out, the media is not attacking Sarah Palin.  The media has done investigative pieces, and their job, about the way Sarah Palin was chosen.  Those actually raise questions about John McCain, why he chose Sarah Palin.  What is it about her?  What does it say about the principle, the man who is running for the president of the United States?  Why was she on the short list? 

BUCHANAN:  Legitimate question.  But I think the reason the media has got a problem is the American people have watched the media and what they have done in the last five, six days.  And so they know the media‘s record there and they know what she is going to say and they can judge who started the fight, who was vicious and who was savage, and who was not, was it fair and was it not.

(CROSSTALK)

N. O‘DONNELL:  There‘s no fight.  There‘s no fight between the media.

(CROSSTALK)    

N. O‘DONNELL:  There‘s no fight, Pat. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Pat, I‘ve been here every night.  Four days, there has been inquiry, certainly, if you want to go to the supermarket tabloids and point to them as the media, you can make a fight.  But it seems to me if you have a one-day vetting procedure, the press has to pick up on the absence of a serious vetting procedure.  It‘s the press‘s job to find out who these people are.  I hate to tell you, it‘s our job. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  We‘ll be right back.

BUCHANAN:  Do you think The New York Times could‘ve put those twice or three times on the front page talking about her pregnant daughter for God‘s sake? 

MATTHEWS:  You know what?

ROBINSON:  It was announced in a press release by the McCain campaign, Pat. 

BUCHANAN:  And you put it—they put it on the front page? 

ROBINSON:  It was announced in a press release by the McCain campaign. 

BUCHANAN:  Why did they put it on the front page? 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  . to destroy this nominee before she got into the convention tonight. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, the worst critique.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let‘s move on.  We‘ll get back to.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  They sure didn‘t talk about John Edwards.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  . ever leveled against the press—the worse critique ever leveled against the press, the real press, not the shopping press, not the Safeway press, the real critique against the press that hurts me is when anyone accuses you of being in bed with the establishment and not doing the job of digging up the dirt on them.  That is our job.  And we‘re back to Keith. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  The Safeway press.  A great phrase, Chris. 

Up next, our Savannah Guthrie reports from, ironically enough in the light of that conversation, Sarah Palin‘s hometown of Wasilla, Alaska.  We‘re going to talk politics there. 

Plus, MSNBC‘s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski with the buzz at this hour from the floor of the Xcel Center.  You‘re watching MSNBC‘s coverage of the 2008 Republican Convention.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  We rejoin you with MSNBC‘s coverage of the Republican National Convention.  If you were with us during the Democrats convention in Denver, you may recall that before the big speech that night at Mile High Stadium, Savannah Guthrie trudged all the way to the top of the stadium at great, personal, physical expense.  She is now taking the track all the way to Alaska for us at presumably some physical expense and is learning more about Sarah Palin in Wasilla, Alaska.   Savannah, good evening. 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Keith.   Well, I didn‘t have to walk, so that was good. 

OLBERMANN:  What is the mood there?  What is the reaction to all this?  What is the answer locally to John McCain‘s statement tonight that the state of Alaska has vetted Sarah Palin.   That that‘s the real answer to that part of the controversy. 

GUTHRIE:  Well just driving in here tonight, Keith, I already saw signs that say “good luck Sarah, we love you Sarah.”  So there‘s no question she was a popular mayor here and she is a popular governor here. 

Frankly, when you talk to townspeople, what I‘ve heard them say to reporters is that there‘s a mixture of pride and surprise, that their own governor, their own mayor of this tiny town has found herself on this national stage.  And what you are seeing now is this descent of the media into this state.  I‘m not the only reporter here and people are really scrutinizing this record.  Even a record that goes back many, many years as a mayor and as a city councilwoman.  People really trying to understand who this figure is, the kinds of decisions she‘s made.  Obviously so there‘s a vetting process that‘s gone on by the voters of Alaska, but there‘s a larger process now going on by the national media of people wondering just who she is this Sarah Palin and what would she bring to the McCain ticket. 

OLBERMANN:  Is there a sense of her in her tenure as mayor there of being at all out of the traditions of that town or those communities, that neighborhood?  We hear, in the preliminary investigations that have been done by reporters, apparently that first campaign that she ran to get into the mayor‘s office contained issues such as national issues, issues of lifestyle choices, issues of, again national things that don‘t have anything to do with whether or not you‘re going to pave a road in a town of 7,000 people.  Is that seen in retrospect as the dawn of a new and productive era or the end of an old one?  Any sense of that?

GUTHRIE:  Well, I think it‘s something of a mixed bag.  She was a popular mayor and she did a lot for this town.  She cut property taxes, increased sales taxes a little bit to pay for a sports complex that is still very popular here.  But a lot of the townspeople have told reporters that, when she ran for mayor, it suddenly became a different kind of politics, maybe a more sophisticated, more Washington type politics for a lack of a better term. 

In other words, it wasn‘t, as these townspeople have told reporters, it wasn‘t just a sense of hey, do you like her, do you know her, what do you think of her, maybe she could be the mayor.  But more injecting these national social issues into the mayor‘s race.  So it‘s less about garbage issues and water as most mayors in America will tell you.  It‘s really the bread and butter kind of issues that they deal, but more of the social implications were brought into the mayor‘s race.  And that was something Sarah Palin did that was something people hadn‘t really seen around here. 

OLBERMANN:  Savannah Guthrie at Wasilla, Alaska where I guess the trend here is from the top of Mile High Stadium to Wasilla, we‘ll be talking to from the North Pole in a matter of minutes.  Thank you kindly, Savannah. 

GUTHRIE:  Keith, thanks. 

OLBREMANN:  Chris?

MATTHEWS:  OK, right now let‘s go to “MORNING JOE‘S” Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.  They‘re with us from inside the Xcel Energy Center itself.  Joe, one question to you and to Mika.  Who started this fight, the media or the boys behind the convention?

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Well, Chris, you know, Mika and I can tell you firsthand, walking around, talking to people in the media, the national media, that this fight was begun with media chased rumors on the Internet and started calling Sarah Palin‘s people, started calling the McCain campaign and were aggressively following a story that just wasn‘t true about her fifth child, the child with Down Syndrome. 

That immediately put the campaign on the defensive.  That put Sarah Palin on the defensive.  I‘ve got to tell you though, it‘s not just Sarah Palin against the media tonight.  This is also a tale of two parties.  You have Sarah Palin running against the Washington establishment.  That‘s not just a Democratic Washington establishment.  She‘s running against the establishment of this own party, like John McCain in 2000, Pat Buchanan in 1992, Ronald Reagan in 1976. 

She is not the darling of K Street.  The lobbyists that we talked to today, the party officials that we talked today were concerned about her.  That‘s one part.  The so-called Republican elite establishment in Washington, D.C., they would have rather had one of their own.  They would have loved a senator. 

But you go to the floor, you talk to the people from every delegation from Alaska to Wyoming, these Republicans are thrilled.  And there is no doubt, when she goes after the Washington establishment, when she goes after the national media, that‘s going to be your biggest applause line. 

It is stunning to me, how this campaign is quickly turning into the Republican Party building a female candidate that people here believe have been unfairly attacked by the Washington media.  And they are going to actually play the underdog role despite the fact Mika that they have owned Washington D.C. for eight years. 

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC ANCHOR:  A couple things, big picture, Chris.  Everyone is going to be watching tonight.  I don‘t think we felt that way last week.  I don‘t think the Republican Convention was going to be as razzle dazzle a story to use David Axelrod‘s word this time last week. 

Now they have a history making story.  Sarah Palin is a great story.  There is dimension, there is texture, there is drama tonight.  And everything that I‘ve heard, it sounds like she could hit it out of the park.  And the Obama campaign knows that too.  I spoke with David Axelrod about 20 minutes ago and it seems like they don‘t know what to think yet. 

They say they don‘t think she requires a change in strategy.  You can tell they are watching and they keep that they are the candidacy of change, that she doesn‘t speak to the people in Ohio.  But I‘ll tell you this much.  I think speaks to women and I think she speaks to women who have children, women who have jobs, women who deal with real life issues.  She‘s on the front page of “OK” magazine.  So big picture, this could play into her hands, this whole controversy with the media that was started in a bad way, actually. 

MATTHEWS:  Joe, last thought.  Do you think they will get them so riled up in that convention hall they are going to storm the network booths?  Are they going to storm the Bastille after this is over, they‘re going to be so revved up by the governor?

SCARBOROUGH:  I know you remember this Chris, and Pat Buchanan and Gene Robinson.  Mika and I were talking about this beforehand.  This situation reminds us of 1988.  This campaign seems more like 1988 than any other campaign now.  If you remember, you had Dan Quayle abused the first week after the convention by the press, ridiculed.  So what happened?  James Baker took him to his hometown and when the press was shouting questions, Baker unknowingly miked the press.  They had boo mikes so every time they asked a question, the crowd booed, Dan Quayle looked like the victim and it actually worked and put the media back on their heels.  It may happen here also.

BRZEZINSKI:  It will lower expectations.  Everyone is probably either A, feeling sorry for her about the rumors that have been spread on the Internet and B, just going to watch her for the drama of it and she sounds fairly confident, if not very confident.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Chris, back to you. 

MATTHEWS:  Joe and Mika, thank you for that excellent preview of tonight‘s opera buff.  Let‘s go back to Keith Olbermann. 

OLBERMANN:  And by the way Chris, I love your reference to the ballyhoo boys.  I don‘t know who else gets it.  It‘s Edward Arnold as James Taylor in “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” isn‘t it?

MATTHEWS:  Right.  That Taylor machine, I‘ve got it revved up. 

OLBERMANN:  The Taylor machine.  We‘ll see if people feel sorry about unfounded rumor on the Internet.  If that‘s the case, Senator Obama is probably standing up and cheering and waiting for people to feel sorry for him.  When Chris and I return, we‘ll be joined by Tom Brokaw, Chuck Todd from inside the convention hall.  And later on, Luke Russert and Republican Senator Mel Martinez of Florida.  This is MSNBC‘s coverage of the 2008 Republican Convention.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  We are back.  This is our live coverage of the Republican National Convention.  The media mean has been so long established in this country, the running against the media idea that the candidates often turn on a dime on this point.  It was only in March at an event for “Newsweek” magazine that Governor Palin of Alaska who then did not seem to be a national political figure by any stretch of the imagination was asked about Senator Hillary Clinton‘s complaints and the campaign‘s complaints about media coverage.  She described Senator Clinton as whining.  And now, we turn around in a matter of months later to a totally reversed situation. 

Tom Brokaw is with us alongside NBC News political director Chuck Todd inside the Xcel Center.  This is I guess a tradition as old as time itself, Tom. 

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  It is and it has worked particularly well I think for the Republican Party, Keith.  They always feel that this country is held captive or held hostage, if you will, by what they would call the eastern liberal press establishment. 

Let me read you what Governor Mitt Romney will say in his opening paragraph tonight.  “For decades, the Washington sun has been rising in the east.  Washington has been looking to the eastern elites of the editorial pages of the ‘Times‘ and the ‘Post‘ and the broadcasters from the coast.”

This is Mitt Romney, who is the head of Bain Capital based in Massachusetts, he was the governor of Massachusetts.  He became a man worth hundreds of millions of dollars by dealing with the eastern establishment.  So I think we‘re going to see this pattern throughout.  It‘s been going on for a long, long time.  In 1964, it was probably the apotheosis of this at the Goldwater Convention when John Chancellor was let off the floor and had that memorable line “John Chancellor reporting from somewhere in custody.”  We‘ll grown ups.  We‘ll have to deal with all this. 

I think it‘s important for our audience to know that what we have been reflecting here in the last 24 hours or so is what we have been hearing and not just from Democrats.  A lot of Republicans, members of the establishments, even members of John McCain‘s most ardent supporters are raising questions about Sarah Palin. 

She‘ll begin to answer them tonight.  I do think it‘s fair to say everyone should reserve judgment until we hear from her, not just tonight, but in the weeks to come as well, Chuck Todd.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  Well no and it is, I‘ll tell you, one of the problems the McCain campaign has is there‘s too many Republican sources for the press corps are the ones raising questions and that is one of the issues that I think that the McCain campaign has to figure out to combat.

You‘re not just combating the press.  You‘re now combating their sources that are helping out with this tonight.  But let‘s not forget the history.  We‘re about to have a historical moment and that is the Republican Party is going to have its first non-white male nominee national nominee for national office.  That‘s a big deal. 

BROKAW:  And there is, as a result of that, a kind of sisterhood forming around the country on my anecdotal evidence at least I think because of the 24 hour, seven days a week cable cycle, all the blogging that has been going on.  A lot of women across the country who may not share a lot of views with Sarah Palin feel that they need to stand behind her for the moment at least from an emotional and mental point of view because she is a woman and she‘s been thrust into the spotlight.

TODD:  And not only that, this is what this opportunity is tonight.  Big opportunity, there are going to be nontraditional Republican voters who are going to tune in tonight.  They‘re curious.  They‘re listening to her and there are a lot of people rooting for her to succeed.  Women, particularly working women who haven‘t been following the last three or four days who are working and they want her to succeed.  They are rooting for her.  So if she gets them something, it could give a big boost to this ticket and erase some of the cynicism, Keith. 

BROKAW:  I think Keith, it‘s always hopeful, for me, at least on these occasions to kind of close your eyes and imagine the people looking and who are not on the floor.  Imagine, for example tonight, a waitress in Norfolk, Nebraska, working in a fast food place, they‘ve got a television set.  She‘s had the four to midnight shift, she‘s got two kids at home, her husband left her a couple of years ago.  She‘s going to watch Sarah Palin with a different set of eyes than a lot of other people who are on this floor and whether she represents her. 

If you go to somebody on a ranch, way out in southwestern Texas, and they‘re looking at her and they get up every morning with their husbands and they go out and in cabbing season, have to work real hard and have to get the hay up.  They are working real hard.  They are going to look at her with a different set of eyes than a lot of other people.  Back to you, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  All right Tom, thank you.  Thank you, Chuck Todd.  Kelly O‘Donnell is standing by on the convention floor amid a colorful display by the Michigan delegation, which ties into this self-identification, Kelly, in the excerpts we‘ve already seen for Governor Palin of the governor as a hockey mom.  What have you got there?

KELLY O‘DONNELL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Exactly.  I‘d like to introduce you to another woman who self-describes herself as a hockey mom.  This is Darlyn Vigh of Michigan and you told me that you really didn‘t know a great deal about Governor Sarah Palin, but there are some things that you think you can learn from her just because of a similarity in your life experience.  Tell me about that.

DARLYN VIGH, MICHIGAN DELEGATE:  Well, I too am a hockey mom.  I have two boys, one played high school, one played college hockey.  And I know I can relate because she must really utilize her time very well with the dedication that hockey brings about. 

O‘DONNELL:  Do you think that reflects on her night that she‘s going to have to introduce herself and to try to say that she‘s qualified for this position?  Do you see something relevant in that?

VIGH: Well I think, like I said, I think she really must utilize her time wisely with five children and able to handle hockey and everything else.  She‘s definitely somebody that multitasks and I just think she‘s going to be able to handle this perfectly. 

O‘DONNELL:  Darlyn, I appreciate that.  And part of why we were drawn to Darlyn is because the delegation in Michigan, they are all wearing hockey jerseys, the Detroit Red Wings.  Keith, this is more in your lane than mine.  They had a really good year winning the Stanley Cup.  And each of these jerseys is signed by Gordie Howe, and this was a way for Michigan, big battle ground state Michigan to try to show some solidarity with a woman they‘re just getting to know.  Keith?

OLBERMANN:  Always tough to get Michiganers to wear hockey jerseys.  University of Michigan, Minnesota State, the NCAA Red Wings, it‘s a good look.  Thank you, Kelly.

Coming up, Senator Mel Martinez of Florida.  Much more from New York and from St. Paul when Chris Matthews and I return.  This is MSNBC‘s coverage of the Republican National Convention.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  That nice lady is holding my bobble head.  I‘ve got to say hello to her later.

Welcome back to MSNBC‘s coverage of the Republican National Convention.  We‘re joined right now by Senator Mel Martinez of Florida, an early supporter of John McCain.  Help me out here, senator, about this new definition of perhaps gender bias.  According to Deborah Tannen of the Georgetown University, she‘s a professor there, said that the media has crossed the line by speculating about whether the Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, is neglecting her family in pursuit of national office.  Quote, “What we‘re dealing with now, there‘s nothing subtle about it,” the professor said.  “We‘re dealing with the assumption that child rearing is the job of women and not men.  Is it sexist?  Yes.” 

Do you believe, senator, that it is sexist to believe that women have a particular role in rearing children that men don‘t have?

SEN. MEL MARTINEZ ®, FLORIDA:  Chris, I‘m a dad.

MATTHEWS:  Is that sexist, to suggest something about women in that regard. 

MARTINEZ:  I‘m a dad and a grandpa and let me tell you something.  I‘ve changed a lot of diapers in my time.  At the end of the day, this is about Sarah Palin and her opportunity to be the first woman vice president of the United States.  It‘s a very historic moment. 

I think all this other talk, it‘s a lot of noise, but it really isn‘t about the issue that is at the heart of this incredible choice by John McCain which has really energized this convention and this party. 

MATTHEWS:  What about Carly Fiorina saying tonight the Republican Party will not stand by while Governor Palin is subjected to sexist attacks.  Do they know what they‘re talking about, or is this just politics?

MARTINEZ:  Look, I think you and I both know that the scrutiny she‘s been under has been borderline unfair.  But I‘m not a whiner and I don‘t think Sarah Palin is either.  I think she is a fighter and I think she is going to go out there tonight and take this convention by storm and I think tomorrow we‘ll be talking a lot less about these peripheral issues and more about what a great vice president she is going to make and what a great choice John McCain made. 

MATTHEWS:  Have you confident that she will weather the storm in the next couple months, will she weather the storm, senator?

MARTINEZ:  Look, I think she‘s a tough lady.  I think she has a history of being in the middle of a lot of stuff that she has weathered in her life and I think that whether it be family challenges or whether it be the challenges of dealing with the national press, I believe Sarah Palin is up for it and I don‘t think she would have stepped into this thing if she didn‘t think she was.

And, so, I‘m very sanguine about it.  I‘m very encouraged and I think it‘s going to be an exciting 60 days.  I mean, she really brings an incredible amount of exciting to this ticket and to this race and I think.  I mean, Chris, I think Sarah Palin has been a game changer.  The fact of the matter is we now see how excited the Republican base is and how excited I think a lot of Independents.  Look, the I-4 corridor in Florida, Sarah Palin speaks to them. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.  I like the way you talk, Senator Mel Martinez

of Florida.  Back to Keith

OLBERMANN:  In the next hour, Chris, speeches from former business leaders, Meg Whitman of eBay, Carly Fiorina of Hewlett Packer and later, three of John McCain‘s former rivals all speak on his behalf.  Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani before the obvious headliner tonight, vice presidential running mate Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska.  Chris Matthews and I will return after this.

KEITH OLBERMANN, CO-HOST:  Coverage (ph) stage—day three, but only night two of a full evening schedule of the Republican National Convention at Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, excerpts from her prepared remarks, Senator McCain‘s running mate casting herself as an outsider, not a Washington insider, saying that is why some in the media believe she is unqualified for the job, also questioning the experience of the Democratic nominee, Senator Obama.

Alongside Chris Matthews in Saint Paul, I‘m Keith Olbermann at MSNBC headquarters in New York.

And, Chris, just back to your interview with Senator Martinez before the top of the hour where he said that Governor Palin is not a whiner but, of course, as we noted earlier in March, as Senator Clinton was called a whiner by Governor Palin, and in the excerpts of her speech tonight, she postulates a media is prejudice against her because she‘s not from a big town.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, CO-HOST:  Yes.  I think it‘s fair to say, without casting any moral judgment on it, we‘re watching a political plan taking effect tonight.  It‘s begun for the last couple of days.

If you bring out a candidate for vice president of the United States on quick notice, if you present that name off the usual list, you are guaranteeing that the major serious press in this country will go to work.  The major editors of the major news organizations will be making assignments, the best reporters will be assigned, the news will develop.  It is a very predictable phenomenon and it‘s a good one.

If, however, you use that predictable phenomenon as a set up for political game you‘re going to play, that‘s political gamesmanship.  It should be seen as that.  The major press has a job to do.  It‘s to dig up stuff on people who would rule this country.  We have to do it.

The best reporters are the toughest at it.  This is what we had.  Thomas Eagleton was not discovered in his problem of having had electroshock therapy by the man who put him up, George McGovern.  Clark Hoyt broke that story.  So, somebody has to break these stories.  It‘s not always popular to do so, but if something breaks bad about this nomination, if there is some problem out there with this nomination, it‘s not going to come from the Republican National Committee, it‘s not going to be issued as a press release, it‘s going to be coming because some good reporter is out and does the job and the American people expect that to get done.

And, so, this is a bit of a set up here, but it‘s fair enough.  It‘s politics.  They want to have an enemy and they want to take it on.  But better they fight a war in a phony sense than a real war.  That would be my thinking.

OLBERMANN:  The head of the trooper union in Alaska, Chris, John Cyr, is just saying at this hour that Governor Palin is using her office to demonize her ex-brother-in-law, that‘s the trooper Mike Wooten; that goes back on that whole trooper-gate story.  Cyr is also telling NBC News the union is filing an ethics complaint against Governor Palin on behalf of trooper Wooten.  He says the union is accusing the governor‘s office of violating Wooten‘s rights.  More on that one as it develops.  Add it to the file.

In the interim, our Andrea Mitchell is down on the convention floor and with a former nominee of this party, the former Senator Bob Dole—

Andrea.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Thanks very much, Keith.

Senator Dole, what do you think of this ticket of McCain-Palin?

BOB DOLE, ® FORMER U.S. SENATOR:  Well, I think it‘s the surprise of the year so far.

MITCHELL:  How do you think she will play across the country and, particularly, your home state of Kansas and in North Carolina where your wife‘s from?

DOLE:  Yes.  Well, I think she‘s sort of a mainstream conservative, you know, and not way out there.  And it‘s not because she‘s a woman, we don‘t want to insult woman.  So we picked a women, well, we did make history for the first time as Republicans, but, you know, I think her family, she‘s had a lot of experience in public service, 16 years.  I don‘t know her well, I haven‘t met her.  So, I can‘t prejudge her, but tonight will tell us a lot about her.

MITCHELL:  Do you think it‘s going to be difficult for her having never been on the national stage to put up with the scrutiny and the spotlight of our national campaign?  How tough is it?  You‘ve been there.

DOLE:  Yes, no question.  She‘s got a lot of homework to do.  Let‘s face it.  You just don‘t walk out and say—our next vice president.  You know, you got, and I know people are working with her and I got a lot of confidence in her.  And, I‘ll be happy to have her come to North Carolina any day she wants.

MITCHELL:  I bet she can help Liddy Dole.

You know, you ran in ‘76 as vice president and you ran for president 20 years later.  What lesson did you learn about how tough it is to run on the national ticket?

DOLE:  Well, particularly for, you know, joining the vice president squad and do the yard work, you know—in ‘76 we had kind of with Ford, a Rose Garden strategy and I was out beating up everybody, and that probably won‘t be the case this year.

MITCHELL:  All right, Bob Dole -

DOLE:  I think it‘s going to be tough for Joe Biden, too, you have got

to be very careful and not -

MITCHELL:  Running against a women.

DOLE:  Not because she‘s a woman—just the respect you pay for people, in particularly, a woman.

MITCHELL:  And, in fact, just today, Senator Biden said that he was going to treat her with the respect that she deserves and he was going to handle it in that way.

Bob Dole, the senior statesman, former majority leader, former candidate for president—great to see you, and, of course, the sponsor of the World War II memorial.  Thank you, senator.

DOLE:  Thank your husband for going to (inaudible) for me.

MITCHELL:  Bob Dole has been very happy in helping the homeless, Keith and Chris, helping a homeless shelter that we‘ve all been supporting in Washington, D.C., and that‘s what he‘s referring to.

OLBERMANN:  All right.

DOLE:  Well, you got him to go.

MITCHELL:  Well, we all got him to do it.

OK.  Back to you guys up in the booth.

OLBERMANN:  Andrea, thank you.

DOLE:  Most money I ever raised.

OLBERMANN:  Thank you, Senator.

Let‘s bring in NBC News special correspondent, Tom Brokaw, who as we mentioned an hour ago at his 22nd convention—I emphasize that as a point of pride and admiration, having barely survived these two, myself.

Let me ask you this about one thing the Democrats suggested last night, Tom, that there had been no discussion of the economy whatsoever or almost none.  Is that—is that a fair complaint?  Is that an irrelevancy?  Give me your perspective on this.

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:  My perspective on it is that we have not finished this convention yet, for one thing.  I think that seeing Bob Dole and doesn‘t he look great—he‘s a World War II veteran so severely injured in the closing months, of course, of the Italian campaign.  He‘s the old war era of the Republican Party and got a wonderful policy senator down there in Kansas and here he is back at this convention.

Well, when you see Bob Dole, you‘re reminded of his own run against Bill Clinton and my guess is that the McCain people are using that as a template about what they don‘t want to do.  Bob Dole left that convention with a fractured party, a lot of people who also ran really took control of it.  He chose Jack Kemp who was a member of the Republican establishment as his running mate and he never really got traction against a very charismatic incumbent, and that was Bill Clinton.

What John McCain is attempting to do here is to not have that as his model.  First of all, he has to put this party back together again.  He has to persuade these delegates and the Republicans who run the get out the vote operation that he‘s one of them and he has, too, great conventional thinking by going to Sarah Palin.

So, I think that‘s what we‘re seeing tonight and that‘s going to be the political theme of this campaign.  They‘ll begin, my guess is, to talk much more about the economy once he leaves here, Chuck Todd.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  Well, it‘s interesting you bring up Dole/Kemp because that was—they went backwards.  That was the best of the ‘80s and they put it together in ‘96.  And the pick of Palin is about, “Hey, this is the 21st century Republican Party.  We can make history, too.  Democrats aren‘t the only ones that can make history.”

But on the point of the economy, once speaker I‘m most curious about, who was on the short list, who was vetted, Meg Whitman, former CEO and chair, she‘s going to address this convention.  John McCain became very fond of her during the campaign and Arnold Schwarzenegger is reportedly loves the idea of seeing Meg Whitman succeed him as governor of California and you know what happens once you become governor of California, as long as you‘re a born citizen of this country, you‘re automatically seen as a future national leader.

So, I love conventions in this respect.  You always can find a future party leader.  Just watch Meg Whitman tonight, you might be seeing somebody who could be president someday.

BROKAW:  Very impressive and if nothing else, she can help you buy old bowling shirts on eBay as a trader.

TODD:  Well, and obviously, Sarah Palin tonight sold a private jet on eBay.  There‘s a whole theme going on tonight about eBay.

BROKAW:  Keith, we want to just say one more thing, Keith, while we‘re here.  Chuck and I have been talking - we think the trooper-gate business in Alaska really is at best a speed bump, if it‘s even that.  It‘s really a demonstration of how people are going around and turning over every rock, but unless there‘s a whole lot more, I don‘t think it‘s going to have much effect on Sarah Palin.

TODD:  Think petty little rock politics, if you remember.  Well, all those little rock politics that we thought would trip up Bill Clinton.  That‘s what this has to peel off (ph).

BROKAW:  It has to got a lot more to rise to this first rule real important.  Back to you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  All right, gentlemen.  Let‘s stay with you for just a moment here about this—this dichotomy on the media and Sarah Palin and the picking of fights.  Is there—first off, is there a collective media to assume responsibility for the slights perceived or created, I suppose, is what I‘m looking for here?

BROKAW:  Well, this is not a legal argument nor is this a laboratory

experiment, this is a political tactic on their part, and the short hand is

let‘s go after the media.  And are they sorting out, for example, plots or conservative blogs or others who have, in fact, been defending all of this?  No, what they want to do is just raise the specter that everything that America sees is controlled by a tiny band of eastern liberal elites.

This is the same convention that tonight we‘ll hear from the mayor of the city of the largest city, New York City, Rudy Giuliani will be speaking here tonight.  John McCain was raised in a great military establishment family that they were raised a lot in the Washington, D.C. area.  He‘s been in the Senate for a long time.

But I completely understand what the political strategy and the tactics are.  Let‘s create something called the “eastern media elite” and go after them because we‘ve got to stick together this party.

TODD:  But a word of caution on it, didn‘t work in ‘92.  George H.W.  Bush tried this, I remember—annoy the media, re-elect Bush.  And it was in that ‘92 campaign, after that whole convention, in fact, I have some Republicans told me they‘re worried this convention has a feel of ‘92 inside the hall.  It‘s very excited, but outside, there‘s anxiety and nervousness.  The difference, of course, and that McCain did find a running mate that may have the basic side and fired up and may have swing voters, at least, tuning in where Bush running for re-election in ‘92 wasn‘t giving a compelling reason to tune back in.

BROKAW:  Yes, I think, Keith, I will add, felt this for a long time after having done it for as long as you‘ve pointed out—the American people at this stage really are taking all this in and they‘re digesting it.  And I don‘t think that they blame the “eastern media elite” for high gas prices, for troubles of the economy, for what‘s going on in here.  They‘re not—they may not be happy with everything they hear and they may have reason to blame some points of view, but I think that they‘re going to take a much longer view once we leave Saint Paul.

TODD:  I do wish one of us, one of our networks were based in Wichita.  I always thought, what would happen if we had, you know, not all in New York City and we were based in Wichita.  Then we would see whether this was, you know, if geography had a lot to do with this or not.  But, lo and behold, we‘re all in New York and Washington, so there you go.

OLBERMANN:  There‘s that Bristol, Connecticut, work for you, by the

way, in terms of the -

(LAUGHTER)

TODD:  I don‘t know, there you go (ph).

Well, that‘s what happens when you get all that east coast bias and Red Sox/Yankees highlights constantly and us Dodgers fans, we can‘t get anything on on that four-letter network.

OLBERMANN:  Well, yes.  That‘s because the west coast might as well be the east coast, as you well know, Chuck.  Thank you, Chuck.

BROKAW:  All right.

OLBERMANN:  Thank you, Tom.

TODD:  All right.

OLBERMANN:  Our Luke Russert is covering the youth issues throughout this campaign and through the conventions for us, and has now gotten reaction from young Republicans to the pick of Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska.  And Luke joins us now from inside the convention hall.

Good evening, sir.

LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Keith.  I‘m here with Kate, Kate from Virginia.  Young delegate, 20 years old.

Kate, as a Republican woman, what does McCain‘s pick of Sarah Palin mean to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s so exciting to me, especially that he‘s got a woman.  I find her so inspiring.  The fact that she‘s a mom; she‘s got five kids and rose to be governor of the state of Alaska just because she wanted her voice heard, that she can do it.  I feel like most young women look at her and think they can do it, too.  I think it‘s great.

RUSSERT:  From what she is seen so far, what do you think of the media coverage of Governor Palin?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, you know, as far as the experience thing, I think it may be a tad hypocritical, but, you know, I think it‘s important that we look at the issues and look at her policies and if people disagree with her policy stances, I think that‘s perfectly legitimate but I think she should get the same shot as anybody else.

RUSSERT:  Senator McCain based his entire campaign up to this point on experience.  Do you think he negated that by picking Governor Palin who‘s only been a governor for about two years?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I don‘t think he did at all.  I think that what‘s important with Sarah Palin is what she‘s done governor of Alaska.  And being the executive of state gives you experience that you don‘t get as senator and, I think, it balances our ticket out and I think it runs our perspective and I think it‘s a terrific choice.

RUSSERT:  Well, that‘s it from the young Republican on the floor. 

Back up to you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Luke Russert on the floor.  Thank you, kindly, Luke.

Also, covering the floor for us: Ron Allen is on the convention floor, again, with the former senator of Missouri: Mr. Danforth.

Ron, good evening.

RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Keith.

Senator Danforth, you‘ve been in the Senate for 18 years, what do you think of the matchup between Senator Biden and Governor Palin?

JOHN DANFORTH, ® FORMER U.S. SENATOR:  Well, they‘re total opposites.  I mean, he was elected to the Senate when she was in second grade.  If you want a Washington insider, if you believe that the heart and the soul and the brains of Washington are located in Washington, D.C., Biden is a terrific choice.  If, on the other hand, you think Washington is more of a problem than a solution, and that the strength of the country is outside the Beltway in Washington, then I think the nomination of Governor Palin is a real statement.

ALLEN:  This is a question of experience and experience can be measured in so many different ways—executive experience, legislative experience—what will someone like Governor Palin bring to matters of foreign policy?  You were the ambassador at the U.N. for a brief time, what can someone like that, who I understand it, just got a passport for the first time last year.  She‘s only been out of the country a handful of times, I think once, actually.  What does she bring to that?

DANFORTH:  You know, I am one who does not believe that the qualification to be vice president is that you‘re a Washington type, that you‘ve been in the Senate or some Washington office.  I mean, that rule would have ruled out Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, all kinds of people.  I just don‘t think that that is the qualification for being vice president.

I think what she brings, well, or executive experience, but in addition to that, it‘s really the question of inside Washington versus outside Washington.  And which way do you want to go?

ALLEN:  Well, John McCain has been inside Washington for quite some time himself.

DANFORTH:  That‘s right.  But, I mean, he is some kind of Washington guy because he is—he is the number one maverick in Washington and the Senate.

ALLEN:  Thank you very much, senator.  I sorry I have to go.  Back up to you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Ron Allen, thank you.  Senator, thank you.

Let‘s go back out to Saint Paul and Chris Matthews.  I got a question for you, my friend.

Did Senator Danforth not just sort of land on the one problem of the outsider argument being used for Governor Palin that necessarily, you‘ve got an outsider on the ticket and the other person is, to some degree, one way or the other, maverick or not, an insider who has been in Washington since the early 1980s—do these, can these things exist simultaneously without canceling each other out?

MATTHEWS:  Well, of course.  John McCain was military liaison with the U.S. Senate.  He was the ultimate establishment figure.  I mean, to be in the position representing one of the services to the U.S. Senate is one of the all-time inside jobs.  Then, of course, to become a United States congressman and a U.S. senator, and all these years enjoying—let‘s be clear about this—tremendous support from the Washington media.

John McCain is an immensely popular figure among the Washington media.  He used to say that the press was his base.  I mean, I‘m sure we had that on tape in many places because he did enjoy, when he went out with a straight talk express on his wonderful bus trips, I was among that happy band on occasion.  There was tremendous camaraderie.  When he deals with now is the reality that in—it doesn‘t have to do with party politics or ideology but there‘s always a love of the new, there‘s always an appeal of the new.

Let‘s face it, the governor of Alaska will benefit from some of that.  Barack Obama has benefited from that.  The new kid on the block whether it‘s Bill Clinton or it‘s Ronald Reagan, in a sense, back in ‘80.  The new kid gets the appeal.  The news business, I think, does like the new.  It may like the young, as well, although not always because I think Ronald Reagan got a fabulous press and Pat Buchanan won‘t even admit it, I think, under (INAUDIBLE).

But the fact is that this -

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Don‘t you think the media is in love with Governor Palin?

MATTHEWS:  I think the media is in love this story, Pat, because it‘s a fascinating story.  And I‘ll tell you this—if she gets up there tonight and gives a wildest speech, you‘re going to hear like sorties after a big Broadway smash.

BUCHANAN:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  All tonight, people say how great she did.  You can predict

it.  Nobody‘s going to -

BUCHANAN:  All right.  Well, tell me this -

MATTHEWS:  Deny her a successful night if that‘s the case.

BUCHANAN:  Will say it sent a tingle up your leg?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  I‘m always a multi-faceted reporter.  And I do report fully on my experiences in the hall.  And whether you get a new line, let me know, would you, buddy?  It‘s a little tired right now.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  But it‘s a good one.  David—let me go right now to David who‘s on the floor right now to get to see if he‘s got a full report.

David, is this the buzz right now?  The incipient war right now between the almost Goldwater establishment in terms of (INAUDIBLE) eastern media as Tom Brokaw pointed out.  This is an old, old conflict and it may be a useful one to the Republican Party.

DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  I think it is and I‘ve got Nevada Senator Ensign with me here to talk about this.

We‘re talking about the being narrative that‘s being set up for Sarah

Palin, and whether there‘s too much scrutiny for her.  Let me get to how

you and other Republicans are feeling because I, certainly, wouldn‘t

question based on my reporting, there‘s a great deal of excitement in this

hall and I have also talked to Republicans who are fairly nervous, as well

would you concede that?

SEN. JOHN ENSIGN, ® NEVADA:  Ever since last Friday the excitement level which was pretty last Friday has continued to build.  Every place, people I‘m talking to and the excitement level, the energy level that she brought to this convention, Republicans will be honest.  They weren‘t really excited coming into this convention; they didn‘t think it‘s going to have a lot of energy.  She injected huge amounts of energy.

The only thing that people are questioning is because a lot of people don‘t know a lot about her, but the potential is huge because of her record, the type of woman she is, the type of life story she has.

GREGORY:  All right.  But, senator, let me ask you this.  If you want John McCain to be next president of the United States and in some ways his choice is a big decision could go a long way toward determining that—are you satisfied that they know everything about her before putting her on this ticket?

ENSIGN:  Well, I don‘t think you ever know anything, everything about

anyone.  There are things that come out about Barack Obama and in campaigns

you‘re going to discover new things about everybody in campaigns.  But the bottom line is, is that Sarah Palin has brought energy to our base.  I think it‘s going to help, not only the McCain ticket, it‘s going to help Republicans up and down the ticket across the United States because a lot of our base is not excited about turning out and they are excited about turning out now.

GREGORY:  All right.  Senator Ensign, thank you very much for being here.

ENSIGN:  Nice being with you, David.

GREGORY:  Back to you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  David, thank you.

Now you‘re going to hear the speech of Meg Whitman who left her creation, eBay, to join the McCain campaign.  Here‘s Meg Whitman.

MEG WHITMAN, MCCAIN SUPPORTER:  And even as president and CEO of a “Fortune 500” company, I never dreamed I‘d have the honor of speaking to my fellow Americans at such a critical moment in our nation‘s history.

When I was growing up, opportunities for women were still limited.  And when I went to college and graduate school, I lived in environments that had just recently admitted women and were still getting used to having us around.  And when I began my business career, female executives were still a novelty and many of our male colleagues questioned whether we‘d make it.

But my parents, especially my mom, inspired me.  She constantly reminded me that I could be anything I wanted to be, I just had to earn it.

And, mom believed in America.  She knew if I worked hard and delivered the results I would succeed in this remarkable nation.  So, from an early age, I was an optimist about America.  And I am a Republican because our party understands that America‘s success, the success of her people comes not from the size of its government, but from the character of its citizens, the strength of its communities, and the nobility and truth of its ideals.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

WHITMAN:  Tonight, delegates from this convention will choose our nominee.  We are proudly the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, and today, we are proudly the party of John McCain.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

WHITMAN:  I‘ve known Senator McCain for several years and the more I‘ve gotten to know John, the more my admiration for him has grown.  John‘s pride in America and his belief in its spirits are electrifying.  And I can say with certainty that when he‘s sitting in the Oval Office, in every decision he makes, President McCain will put his country first.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

WHITMAN:  For John, putting country first is the calling of a lifetime.  He lives by a code of honor that is unmatched by anyone in American politics.  And on the most important duties, we place on a president—John is more prepared to lead than any person in America.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

WHITMAN:  Now, America faces challenges abroad, but we also face great challenges here at home, and it would be foolish to deny what we all know to be true.  Our economy is struggling and Americans are hurting.  We live in a time of economic anxiety and hardship.  The cost of everything from gasoline to groceries to healthcare has gone up, while the value of our homes and our investments have gone down.  Mortgages, ones thought to be safe are now threatened, and industries once strong are now dying.

Since John began his campaign, he‘s heard the concern in your voices and your stories—the stories of hard-working Americans who believe that politicians are out of touch and out of ideas.  Now, that may be true of some politicians, but it is not true of John McCain.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

WHITMAN:  John‘s a different breed.  He understands hardship in a way that few of us have ever known.

Most important of all, Senator McCain and Governor Sarah Palin, the real agents of change in this campaign, have solutions for the challenges we face.

In its first 100 days, a McCain administration will put this nation on a path towards energy independence.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

WHITMAN:  John is a man with extraordinary determination and he will push relentlessly for the right energy policies—from lifting the ban on offshore drilling, to building more nuclear reactors, to promoting conservation and alternative forms of energy.

Energy independence will also stop massive amounts of money from going to our enemies abroad.  It will lower gas prices at home.  And it will reduce the harm to our planet‘s climate.

Energy independence must be our generation‘s moon shot, and John McCain and Sarah Palin will lead us in that historic effort.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

WHITMAN:  Senator McCain and Governor Palin will lead us in another vital effort—lowering your taxes.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

WHITMAN:  In his first 100 days at office, they will put forward proposals to double the size of the child tax exemption, putting more money in consumer‘s pockets.  They will push Congress to reduce business taxes so that entrepreneurs and, especially, small businesses have the money they need to expand and create jobs.  And they will offer tax incentives to every individual and family in America to buy health insurance.

And John McCain and Sarah Palin will simplify our mind-numbing tax codes so that filling out your taxes is not a dreaded annual nightmare.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

WHITMAN:  Our Democratic opponents view raising taxes as a measure of their compassion and fairness.  John understands the truth.  Higher taxes encourage wasteful spending, demonstrate government‘s inability to choose among competing priorities, and destroys your prosperity.

As president, John McCain will be guided by simple beliefs—that having worked long hours to earn your money, you should keep more of it, and that government shouldn‘t spend more than it takes in.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

WHITMAN:  The same kind of frank, common sense conversations every American family has about the need to balance the checkbook, living within your means, and tightening the belt during hard times, are the conversations John will have with members of Congress and they will listen.

Now, Republicans know that John‘s solutions rest on a sense of principals that are true and tested and enduring.  Foremost, among them is his belief that there is no challenge that cannot be overcome by individual freedom.  Government does have a vital role to play in our life, and it should be effective and efficient in meeting its fundamental responsibilities.  But Republicans understand that government does not create wealth or prosperity, individuals do.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

WHITMAN:  America is all about the inspired individual—men and women who are free to pursue dreams and ambitions in a society that encourages creativity, industry, advancement and risk-taking.

Now, John McCain doesn‘t want to attack success and achievement, he wants to encourage it.  He doesn‘t want to redistribute our national wealth, he wants to increase it.  He doesn‘t want more big government, he wants much more self-government.  And John McCain understands that you know what is best for your money, your family, your community and your life.

Now, John‘s principles run like a golden thread throughout our history.  This has made America‘s story the greatest and proudest and most hopeful of any in history.  Make no mistake, Americans face tough challenges today.  And sometimes, there‘s a temptation for us, having borne freedom‘s burden for so long, to grow tired.  But when Americans have faced their hardest hardships, they have written history‘s greatest chapters and we‘re going to do it again. 

The solution to the problems of our time are found in the ingenuity, spirit, determination and decency of the American people.  All we need is a leader who recognizes this and who can, by virtue of his character and his love of country, call us to do great things. 

When the American people cast their vote in November, they will do what they have always done.  They will put country first.  They will choose John McCain as our next president of the United States. 

Thank you very much. 

OLBERMANN:  Meg Whitman.  Meg Whitman, the former CEO of e-bay.  There‘s an e-bay sub theme to tonight as well.  We already heard Tom Brokaw and Chuck Todd talk about buying bowling shirts.  And I know Chuck Todd has bought baseball cards on e-bay.  I‘m not saying I‘m not guilty of that as well. 

Still ahead from the convention stage tonight, Carly Fiorina, formerly of Hewlett Packard, and then Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani, and Sarah Palin.  And, also, Senator McCain has tonight given a curious interview addressing Governor Palin‘s lack of international experience or even travel and he has turned to geographical proximity as an explanation.  We‘ll give you an explanation of that when our coverage of the 2008 Republican Convention continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  As we await Carly Fiorina‘s address to the Republican National Convention, let‘s talk for a moment about something that has just crossed from an ABC interview tonight, Chris, with Senator McCain about many topics, Charlie Gibson touched on with him.  One of them that is most interesting, because we have heard this before, but not from Senator McCain, was, as Gibson put, the questions really revolve around foreign policy experience, relating to his vice presidential pick.  Can you honestly say you feel confident, Gibson asked, having someone who hasn‘t traveled outside the United States until last year dealing with an insurgent Russian, with an Iran with nuclear ambitions, with an unstable Pakistan, not to mention the war on terror? 

The senator‘s answer tonight to ABC was, sure, and one of the key elements of America‘s national security requirements are energy.  She understands the energy issues better than anybody I know in Washington, D.C. and she understands.  Alaska is right next to Russia.  She understands that. 

The geographical proximity point has been raised in other quarters before, but as I suggested, that is the first time Senator McCain has said that.  Can you interpret that for me? 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I got it through a family member who has a military connection, who told me that part of her duty as governor of Alaska was to get, and has been to get regular briefings on Russian national government behavior.  She is, in fact, informed by our military as to what Russia‘s up to as part of being up there in that general border area.  So, it is a fact that she‘s, obviously, based on my information, been briefed on more information about the Russians and what they‘re up to than another governor might. 

However, it does become a bit scanty as a case, because this is the sort of argument that George W. Bush made in 2000, that he was a border governor and dealt with Mexico, and, therefore, he was ready to be a world leader.  Of course, that was tested later with mixed results.  And, so, I think it is a hard case to make. 

OLBERMANN:  The point‘s been made before and it does—I think your point and your information on that is I think it adds a texture to it and a context to it that makes it a little more relevant than it was.  But it seems odd that that is the first answer you would bring up in defense of the—certainly the local and statewide credentials, as opposed to the national credentials or the international credentials of your vice presidential pick. 

It doesn‘t seem like the first thing you‘d pull off the pile in her or his defense, in this case hers. 

MATTHEWS:  As you all know, it‘s what you do with what you got.  That‘s what she‘s got.  I have to say that I really liked what Tom Brokaw said about 25 minutes ago, that this sort of side show, this debate within the debate, between the Republican ticket and the media, is a fairly familiar feature of politics, especially Republican politics.  It doesn‘t seem to matter much when the voters get closer to the decision. 

The real conflict which will emerge, hopefully, in a good debate, will be what happens after the candidates meet in public debate and 80 million people, perhaps, watched certainly that first debate and they begin to decide who has it.  And usually, they don‘t decide that until they see the two candidates face to face.  And they make a judgment as to who has strength and who will be their defender, in all their interests, over the last four or eight years. 

And I think that is the real test in a presidential campaign.  It‘s not how many fights you can start to show you‘re tough.  It‘s, in the end, who has the toughness over the other candidate.  So I think we have a great campaign ahead of us, Keith, especially later this month when we both get to see and all this country—in fact, four or five times as many people watching this convention will get to see these two candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, of different age, of different generation, of different backgrounds, different experience, meet in very asymmetric warfare, with each with their own strengths and weapons and weaknesses. 

It‘s going to be—you think tonight is great?  Tonight is going to be a great preliminary, seeing the governor of Alaska meet the country, not the press, meet the country.  We will meet her.  But just think about that excitement in Mississippi and Oxford and Old Miss when we see Barack Obama walk into that studio and meet and shake hands with John McCain.  That‘s the real conflict, and I think the wonderful test of this campaign to come. 

OLBERMANN:  In preparation for meeting the country and meeting the press, obviously, Governor Palin has been getting the help and the instruction of the McCain campaign.  For more on what exactly that‘s consisted of, let‘s go back down in this interlude, during this musical interlude to the floor and Kelly O‘Donnell, who has been covering the McCain campaign.  What does it consist of, Kelly? 

KELLY O‘DONNELL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Keith, I have been able to talk to some advisers who have been in the room and working for many hours with Governor Palin.  To give you an idea of what that looked like, she worked until about midnight last night.  They have a separate podium set up, with a teleprompter, allowing her to read the speech.  And she worked with a man named Matthew Scully, a speechwriter who has worked for McCain and President Bush, collaborating on all of this.  And she has been working today from about 1:00 until about 6:00, practicing this. 

And we‘ll try to give you more color—we‘ll give you a little more color in a moment.  Carly Fiorina, who has been on the trail with John McCain quite a bit, is now at the podium. 

CARLY FIORINA, FORMER CEO OF HEWLETT PACKARD:  Will we continue to compete and lead in the global economy?  Will we create more jobs here at home?  Will we educate our children for the rigors of this new century?  And will we prepare our workers to remain the best and most productive in the world? 

Will we power our economy and still protect our environment?  Will we defeat our enemies and strengthen our alliances with other democracies?  Will we demand that government be both more efficient and more responsive?  Will we demand that citizens keep more of their money and make more of their own choices? 

Or will we decide that government bureaucracies know better than Americans and their families?  The choice America makes this November doesn‘t just echo for four or eight years, but will reverberate for many years to come.  In this historic election, we have a clear choice between two very different governing philosophies, but we also have a choice, between rhetoric and promises and a life-long commitment to service and reform. 

You have heard the stories of John McCain‘s life, but consider just for a moment how truly remarkable his life has been.  His love of country has been tested in ways few among us can imagine.  He has demonstrated his maverick spirit, time and again.  And his appetite for reform is unmatched. 

He has always reached his hand across the aisle to move our country forward.  And it is the sum total of all of these experiences and all these tests of leadership that have made John McCain who he is and prepared him for the presidency. 

We must elect a leader with the courage and resolve to do the tough things, and the character and the wisdom to do the right things.  That leader is John McCain. 

I know John McCain.  He understands that government‘s highest calling is to unlock and unleash the determination, the creativity and the potential of every single American.  He believes that every American should have an equal opportunity to achieve the American dream.  He believes that people should be freed and empowered to make their own choices. 

John McCain believes that all institutions of power and wealth, whether they are government agencies or global corporations, must both be transparent and accountable to those they serve. 

Today, Americans are concerned about keeping their jobs.  They‘re concerned about keeping their homes, about the rising price of food and fuel.  They are concerned about whether they will be able to find or afford the right health care.  They are concerned about whether they or their children will have the skills and education they need to compete in the 21st century. 

They wonder whether government will stand by their side or get in their way.  I know John McCain.  And if we make the right choice, in 2013, American families will keep more of their hard earned money.  Small and large businesses alike will be creating jobs here and spurring robust economic growth, because America will, once again, be a great place to build a business. 

Workers—workers will be able to seek retraining to ensure they have the latest skills.  John McCain will simplify the tax code and reduce the tax burden.  Innovation and entrepreneurship will be rewarded.  John McCain will empower individuals and companies to create wealth, opportunities and jobs. 

American families will have real choices about how to ensure their children receive a quality education.  They will have real choices and access to affordable health care. 

I know John McCain.  In 2013, America will be more energy independent because of his determination that we must power our own country and his long-standing commitment to protecting our environment.  John McCain will create a cap and trade system that will encourage the development of alternative energy resources.  He will help advance clean coal technology and nuclear power.  And all this will both create jobs and lower the cost of energy. 

I know John McCain.  He will demand that the federal government be transparent and accountable to the American people.  In his first year in office, he will subject every agency to a top to bottom review and post the results on the Internet for every American to see. 

He will eliminate wasteful spending, veto bills laden with pork, and, yes, he will achieve a balanced budget by 2013. 

You know, many people talk about changing Washington.  John McCain has the knowledge, the guts and now, in Sarah Palin, the partner he needs to actually get it done. 

I know John McCain.  I have seen him with our wounded veterans, far away from the cameras.  I have seen his eyes fill with tears of gratitude for their service.  He knows the cost of war in a deeply personal way, and as both a son and father of warriors.  He knows that our liberties and our freedoms only come with a sacrifice of brave men and women.  John McCain will bring our troops home with victory and with honor. 

And John McCain will not negotiate with brutality and he will never shrink from calling evil and aggression by their names.  John McCain has the courage of his convictions and the wisdom to act on them. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I am truly honored to say I know John McCain.  I am proud to support him.  As a woman, I support him because I know he values the contribution of women to our families and to our communities.  He values the contribution of women to our economy and to the governing and protection of our nation. 

As a business person, I support him because I know his programs will strengthen small business, foster growth and create jobs. 

As a Republican, I support him because I think he embodies both the best traditions and the bright future of our party. 

Most of all—most of all, I support him as an American.  Electing John McCain is the choice we must make.  We are choosing a leader of courage and resolve, a leader of character and wisdom.  He will do the tough things and he will do the right things.  He is the choice we must make for our families.  He is the choice we must make for our nation.  And he is the choice we must make for the next generation. 

Thank you very much. 

OLBERMANN:  Carly Fiorina, from Hewlett-Packard to the McCain campaign, with a few stops in between.  Chris and I will be back in a moment.  We‘ll hear from the panel and then we start rolling out those speeches big time and back-to-back.  Three of McCain‘s rivals, the three main rivals, in fact, for the Republican nomination in the late winter, Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York.  And then about an hour and a half, roughly, from now, the rollout of Governor Sarah Palin.  You are watching MSNBC‘s continuing coverage of the 2008 Republican convention. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Before moving on the marquis names coming up in the next hour, a word or two about the last two speakers we heard from Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. 

MATTHEWS:  There‘s some powerful networking going on here by John McCain and his campaign.  Bringing Carly Fiorina in, of course, with her history with Hewlett-Packard and her whole credibility at such a high level in the business world.  Of course, Meg Whitman right before her, the founder of e-bay, powerful stuff. 

These are not just business people.  These are political animals, political figures.  Carly Fiorina met recently with Tony Rodham, who is the brother of Hillary Clinton, up in Pennsylvania.  She met with the sister of the mayor of Scranton, who was a big Hillary supporter.  She is—this campaign is really trying to network among very high-powered women, especially, to try to bring in the Hillary people. 

This is a very serious border war, a very serious effort at a very high level.  It‘s not just the Norma Rae‘s, if you will, the people making below 50,000 a year, the people who want higher minimum wage and health care and child care.  It‘s power women they‘re bringing in.  This is a very interesting effort. 

OLBERMANN:  We‘ll see if it might be a little belated after what the Democrats did to heal last week.  In any event, in the coming hour, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.  Then at about 10:00 eastern, Rudy Giuliani, followed by the much-anticipated, gosh did you hear about this, it‘s the governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, John McCain‘s pick to be vice president.  Her big speech.  Before that, Chris and I return after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Our MSNBC location at St. Paul, Minnesota.  Before that, you saw exteriors of the Xcel center in St. Paul and the 2008 Republican National Convention.  Chris Matthews is there.  I‘m Keith Olbermann in New York.  Let‘s go into the Xcel Center for our senior correspondent—our special correspondent Tom Brokaw and our political director Chuck Todd on something that you may have noticed we have been trying to compensate for it.  But, Tom, we got jumped a couple times by speakers because, in what might be a convention first—and you could address this better than could I—they‘re ahead of schedule?  Why are they ahead of schedule?  That couldn‘t have happened by accident. 

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST:  Our MSNBC location at St. Paul, Minnesota.  Before that, you saw exteriors of the Xcel center in St. Paul and the 2008 Republican National Convention.  Chris Matthews is there.  I‘m Keith Olbermann in New York.  Let‘s go into the Xcel Center for our senior correspondent—our special correspondent Tom Brokaw and our political director Chuck Todd on something that you may have noticed we have been trying to compensate for it.  But, Tom, we got jumped a couple times by speakers because, in what might be a convention first—and you could address this better than could I - they‘re ahead of schedule?  Why are they ahead of schedule?  That couldn‘t have happened by accident. 

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  Well, it‘s interesting, Keith, to jump on this scheduling.  We‘re hearing a couple of things.  One is the prime time hour has now become very precise.  Number one is—it appears Governor Palin‘s speech is going to be longer than anyone expected it to be.  And because of that, they‘re going to have to move things around.

Governor Linda Lingle, somebody who was going to be introducing Governor Palin from Hawaii.  She‘s now being moved in to the hour before, so they had to make room there, that means they‘re shuffling things around.

But what we‘re finding fascinating about the primetime broadcast 10:00 hour on the east coast, is they do not leave a single minute of gap between Rudy Giuliani at the top of the hour, the video on Governor Palin and Governor Palin‘s speech.

What does that mean?  They‘re trying to get rid of the filter of the news media a little bit.  That‘s an added benefit, we‘re not saying that‘s what they‘re doing, but it is an added benefit.  It keeps the commentary from us to a minimum so that they hope that the speeches speak for themselves and there isn‘t too much over-analysis or regular analysis.

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:  And it‘s not just what we may have to say in this hall, they don‘t want to run the risk of going to some commentary from a Democrat who may appear from a remote location or a delegate on the floor who may not have got on the script.  They don‘t want to take any chances.

This has been true of these conventions for the last several cycles as tightly-scripted as possible.  I was listening to the invocation earlier and I was thinking, I‘m sure that they want that word by word (INAUDIBLE).

TODD:  Oh, last night, it‘s funny you say that last night, the invocation included the phrase, country first—in the invocation.  So, it just shows you, it‘s tightly-scripted and now we‘re seeing on the time cues, they are not missing a beat because they‘re doing—I mean, look, they believe that the media filter is not helping them and, in particular on Governor Palin, they do not want to have a heavy filter tonight.

BROKAW:  I guess—Keith, I was just going to say, I guess, the last time I could remember real continuity is that long evening in 1980 in Detroit when we wondered whether Ronald Reagan would, in fact, pick Gerald Ford as his vice presidential candidate.  It began to unravel on the floor, at one point, two governors said to me—it‘s done, it‘s a deal.

Bob dole came running over to me and he said, “What did they just tell you?”  And I said, “They told me it is a done deal,” and with that, Bob Dole and Howard Baker both said, “We‘re going to the hotel.  Don‘t go back on the air saying it‘s a done deal because it‘s not.”

And from then on, Democrats and Republicans wrote these scripts page after page, hour after hour, minute after minute.

OLBERMANN:  And, yet, Chuck, the schedule last night was so far behind by 10:00 o‘clock, that when the broadcast networks joined our coverage and we say that in a manner of speaking—they got, perhaps exactly what they did not want.  I mean, the Republicans‘ point of view—it‘s not just about precluding media analysis, they want to control that message at the beginning and the Democrats do exactly the same thing but they also failed at it last night.

TODD:  Well, that‘s correct.  And that‘s something I want to—meant to bring up.  They did.  They left too big of a gap and a lot of the networks were trying to get President Bush‘s remarks which arguably it‘s possible some in the McCain campaign didn‘t want to see the president‘s remarks in that primetime hour.  And, you‘re right, it was kind of a mess and they didn‘t get to dictate exactly how they wanted it and Fred Thompson‘s speech didn‘t get covered in full by a lot of folks.

I think, tonight, they feel like they learned a lesson from last night.  Look, some of this is speculating on our part.  We‘re just watching how they‘re doing this, but, you know, where—there appears to be a wink and a nod going on here.

OLBERMANN:  Right.  We‘ll see what‘s on—I‘m sorry, Tom, go ahead.

BROKAW:  I was just going to say, you just have to add one more phrase to that line, all‘s fair in love and war and political conventions.

OLBERMANN:  Indeed.  We‘ll see where we are.  Mitt Romney is scheduled soon, I guess, is the best we can do.  Ann Curry is scheduled now from inside the convention hall with the last speaker, Carly Fiorina—Ann.

ANN CURRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  That‘s right.  I‘m with McCain economic adviser, Carly Fiorina.

Thank you for talking to us.  Congratulations on the positive response to your speech tonight.  You‘ve got a major moment tonight in this event this evening with the speech of Governor Palin.  I‘m wondering, the campaign is saying that she‘s been unfairly scrutinized because she is a woman.  What is your take on that given your position as a powerful woman in America?

CARLY FIORINA, MCCAIN ECONOMIC ADVISOR:  I agree with that.  And I gave a press conference where I said that I thought much of the treatment of her has been sexist.

CURRY:  In what way, specifically?  For example, would you say that critics would say that she‘s unfairly, that she‘s not—doesn‘t have the experience with this job or being sexist in bringing that up?

FIORINA:  Well, when she is called a cheerleader of the west, that‘s sexist.  When people basically dismiss her two years of experience as a governor making executive decisions, when they‘re just completely dismissive of that, I think it smacks of that old sexist game of calling women “show horses” but not workhorses.

You know, Sarah Palin is a workhorse.  She—the truth is, the facts are, she has made more executive decisions in her political career than Barack Obama has.  And, so, in the sense of trying to compare and contrast those dismissing her record and elevating his, yes, I think there‘s an element of sexism.

CURRY:  Let me ask you this because people are very concern that a woman who has been governor of a very short period of time and mayor of a very small town, and the governor state of Alaska does not have a huge population relative to many other states in America, that she‘s a heartbeat away from the presidency by giving, she also has no foreign policy experience, something that Americans are concerned about—should not this be scrutinized?

FIORINA:  Are Americans concerned that a man who has never made an executive decision in his life is going to potentially be the president?  I think I‘m quite surprised that the issue seems to be her experience and not his experience.

CURRY:  All right.  Carly Fiorina, thank you so much for talking to us.

FIORINA:  Thank you.

CURRY:  Now, Keith, back to you.

OLBERMANN:  All right, Ann.  As we go to Governor Mitt Romney, formerly of Massachusetts—one note in there, to dovetail Miss Fiorina‘s remark.  I have to defend the president of the United States.  He was a cheerleader once.

Here‘s Governor Romney.

MITT ROMNEY, ® FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you so very much.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  Thank you.  Thank you so very much.

Ann and I love you all.  We have a deep feeling in our hearts for you.  We respect you for the values you have and the vision we have for America together.  Thank you so much our dear friends, we sure love you.  Thank you.

You know, for decades now, the Washington sun has been rising in the east.  You see, Washington has been looking to the eastern elites to the editorial pages of the “Times” and the “Post” and broadcasters from the coast.

(CROWD BOOING)

ROMNEY:  Yes, if America really wants to change, it‘s time to look for the sun in the west because it‘s about to rise and shine from Arizona and Alaska.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  Last week—last week the Democratic convention talked about change.  But what do you think, is Washington now liberal or conservative?  Let me ask you some questions.  Is the Supreme Court decision liberal or conservative that awards Guantanamo terrorists with constitutional rights?  It‘s liberal.

Is a government liberal or conservative that puts the interest of the teacher‘s union ahead of the needs of our children?  It‘s liberal.

Is a Congress liberal or conservative that stops nuclear power plants and offshore drilling making us more and more dependent on Middle Eastern tyrants?  It‘s liberal.

Is government spending putting aside inflation liberal or conservative if it doubles since 1980?  It‘s liberal.

We need change all right.  Change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington.  Throw out the big government liberals and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  It‘s the same prescription for a stronger economy.  I spent 25 years in the private sector.  I‘ve done business in many foreign countries.  I know why jobs come and why they go away and I know that liberals don‘t have a clue.  They—they think that we have the biggest and strongest economy in the world because of our government.  They‘re wrong.

America is strong because of the ingenuity and entrepreneurship and hard work of the American people.  The American people have always been the source of our nation‘s strength and they always will be.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  We strengthen our people and our economy when we preserve and promote opportunity.  Opportunity is what lets hope become reality.  Opportunity expands when there‘s excellence in choice in education, when taxes are lowered, when every citizen has affordable health insurance, and our constitutional freedoms are preserved.

Opportunity rises when children are raised in homes and schools that are free from pornography and promiscuity and drugs, where there are homes that are blessed with a family values and the presence of a mom and a dad.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  America, America cannot long lead the family of nations if we fail the family here at home.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  You see, liberals would replace opportunity with dependency on government largess.  They grow government and raise taxes to put more people on Medicaid, to take work requirements out of welfare, and to grow the ranks of those who pay no taxes at all.  Dependency is death to initiative to risk-taking and opportunity.

It‘s time to stop the spread of government dependency and fight it like the poison it is.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  You know, it‘s time for the part of big ideas, not the party of big brother.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  Our economy is under attack.  China‘s acting like Adam Smith on steroids buying oil from the world‘s worst and selling nuclear technology.  Russia and the oil states are siphoning more than $500 billion a year from us in what could become the greatest transfer of economic wealth in the history of the world.

This is no time for timid, liberal empty gestures.  Our economy slowed down this year and a lot of people are hurting.  What happened?  Mortgage money handed out like candy and speculators bought homes for free.  And when this mortgage-mania finally broke it, it slammed the economy and stratospheric gas prices made it worse.

Democrats want to use the slowdown as an excuse to do what their special interests are always begging for—higher taxes, bigger government, and less trade with other nations.  It‘s the same path Europe took a few decades ago.  It leads to moribund growth and double digit unemployment.

The right course is the one championed by Ronald Reagan three 30 years ago and by John McCain and Sarah Palin today.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  The right course is to reign in government spending, lower taxes, take a weed whacker to excessive regulation and mandates, put a stop to torque windfalls, and to stand up to the tyrannosaurus appetite of government unions.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  The right course—the right course is to pursue every source of energy security from new efficiencies, to renewables, from coals and non-CO2 producing nuclear, and for the immediate drilling for more oil off our shores.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  And I have one more recommendation for energy conservation. 

Let‘s keep Al Gore‘s private jet on the ground.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  Last week—last week did you hear any Democrats talk about the threat from radical and violent jihad?  No.

You see, Republicans believe there is good and evil in the world.  Ronald Reagan called out the “evil empire,” George Bush labeled the terror-sponsor states exactly what they are, the “axis of evil.”

And at Saddleback, after Barack Obama dodged and ducked every direct question, John McCain hit the nail on the head, radical violent Islam is evil and he will defeat it.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  This party -

(CROWD CHANTING)

ROMNEY:  Well, that is for sure.  You‘re hearing it here.  You‘re hearing it here and they‘re hearing it across the country.  You see—in this party, in this room tonight and all over America, people in our party prefer straight talk to politically direct talk.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  Republicans led by John McCain and Sarah Palin will fight to preserve the values that will preserve the nation, will strengthen our economy and keep us from being held hostage by Putin, Chavez, and Ahmadinejad.  And we will never allow America to retreat in the face of evil extremism.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

ROMNEY:  Just like you—just like you, there‘s never been a day that when I was not proud to be an American.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

(CROWD CHANTING)

ROMNEY:  We—we Americans inherited the greatest nation in the history of the earth.  It‘s our burden and our privilege to preserve it.  To renew its spirits so that its noble past is prolong to its glorious future.  To this, we‘re all dedicated and I firmly believe, by the providence of the Almighty, that we will succeed.

President McCain and Vice President Palin will keep America as it has always been—the hope of the earth.  Thank you and God bless America.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

OLBERMANN:  Governor Romney with the first of three speeches by defeated challengers to Senator McCain in the primary race.  We‘ll next hear from Mike Huckabee and then Rudy Giuliani.

Our coverage of the 2008 Republican convention continues right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  The undercard continues with Mitt Romney already complete.  Mike Huckabee, the next speaker in a matter of moments, and then Rudy Giuliani.

Let‘s not leave Governor Romney‘s speech, let it fold into the history

books quite yet without initial assessments from Tom Brokaw and Chuck Todd

Tom.

BROKAW:  Well, I was struck by Governor Romney talking about the “eastern elite,” the “New York Times,” and the “Washington Post.”  As I said earlier, here‘s a guy who was governor of Massachusetts, introduced the idea of statewide healthcare in Massachusetts, got a lot of criticism from the Republican establishment from doing just that, and he has been a member of the eastern financial establishment for some time as head of Bain Capital.

He‘s not been a perfect fit for this Republican Party from the beginning.  He got a lot of attention when he first began to run for president.  He looked like he could be the guy who came up on the inside and captured the nomination, but he faded because he never seemed authentically a part of this Republican Party.  I didn‘t mean that he didn‘t have Republican credentials, but he was not the party that is making the nomination here tonight.

So, Mitt Romney wants to be a part of this party.  I think he wants to be part of the political future of this party, but it seemed to me that he has some work to do—Chuck.

TODD:  Well, I tell you, compare, watch Romney—watch the Huckabee speech and compare it to what you heard in Romney.  Both men—if John McCain is not the next president of the United States, both men are vying to be leader, the conservative frontrunner in 2012.  Romney was making a pitch here.  It wasn‘t as strong as I expected.  I expected a lot more fire and brimstone.

Huckabee should be interesting to hear here tonight.  He is somebody that could go a little more off script every once in a while.  So, it‘s worth watching.

BROKAW:  The other thing here, Keith, that—it‘s no secret for anyone who covered politics this past year is that there was a lot of personal feeling between Romney and John McCain.

TODD:  And Romney and Huckabee.

BROKAW:  And Romney and Huckabee.

TODD:  Huckabee and McCain formed that alliance.

BROKAW:  And John McCain just didn‘t like Mitt Romney and made no secret about it.  Now, I think that got prepared to a certain degree by mid-summer when Mitt Romney went to him and said, “I‘ll do what you need me to do.”  But, in fact, on a personal basis, pretty strong ill feelings and you saw that in those debates when Senator McCain all but turned his back on Mitt Romney a couple of times.

OLBERMANN:  Tom, you bring up a great point.  Let me bring Chris back into this.

What becomes, Chris, of Romney, of Mike Huckabee and the others of 2008 who Senator McCain defeated if this is—either, obviously, that‘s a victory, it‘s a whole different ball game to begin with but if it was a close defeat and Sarah Palin has somehow contributed to keeping it close and making the good race of this.  Even in defeat, would she not have a leg up or at least an equal standing with the Romneys and Huckabees going ahead to 2012?

CHRIS MATTHEWS, CO-HOST:  Well, perhaps, but she hasn‘t demonstrates that level of ambition.  What you have to look for in politicians is not the offices they‘ve held, but what is sought.

Romney wants to be president.  Old dreams die hard.  He‘ll run again.  He‘ll run again in a year or two if the campaign of John McCain doesn‘t succeed in November.  His campaign will begin rather quickly.  He‘s ready to go.  Huckabee, as well.

This campaign—everybody plays a number of hands, the hands they‘re all playing tonight is the victory of John McCain, but they have other hands they‘re playing and they include their own presidential ambitions.  There‘s no doubt that Romney wants to be president and he may well be president.

Let‘s bring in David Gregory right now, he‘s on the floor.

David, we‘re watching what looks to be the beginning of a very strong list of speeches now with Huckabee coming up and then, of course, Rudy Giuliani and, then of course, the big speech of the night of Governor Palin.

DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Yes, Chris, if you think back to the Democratic convention, the first couple of nights, what was the big question?  Where is the red meat against the Republicans?  Well, Republicans who started late with their convention haven‘t wasted any time.  I was struck by Mitt Romney, Tom and Chuck, and you have touched on it, positioning for perhaps another run.  But all the red meat here, talking about liberals, talking about the eastern elite, all of this is to sort of, to drive out the base and increase that enthusiasm.

I talked to a lot of Republicans at this convention who said, “Look, coming in here we were not that excited about John McCain, Palin has given these Republicans a reason to cheer.”  And they are really fueling that.

The difficulty, of course, is while they whip all this up, while they tactically go after the media more than Barack Obama and the liberals in general, they‘re going to have to pivot off of this and then say to those independent swing voters—McCain and Palin represent reform, they represent real change and not the Republican Party as usual.

So, I think they‘re fighting some of their competing interests here.  They are off to a very strong and partisan start.  What they want here in the hall, and I think we‘ll get a lot more of it from Sarah Palin, as well.

OLBERMANN:  And right now, we‘re going to get it from Governor Huckabee, who is the last man standing besides John McCain in the primary fight.

We‘re now told, as you see, that banner there that Governor Palin is on her way to the convention center, the Xcel Center in Saint Paul.

Governor Huckabee who delved briefly in television and may continue to do that, is now speaking that floor of the Xcel Center.

MIKE HUCKABEE, ® FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Good evening. 

Thank you.  Thank you very, very much.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

HUCKABEE:  Thank you.  Let me say, that as much as I appreciate this magnificent opportunity to speak tonight, I got to be honest with you—I was originally hoping for the slot on Thursday night called the acceptance speech.

(LAUGHTER)

HUCKABEE:  But I want you to also know that I am genuinely delighted to be here to speak on behalf of my second choice for the Republican nomination for president, John McCain.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

HUCKABEE:  John McCain is a man with the character and the stubborn kind of integrity that we need in a president.  But I want to begin by doing something a little unusual, I‘d like to thank the “elite media” for doing something that, quite frankly, I wasn‘t sure could be done.  And that‘s unifying the Republican Party and all of America in support of Senator McCain and Governor Palin.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

HUCKABEE:  The reporting of the past few days have proven tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert.

(APPLAUSE AND CHEERS)

HUCKABEE:  I grew up at a time and in a place where the civil rights movement was fought.  And I witnessed first hand the shameful, evil of racism.  I saw how ignorance and prejudice caused people to do the unthinkable to people of color, and it wasn‘t so many years ago.  I want to say with the utmost of sincerity, not as a Republican, but as an American, that I had great respect for Senator Obama‘s historic achievement to become his party‘s nominee, not because of his color, but with indifference to it.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  Party or politics aside, as Americans we celebrate this milestone because it elevates our country.  But the presidency is not a symbolic job.  And I fear that his election would elevate our taxes and our risk in a dangerous world.

Now, Obama was right when he said that this election is not about him

it is about you.

(APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE:  When gasoline costs $4 a gallon, it makes it tough if you‘re a single mom trying to get to work each day in a used car that you drive.  You want something to change.

If you‘re a flight attendant or a baggage handler and you‘re asked to take the pay cut to keep your job, you want something to change.

If you‘re a young couple losing your house, your credit rating and your piece of the American dream, you want something to change. 

John McCain offers specific ideas to respond to a need for change.  Let me say there are some things we don‘t want to change.  Freedom, security, and the opportunity to prosper. 

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Barack Obama‘s excellent adventure to Europe (LAUGHTER) took his campaign for change to hundreds and thousands of people who don‘t even vote or pay taxes here.  But let me hasten to say that it‘s not what he took there that concerns me.  It‘s what he brought back - European ideas that give the government the chance to grab even more of our liberty and destroy our hard-earned livelihood.  Fact is, my friends, most Americans don‘t want more government; they want less government. 

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) 

It was, it was, in fact, a founder of our party, Abraham Lincoln, who reminded us that a government that can do everything for us is the government that can take everything from us. 

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Now, I get a little tired of how the Democrats care so much for the working guy as if all Republicans grew up with silk stockings and silver spoons.  You see, in my hometown of Hope, Arkansas, the three sacred heroes were Jesus, Elvis and FDR, not necessarily in that order.  (LAUGHTER) 

My own father, for example, held down two jobs, barely affording the little rented house I grew up in.  My dad was one of those guys like so many of your dads, he worked hard.  He lifted heavy things.  He got his hands dirty.  In fact, the only soap we ever had in my house was lava.  Let me explain that.  I was in college before I found out it isn‘t supposed to hurt when you took a shower.  (LAUGHTER)

Let me make something clear tonight.  I‘m not a Republican because I grew up rich.  I am a Republican because I didn‘t want to spend the rest of my life poor waiting for the government to rescue me. 

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

John McCain doesn‘t want the kind of change that allows the government to reach even deeper into your paycheck and pick your pocket, your doctor, child‘s school or even the kind of car you drive or tell you how much you have to inflate your tires.  (LAUGHTER)  And he doesn‘t want to change the definition of marriage. 

And unlike the Democratic ticket, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin believe every human life has intrinsic work and value from the moment of conception.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And speaking of Gov. Palin, I am so tired of hearing about her lack of experience.  I want to tell you, folks, something.  She got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States. 

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

John McCain is, by far, the most prepared, the most experienced, and truly the most tested presidential candidate.  He is thoroughly tested.  When John McCain received his country‘s call to service, he did not hesitate, and he did not choose the easy path.  He sat alone in the cockpit taking off from an aircraft carrier to fly in the unfriendly skies knowing there was a good chance he might not make it back. 

And one day, he didn‘t make it back.  He was shot down and

captured, brutally tortured.  He could have eased his own pain, even cut

short his imprisonment just by uttering a few simple words renouncing his

country.  But then, as now, John McCain put his country first and he knew -

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

He knew that to return with honor later was better than to return without it now.  Most of us - most of us can lift our arms high in the air so that we can signify when we want something.  He can‘t even lift his arms to his shoulder, which is a constant reminder that his life is marked not by what he‘s wanting to receive, but rather by what he has already given. 

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Let me tell you about someone I know who understands this type of sacrifice.  On the first day of school in 2005, Martha Cothren, a teacher at the Joe T. Robinson High School in Little Rock was determined that her students would not take their education or their privileges as an American for granted.  And with the principal of her school‘s permission, she removed all the desks from her classroom on that first day of school in 2005. 

Now, the students walked into an empty classroom and they said, “Ms. Cothren, where is our desk?”  She said, “You get a desk in my classroom when you tell me how you earn it.”  Well, some of them said, “Making good grades.”  She said, “Well, you ought to make good grades in my class, but that won‘t earn you a desk.”  Another student said, “I guess we get a desk when we behave.”  Martha said, “You will behave in my classroom.  But that won‘t get you a desk either.” 

No one in first period guessed right, same for second period.  By lunch, the buzz was all over the campus.  Ms. Cothren had flipped out, wouldn‘t let her students have a desk.  Kids started using their cell phones.  They called their parents and by early afternoon, all four of the local network TV affiliates had camera crews out at the school to report on this teacher who wouldn‘t let her students have a desk unless they could tell her how to earn it. 

By the final period, no one had guessed correctly, so the students filed in.  Martha said, “Well, I didn‘t think you would figure it out.  So, I‘m going to tell you.”  And with that, she went to the door of her classroom and motioned and in then walked over 20 veterans, some of them still wearing the uniforms from days gone by, every one of them carrying a school desk. 

And as they carefully and quietly arranged those desks in neat rows, Martha said, “You don‘t have to earn your desk because these guys - they already did.” 

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

These brave veterans had gone halfway around the world giving up their education, interrupting their careers and families so that we could have the freedom that we have.  Martha told them, “No one charged you for your desk, but it wasn‘t really free.  These guys bought it for you.  And I hope you never, ever forget it.”

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I wish, ladies and gentlemen - I wish we would all remember that being American is not just about the freedom we have, it is about those who gave it to us.  And let me remind you of something.  John McCain is one of those people who helped buy the freedom and the school desk that we had.  John McCain helped me have a school desk.  And I want to tell you I pledged myself to doing everything I can to help him earn a desk and I am thinking the one that‘s in the Oval Office would fit him very, very well. 

Thank you, God bless you folks!  Thank you.  Thank you. 

OLBERMANN:  A colorful and evocative speech from former Gov. Huckabee, but with two factual errors that merit correction.  The Republican Party was not founded by Abraham Lincoln.  It was founded in 1854 by the disaffected members of the Whig Party.  Alvin Bovay was actually given credit for founding the party and calling the meetings.  Mr. Lincoln joined later on and ran for office in 1860. 

And also, I don‘t know where the comment came about Joe Biden getting fewer votes for president than did Gov. Palin for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.  Gov. Biden got 15,000 votes in Florida, 18,000 votes in California in the primaries there, more than could have been gotten in two elections for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska for Sarah Palin.  We‘re talking about the vote totals of Wasilla, Alaska. 

We‘ll be right back.  Mayor Giuliani will be the next speaker on Mr. McCain‘s behalf and our coverage of the Republican convention continues after this. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Gov. Huckabee just behind us and Mayor Giuliani just ahead of us.  Time back now to look at the speech of - the first of three speeches from tonight from Gov. Romney.  And Andrea Mitchell is on the floor of the Xcel Center right now.  Andrea?

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Keith, thank you.  Gov. Romney, there‘s a little red meat.  There, you went after Barack Obama a bit.  Do you think that Republicans need to really go after this Democratic ticket?  Would you like to see a more aggressive attack on the Democrats at this convention?

MITT ROMNEY ®, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS:  Well, I don‘t know that you make personal attacks on individuals, but you do point out weaknesses in their background.  I think Barack Obama is a very charming person, a well-spoken person.  He gives an address as well as anyone I know.  But his background and experience is really wanting when it comes to considering the presidency of the United States and actually Joe Biden said as much.  He said he wasn‘t qualified to be president.  I happen to agree with Joe Biden on that front. 

MITCHELL:  You said a lot of things about John McCain during the primaries, too, and that‘s when they were running against each other.  But how do you compare Sarah Palin, you know, against Barack Obama?  He, at least, has been tested in 20 months of a rough presidential primary campaign.  The voters have spoken - 18 million of them about Barack Obama.  Sarah Palin comes without any national experience.  

ROMNEY:  Well, John McCain, of course, is the person who is at the top of our ticket, compared with Barack Obama.  And I think it‘s interesting people are saying, “Well, how do you compare Barack Obama with Sarah Palin?”  Their experience is similar in some respect.  She has actually been an executive.  She‘s led a town.  She‘s led her state as a governor.  He hasn‘t had that experience - Barack hasn‘t. 

But neither one can compare with the experience of John McCain.  He‘s the one who‘s ready, who‘s experienced and able to become president at a very critical time.  I said that during the primary campaign. 

We disagreed on issues, of course, but I always said he was a man who could be president and has the capability and experience to do so.  And I think Barack Obama, for his wise speaking, just doesn‘t have the experience to know how to lead a country at the kind of critical time we‘re in. 

MITCHELL:  I was talking to a delegate, Republican delegate, in Massachusetts, a state that you governed, and asked how Sarah Palin was going to play in Massachusetts with her position on social issues.  And he said, “Are you kidding?”  What are you hearing from back home in Massachusetts, given her conservative position on all of those social issues?

ROMNEY:  Well, I wouldn‘t anticipate that the McCain campaign is going to target Massachusetts as a state to pick up.  But I think in a state like Michigan and in Ohio, people are going to say, “Look, John McCain has the foreign policy experience, the economic experience we need in a president. 

And Sarah Palin - she is a mom.  She has problems like families in America have.  She can connect with families in America.  She‘s a hunter in my original home state of Michigan.  There are a lot of hunters that care about hunting.  She had a moose.  That‘s pretty impressive for people in Massachusetts.  And so I think she‘s going to connect with voters that generally haven‘t voted Republican.  And they have taken a good look at John McCain, and I think she‘s going to pull people to our side of the ballot.

MITCHELL:  And finally, a lot of people wanted you to be the nominee and looked at your experience, your business experience and your track record.  Disappointment tonight?

ROMNEY:  Well, I wanted to be the presidential nominee.  I didn‘t want

to be John McCain to get it -

MITCHELL:  I mean vice presidential nominee -

ROMNEY:  No, I campaigned for the presidency.  That was the job I wanted and that was the one I hoped to get.  I got closer than a lot of people thought, but I didn‘t win the prize.  But I‘m happy to support a person John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, two people who I think ought to be the president and vice president. 

MITCHELL:  Thanks so much.  Mitt Romney - Gov. Romney, thanks.

ROMNEY:  Thanks, Andrea. 

MITCHELL:  OK, Keith, back to you.  

OLBERMANN:  Andrea Mitchell and Gov. Romney, thank you, both of you.  And now, back out to the floor.  Ann Curry with a report from near the podium.  Ann?

CURRY:  That‘s right, Keith.  I‘m standing not too far from the Florida delegation and if I could ask Craig to turn his camera, you can see a sea of women there.  They‘ve actually been filling these seats moving the men out and the women in getting ready for the speech by Gov. Palin. 

Also, I should note that we‘re also expecting any time now, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) move out of the way for just one second.  As you spin around you can see that this is the VIP box right here behind me.  It‘s starting to fill up.  We understand that we‘re going to see Cindy McCain.  The Palin family, as you can see, is just now arriving.  I believe that‘s Bristol holding the baby - yes, that‘s right.  And the family is just arriving. 

We understand not only the Palin family - considerable number of Palin family members is arriving, but also the family of John McCain.  The question is whether John McCain himself will appear.  So, I can see - if you can see, Bristol is there and also her boyfriend and other members of the Palin family. 

So, the excitement is building up and one of the most important speeches of this convention, certainly the most important speech, perhaps, for Gov. Palin and perhaps for John McCain‘s campaign is just about coming up.  Back to you, Keith.  

OLBERMANN:  Ann Curry on the floor as we await the arrival of perhaps Sen. McCain, which would mirror Sen. Obama‘s surprise appearance after Joe Biden‘s speech last week in Denver. 

Rudy Giuliani approaching the top of the hour and shortly thereafter the Sarah Palin introductory tape and then Sarah Palin herself.  That‘s why the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the house has begun Xcel Center.  Our coverage of the Republican National Convention continues from St. Paul and from New York after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Bristol Palin holding her brother Trig in the moments before their mother‘s speech to the Republican National Convention as the Palin family files in.  Obviously, Gov. Palin will be preceded by Mayor Giuliani.  And we‘ve already heard from Gov. Romney and from Gov. Huckabee in the anticipation of this exceptional moment in American political history.  The question now in that box to watch, will, at some point, Sen.  McCain appear? 

Out to Chris Matthews in St. Paul with the panel.  Chris?

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let‘s bring in the panel.  I want Norah, and it seems like they‘re really setting up the picture here.  They‘re going to have a large group of women delegates seated.  They have seated them right in front of the podium.  Clearly, they want this to be, to a large extent, a women‘s opportunity focus,  How will it play?

NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, I think it should not escape us that this is an historic night.  This is the first time a woman has been on the Republican presidential ticket.  It‘s the first time in 24 years that any woman has been on a ticket since Geraldine Ferraro in 1984. 

And so this is a test because her qualifications are being questioned.  That‘s why she‘s going to say that her candidacy is shattering the old boys‘ network.  She‘s going to talk about being an average hockey mom.  She wants to be Mrs. PTA. 

But her advisers are telling Kelly O‘Donnell, our colleague, that she‘s going to show her mettle; “flex her muscle” is the word they use, and I think really interestingly, to paint this image of the reformer and the maverick because that‘s what John McCain wants.  He wanted to recapture that label.  That‘s why he chose her. 

And so she is going to talk about how she beat a Republican, Gov.  Murkowski, took his plane and, quote, unquote, “fired his cronies.”  That‘s the message that they want.  That‘s the qualification.  That‘s the person they are trying to - as her cast biography. 

MATTHEWS:  Rachel -

O‘DONNELL:  Not only before this group of people.  They already liked her because they think she‘s a social conservative.  But they try and reach out to someone beyond Republican, but also independent and swing voters.  

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  There‘s something else going on other than politics.  And I think we got a hint of it from Mike Huckabee when he said, “thank you” to the evil media - whatever it was - for uniting the Republicans in the country in support of Sarah Palin. 

The expectations are very high here and the McCain campaign has been very overt about the idea that what Sarah Palin really brings to the ticket is charisma and likability.  And that‘s what the PTA mom stuff, a lot of that is about.  It‘s a lot of personality stuff.  And so they set the bar very high in terms of expectations of how much we will all emotionally like her when she‘s up there. 

And it important because Americans don‘t vote for or against vice president, they vote for president.  And so she‘s got to be likable enough to overshadow the worry that John McCain picked her only after meeting her once. 

MATTHEWS:  Pat, you like this setup in terms of the gladiatorial aspect to this - the new candidate, new to the national stage, taking on the establishment including the media?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, I think Sarah Palin - there‘s no doubt about it, she‘s coming off as a reformer.  She‘s young.  She‘s new.  She‘s fresh.  She‘s attractive.  She has - the media has been going after and she comes out there as something of a heroine. 

Here is her response to what‘s happened to her for the last four days.  And I think that‘s what makes all of us anticipate how she can with it, how she‘s going to handle it.  I think it‘s going to be tough.  I hope she hasn‘t been over-scripted by those speechwriters and those guys in the booth down there that work with her.  But I think it could be a great moment. 

I tell you what, I think Huckabee gave an outstanding speech, so did Romney.  I think they‘re really rallying the base tonight and they‘re hoping she will really finish the job for McCain tomorrow night.  

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  There is a kind of a contradiction, though, because on the one hand, playing against the media, that‘s working for the Republicans tonight.  And so they‘re going to do that.  Longer term, they‘re going to need the media to convey this image of Sarah Palin as a very sympathetic character as a mom, as just like you.  And so, you know, it‘s kind of a difficult dance that the party‘s going to have to do.  

BUCHANAN:  But I‘ve always believed they‘ve got to go over the media

or through them somehow, that the filter that they have from the media is

not the same filter the Democrats get.  From Nixon all the way on -

(CROSS TALK)

O‘DONNELL:  They‘re Palin‘s also, because the American people don‘t really know her yet, has to show that she is qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.  And so she‘s going to talk about her experience.  And I think as we‘ve seen in these remarks that they‘ve given us, she‘s going to go after Barack Obama.  And this is what‘s interesting. 

She‘s going to show her mettle, flex her muscles, as been told to us, saying, “I get that small-town mayor is sort of like community organizer except that you have actual responsibilities.” 

BUCHANAN:  That will bring there the other chair, so -

O‘DONNELL:  Again, returning to that theme about experience, because they want to push back hard on that.  However, it is interesting that all of McCain‘s advisers when they speak with us say - is she ready?  They‘ll say, “We‘ll she‘s not ready now, but she will be ready.”  

ROBINSON:  She will be.

MADDOW:  She‘ll be ready someday.

ROBINSON:  Is there still a filter that - you know, does the press still have a filter in this day and age?

MATTHEWS:  Well, I can think of a filter.  That‘s Matt Scully, one of the boys‘ club, has written this speech for her, attacking the boys‘ club.  I remember the Washington writers established - one of the speechwriters in the business of writing for people like McCain and President Bush, writing about the evils of the establishments and about boys‘ club and giving it to the governor of Alaska.  There is some back story here. 

Let‘s go back to David Gregory on that point.  

DAVID GREGORY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, I think, Chris, if you sift through all of this, what you discover is that there‘s a level of nervousness among Republicans and even a recognition within the McCain campaign that what they‘ve got with Sarah Palin is a risky proposition.  Tremendous upside but tremendous downside as well because she hasn‘t yet filled in the blanks. 

And before it‘s done, before she‘s able to do that with this speech tonight and down the line, during her performance as a candidate on the campaign trail, then in these debates, they want to try to fill in the gaps by taking questions about the vetting process, questions about her qualifications, questions that were raised and continue to be raised by Barack Obama, by the way.  They want to turn this into - make her an icon, in the same way that I think Ronald Reagan was turned into an icon maybe later on, but initially, when questions were raised about his qualifications and readiness for the office when he first ran. 

There‘s almost a - to quote the old Barbara Mandrell song from the old R & B song that she redid, because - Gene set me straight on this, “If loving you is wrong, I don‘t want to be right.”  I mean, that‘s the message they‘re sending to the base here which is everybody‘s telling you, “She‘s the wrong choice.  She‘s the risky choice.  Well, I don‘t want to be right, I want to go with her, because let‘s not listen to anybody.”  Keith?

OLBERMANN:  David Gregory, as we await Rudy Giuliani, and we‘re expecting perhaps no more than a minute hits, they have pulled decidedly out of schedule.  You saw as our conversations were going on, the arrival of Cindy McCain obviously in the green dress there. 

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC HOST:  And we‘re expecting perhaps no more than a minute, they have pulled decidedly out of schedule.  You saw, as our conversations were going on, the arrival of Cindy McCain in the green dress there.  

Just as 10:00 hit in the east and 9:00 in the central, this is MSNBC‘s coverage of the 2008 Republican national convention.  I‘m Keith Olbermann at MSNBC headquarters in New York.  Chris Matthews and our panel and David Gregory and Tom Brokaw and Chuck Todd and all the rest are at the Xcel Center in St. Paul. 

To preview the hour for you, Rudy Giuliani is expected to finish the troika of speeches by those who challenged Senator McCain in the primaries and were defeated by him eventually.  Then there will be, after Mr.  Giuliani‘s remarks, perhaps as much as 15 minutes or so, a video, a pre-produced video that will essentially tell the life story of the governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.  The governor is expected to enter the stage area at the Xcel Center at about 10:20 or so and begin her remarks. 

Now here‘s the former mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, who will begin this sequence of speeches and videotape that, for those of you who think we talk too much, will probably be relieved to hear we‘re probably won‘t get to talk for quite a while. 

Here‘s former Mayor Giuliani. 

RUDY GIULINAI, ®, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK:  Thank you, thank you.  Thank you very much.  Thank you very, very much.  Thank you.  Thank you very much and good evening.  Thank you.  Almost exactly one year ago today, during a presidential debate in Durham, New Hampshire, I said that if I weren‘t running for president, I‘d be supporting John McCain.  Well, I‘m not running for president and I do support John McCain. 

Every four years, we‘re told, that this presidential election is the most important in our lifetime.  This year with what‘s at stake, 2008 is the most important election in our lifetime.  And we better get it right.  This already has been the longest presidential campaign in history, and sometimes to me it felt even longer.  The American people realize this election represents a turning point.  It‘s the decision to follow one path or the other.  We the people, the citizens of the United States, get to decide our next president.  Not the left wing media, not Hollywood celebrities, not anyone else but the people of America.  That‘s right, USA. 

(CHANTING)

GIULIANI:  Thank you.  Thank you. 

To those Americans who still feel torn in this election, I‘d like to suggest one way to think about this, to help make a choice in 2008.  Think about it this way—you‘re hiring someone to do a job, an important job, a job that relates to the safety of yourself and your family.  Imagine that you have two job applications in your hand with the name and the party affiliations boxed out.  They‘re both good and patriotic men with very different life experiences that have led them to this moment of shared history.  You‘ve got to make this decision, and you‘ve got to make it right.  And you have to decide who am I going to hire? 

On the one hand, you have a man who‘s dedicated his life to the service of the United States.  He‘s been tested time and again by crisis.  He has passed every test.  Even his adversaries acknowledge, Democrats, Republicans, everyone acknowledges that John McCain is a true American hero.  He loves America as we all do, but he has sacrificed for it as few do. 

As a young man he joined the military, and being a top-gun kind of guy, he became a fighter pilot.  He was on a mission over Hanoi when his plane was shot down.  He was tortured in a POW camp, but he refused his captors‘ offer of early release because this is a man who believed in serving a cause greater than self-interest, and that cause is the United States of America.  America comes first. 

He has proved his commitment with his blood.  He came home a national hero.  He had earned a life of peace and quiet.  But he was called to public service again, running for Congress and then the United States senate as a proud foot soldier in the Reagan revolution.  His principle independence never wavered.  He stood up to special interests.  He fought for fiscal discipline and ethics reform and a strong national defense.  That‘s the one choice, that‘s the one man. 

On the other hand, you have a resume from a gifted man with an Ivy League education.  He worked as a community organizer.  What?  He worked—

I said I said—OK, OK. 

(CHANTING)

GIULIANI:  Maybe this is the first problem on the resume.  He worked as a community organizer.  He immersed himself in Chicago machine politics.  Then he ran for the state legislature and he got elected.  And nearly 130 times he couldn‘t make a decision.  He couldn‘t figure out whether to vote yes or no.  It was too tough.  He voted—he voted “present.”  I didn‘t know about this vote “present” when I was mayor of New York City.  Sarah Palin didn‘t have this vote “present” when she was mayor or governor.  You don‘t get “present,” it doesn‘t work in an executive job.  For president of the United States, it‘s not good enough to be present.  You have to make a decision. 

A few years later he ran for the U.S. Senate.  He spent most of his time as a celebrity Senator—no leadership, no legislation to really speak of.  His rise is remarkable in its own right.  It‘s the kind of thing that can happen only in America.  But he‘s never run a city.  He‘s never run a state.  He‘s never run a business.  He‘s never run a military unit.  He‘s never had to lead people in crisis.  This—this...

(CHANTING)

He is the least experienced candidate for president of the United States in at least the last 100 years.  Not a personal attack, a statement of fact.  Barack Obama has never led anything, nothing, nada, nada.  Nothing.  Well, the choice in this election comes down to substance over style.  John McCain has been tested, Barack Obama has not.  Tough times require strong leadership, and this is no time for on-the-job training. 

We agree—we agree with Joe Biden.  One time—one time when he said that, until he flip-flopped and changed his position.  And yes, being president means being able to answer that call at 3:00 in the morning.  And that‘s the one time we agree with Hillary.  But I bet you never thought Hillary would get an applause at this convention.  She can be right.  Well, no one can look at John McCain and say that he‘s not ready to be commander in chief.  He is, he‘s ready, and we can trust him to deal with anything, anything that nature throws our way, anything that terrorists do to us.  This man has been tested over and over again.  And we will be safe in his hands.  And our children will be safe in his hands.  And our country will be safe in the hands of John McCain, no doubt. 

I learned from a trial lawyer a long time ago, if you don‘t have the facts, you got to change them.  So our opponents want to reframe the debate.  They would have you believe that this election is about change versus more of the same.  But that‘s really a false choice because there‘s good change and bad change.  Because change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.  John McCain will bring about the change that will create jobs and prosperity. 

Let‘s talk briefly about specifics.  John McCain will lower taxes so our economy can grow.  He‘ll reduce government to strengthen our dollar.  He‘ll expand free trade so we can be more competitive.  And he will lead us to energy independence so we can be free of foreign oil.  And he‘ll do it with an all-of-the-above approach including nuclear power and, yes, offshore oil drilling. 

(CHANTING)

GIULIANI:  Drill, baby, drill?  Drill, baby, drill.  This is the kind of change—you guys were ready to break out.

(CHANTING)

GIULIANI:  This and a lot more is the kind of change that will create growth, jobs and prosperity.  Not what they want to do—tax us more, increase the size of government, increase tariffs, hurt jobs, send jobs elsewhere.  We need John McCain to save our economy and make sure it grows.  But we need him for a more important purpose.  There‘s one purpose that John McCain understands, Republicans understand, that overrides everything else.  John McCain will keep us on offense against terrorism at home and abroad. 

For four days in Denver, the Democrats were afraid to use the words “Islamic terrorism.”  I imagine they believe it is politically incorrect to say it.  I think they believe it will insult someone.  Please tell me who are they insulting if they say “Islamic terrorism”?  They are insulting terrorists.  Of great concern to me during those same four days in Denver they rarely mentioned the attacks of September 11, 2001.  They are in a state of denial about the biggest threat that faces this country.  And if you deny it and you don‘t deal with it, you can‘t face it.  John McCain can face the enemy, he can win and he can bring victory for this country. 

Let‘s look at just one example in a lifetime of principle stand that John McCain brought about, his support for the troop surge in Iraq.  The Democratic Party had given up on Iraq.  And I believe, ladies and gentlemen, when they gave up on Iraq, they had given up on America.  The Democratic leader of the Senate said, and I quote, “This war is lost.”  Well, if America lost, who won?  Al Qaeda, bin Laden?  In the single biggest policy decision of this election, John McCain got it right and Barack Obama got it wrong. 

Senator McCain—Senator McCain was a candidate most associated with the surge, and it was unpopular.  What do you think most other politicians would have done in a situation like this?  They would have acted in their self-interests and they would have changed their position in order to win an election.  How many times have we seen Barack Obama do this?  Obama—

Obama promised to take public financing for his campaign until he broke his promise.  Obama—Obama was against wiretapping before he voted for it.  When speaking to a pro-Israeli group, Obama favored an undivided Jerusalem, like I favor, and like John McCain favored.  Well, he favored an undivided Jerusalem—don‘t get too excited—for one day until he changed his mind. 

Well, I‘ll tell you, if I were Joe Biden, I‘d want to get that V.P.  thing in writing.

Our hero, our candidate John McCain said, I‘d rather lose an election than a war.  Why?  Because that‘s John McCain.  When Russia rolled over Georgia, John McCain immediately established a very strong, informed position that let the world know how he‘ll respond as president at exactly the right time.  Remember his words?  Remember what John McCain said?  We are all Georgians. 

Obama‘s—talk about judgment.  Let‘s look at what Obama did.  His first instinct was to create a moral equivalency, suggesting that both sides were equally responsible.  The same moral equivalency that he‘s displayed in discussing the Palestinian Authority and the state of Israel.  Later—later, after discussing this with his 300 foreign policy advisers, he changed his position and he suggested the United Nations Security Council could find a solution. 

OLBERMANN:  From MSNBC headquarters in New York, I‘m Keith Olbermann, with an update on the Republican National Convention and tonight, the...

GIULIANI:  Foreign policy security advisers told him that Russia has a veto power in the United Nations Security Council.  By the way, this was about three days later.  So—so he changed his position again and he put out a statement exactly like the statement of John McCain‘s three days earlier.  I have some advice for Senator Obama.  Next time, call John McCain.  He knows something about foreign—he knows something about foreign policy. 

Like Ronald Reagan, John McCain will enlarge our party; open it up to lots of new people.  In choosing Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has chosen for the future.  The other guy looked back.  John looked forward.  Governor Palin represents a new generation.  She‘s already one of the most successful governors in America and the most popular.  And she‘s already had more executive experience than the entire Democratic ticket combined.  She‘s been a mayor.  I love that.  I‘m sorry.  I‘m sorry that Barack Obama feels that her home town isn‘t cosmopolitan enough.  I‘m sorry, Barack.  That it‘s not flashy enough.  Maybe they cling to religion there. 

Well, as far as I‘m concerned, the first day she was mayor, she had more experience as an executive than Obama and Biden combined.  Then she became governor.  She‘s reduced taxes.  She‘s reduced government spending.  She‘s encouraged more energy exploration.  She‘s been one of the most active governors—she‘s been one of the most active governors in the country and Alaska can be proud of having one of the best governors in the country.  She‘s got an 80 percent approval rating.  You never get that in New York City.  Wow. 

As U.S. Attorney—a former U.S. Attorney, I‘m very impressed the way she took on corruption in Alaska, including corruption in the Republican Party.  This is a woman who has no fear.  This is a woman who stands up for what‘s right.  She is shaking up Alaska in a way that hasn‘t happened in maybe, ever.  And with John McCain, with his independent spirit, with his being a maverick, with him and Sarah Palin, can you imagine how they‘re going to shake up Washington?  Look out.  Look out. 

One final point.  Now, how dare they question whether Sarah Palin has enough time to spend with her children and be vice president?  How dare they do that?  When did they ever ask a man that question?  When? 

Well, we‘re at our best when we‘re expanding freedom.  We‘re the party that has expanded freedom from the very beginning, from ending slavery to making certain that people have freedom here and abroad.  We‘re the party that believes in giving workers the right to work.  We‘re the party that believes that parents—parents should choose where their children go to school.  And we‘re the party—and we‘re the party that unapologetically believes in America‘s success, a shining city on a hill, a beacon of freedom that inspires the world.  That‘s what our party is dedicated to. 

So my fellow Americans, we get a chance to elect one of our great heroes and a great American.  He will be an exceptional president.  He‘ll have with him an exceptional woman who has already proven that she can reform and that she can govern.  And now the job is up to us.  Let‘s get John McCain and Sarah Palin elected and let‘s shake up Washington and move this country forward.  God bless America.  Thank you. 

OLBERMANN:  The duration of Mayor Giuliani‘s speech sufficient to cause a postponement or cancellation of the videotape that was to introduce Governor Palin and tell her story and highlight the events of her life and her career. 

Let‘s wait for the announcer. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The governor of Alaska and the next vice president of the United States, Sarah Palin. 

SARAH PALIN, ®, VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you.  Thank you. 

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Thank you so much. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Thank you so much. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens, I will be honored to accept your nomination for vice president of the United States. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  I accept the call to help our nominee for president to serve and defend America, and I accept the challenge of a tough fight in this election against confident opponents at a crucial hour for our country.  And I accept the privilege of serving with a man who has come through much harder missions and met far graver challenges, and knows how tough fights are won, the next president of the United States, John S. McCain. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  It was just a year ago when all the experts in Washington counted out our nominee because he refused to hedge his commitment to the security of the country he loves.  With their usual certitude, they told us that all was lost, there was no hope for this candidate, who said that he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war.  But the pollsters.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  The pollsters and the pundits, they overlooked just one thing when they wrote him off.  They overlooked the caliber of the man himself, the determination and resolve and the sheer guts of Senator John McCain. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  The voters knew better.  And maybe that‘s because they realized there‘s a time for politics and a time for leadership, a time to campaign and a time to put our country first. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Our nominee for president is a true profile in courage, and people like that are hard to come by.  He‘s a man who wore the uniform of his country for 22 years and refused to break faith with those troops in Iraq who now have brought victory within sight. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  And as a mother of one of those troops, that is exactly the kind of man I want as commander-in-chief. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  I‘m just one of many moms who will say an extra prayer each night for our sons and daughters going into harm‘s way.  Our son Track is 19, and one week from tomorrow, September 11th, he‘ll deploy to Iraq with the Army infantry in the service of his country. 

My nephew Casey (ph) also enlisted and serves on a carrier in the Persian Gulf.  And my family is so proud of both of them and of all the fine men and women serving the country in uniform. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  So Track is the eldest of our five children, and our family, it‘s two boys and three girls in between.  My strong and kind-hearted daughters, Bristol and Willow and Piper. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  And we were so blessed in April, Todd and I welcomed our littlest one into the world, a perfectly beautiful little baby boy named Trig. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  You know, from the inside, no family ever seems typical.  And that‘s how it is with us.  Our family has the same ups and downs as any other, the same challenges and the same joys, sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge.  And children with special needs inspire a very, very special love. 

To the families of special needs.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)        

PALIN:  To the families of special needs children all across this country, I have a message for you.  For years you‘ve sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters, and I pledge to you that if we‘re elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  And Todd is a story all by himself.  He‘s a lifelong commercial fisherman and a production operator from the oil fields of Alaska‘s North Slope, and a proud member of the United Steelworkers Union.  And.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Todd is a world champion snow machine racer. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Throw in his Yupik Eskimo ancestry, and it all makes for quite a package.  And we met in high school, and two decades and five children later, he‘s still my guy. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  My mom and dad both worked at the elementary school in our small town, and among the many things I owe them is a simple lesson that I‘ve learned that this is America and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity.  And my parents are here tonight. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  I am so proud to be the daughter of Chuck and Sally Heath. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Long ago, a young farmer and a haberdasher from Missouri, he followed an unlikely path, he followed an unlikely path to the vice presidency.  And a writer observed: “We grow good people in our small towns,” with honesty and sincerity and dignity.  And I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind when he praised Harry Truman. 

I grew up with those people.  They‘re the ones who do some of the hardest work in America.  Who grow our food and run our factories and fight our wars.  They love their country in good times and bad, and they‘re always proud of America. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. 

I was just your average hockey mom and signed up for the PTA. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  I love those hockey moms.  You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?  Lipstick. 

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  So I signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids‘ public education even better.  And when I ran for city council, I didn‘t need focus groups and voter profiles because I knew those voters and I knew their families, too. 

Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my home town.  And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  I guess a small town mayor is sort of like a community organizer except that you have actual responsibilities. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  I might add—I might add that in small towns we don‘t quite know what the make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they‘re listening and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren‘t listening. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Now, we tend to prefer candidates who don‘t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  As for my running mate, you can be certain that wherever he goes and whoever is listening, John McCain is the same man. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Well, I‘m not a member of the permanent political establishment. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  And I‘ve learned quickly these last few days that if you‘re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.  But.

(BOOING)

PALIN:  But.

(BOOING)

PALIN:  No.  Here‘s a little news flash. 

Here‘s a little news flash for those reporters and commentators, I‘m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion.  I‘m going to Washington to serve the people of this great country. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons and not just to mingle with the right people.  Politics isn‘t just a game of clashing parties and competing interests.  The right reason is to challenge the status quo, to serve the common good, and to leave this nation better than we found it. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  No one expects us all to agree on everything, but we are expected to govern with integrity and goodwill and clear convictions and a servant‘s heart.  And I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  This was the spirit that brought me to the governor‘s office when I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau, when I stood up to the special interests and the lobbyists and the big oil companies and the good old boys. 

Suddenly, I realized that sudden and relentless reform never sits well with entrenched interests and power brokers.  That‘s why true reform is so hard to achieve.  But with the support of the citizens of Alaska, we shook things up and in short order we put the government of our state back on the side of the people. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  I came to office promising major ethics reform to end the culture of self-dealing.  And today that ethics reform is the law.  While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor‘s office that I didn‘t believe our citizens should have to pay for. 

That luxury jet was over the top. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  I put it on eBay. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  I love to drive myself to work, and I thought we could muddle through without the governor‘s personal chef, although I‘ve got to admit that sometimes my kids sure miss her. 

(LAUGHTER)

PALIN:  I came to office promising to control spending, by request if possible, but by veto if necessary.  Senator McCain also, he promises to use the power of veto in defense of the public interest.  And as a chief executive, I can assure you, it works. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Our state budget is under control.  We have a surplus.  And I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending, nearly $500 million in vetoes. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  We suspended the state fuel tax and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress.  I told the Congress, thanks, but no thanks, on that “bridge to nowhere.” 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  If our state wanted to build a bridge, we were going to build it ourselves. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  When oil and gas prices went up dramatically and filled up the state treasury, I sent a large share of that revenue back where it belonged, directly to the people of Alaska. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  And despite fierce opposition from oil company lobbyists who kind of like things the way that they were, we broke their monopoly on power and resources.  As governor, I insisted on competition and basic fairness to end their control of our state and return it to the people. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  I fought to bring about the largest private sector infrastructure project in North American history, and when that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are open, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart.  The stakes for our nation could not be higher. 

When a hurricane strikes in Gulf of Mexico, this country should not be so dependent on imported oil that we‘re forced to draw from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  And families cannot throw more and more of their paychecks on gas and heating oil. 

With Russia wanting to control a vital pipeline in the Caucuses, and to divide and intimidate our European allies by using energy as a weapon, we cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off a fifth of the world‘s energy supplies, or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia, or that Venezuela might shut off its oil discoveries and its deliveries of that source, Americans, we need to produce more of our own oil and gas.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  And take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska, we‘ve got lots of both. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Our opponents say again and again that drilling will not solve all of America‘s energy problems, as if we didn‘t know that already.  But the fact that drilling, though, won‘t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Starting in January in a McCain-Palin administration, we‘re going to lay more pipelines and build more nuclear plants and create jobs with clean coal and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources.  We need.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  We need American sources of resources.  We need American energy brought to you by American ingenuity and produced by American workers. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  And now I‘ve noticed a pattern with our opponent, and maybe you have, too.  We‘ve all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers, and there is much to like and admire about our opponent. 

But listening to him speak, it‘s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs, but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the state senate. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word “victory” except when he‘s talking about his own campaign. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, when the stadium lights go out and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  When that happens, what exactly is our opponent‘s plan?  What does he actually seek to accomplish after he‘s done turning back the waters and healing the planet?  The answer.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  The answer is to make government bigger and take more of your money and give you more orders from Washington and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. 

(BOOING)

PALIN:  America needs more energy.  Our opponent is against producing it.  Victory in Iraq is finally in sight, and he wants to forfeit. 

Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay.  He wants to meet them without preconditions. 

(BOOING)

PALIN:  Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America.  And he‘s worried that someone won‘t read them their rights. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Government is too big.  He wants to grow it.  Congress spends too much money.  He promises more.  Taxes are too high.  And he wants to raise them.  His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan. 

And let me be specific.  The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes and raise payroll taxes and raise investment income taxes and raise the death tax and raise business taxes and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars. 

(BOOING)

PALIN:  My sister Heather and her husband, they just built a service station that‘s now open for business, like millions of others who run small businesses.  How are they.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  How are they going to be better off if taxes go up?  Or maybe you are trying to keep your job at a plant in Michigan or in Ohio, or you‘re trying to create jobs from clean coal from Pennsylvania or West Virginia, or you‘re trying to keep a small farm in the family right here in Minnesota, how are you going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy? 

Here‘s how I look at the choice Americans face in this election.  In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those like John McCain who use their careers to promote change. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  They are the ones whose names appear on laws and landmark reforms, not just on buttons and banners or on self-designed presidential seals. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Among politicians, there is the idealism of high-flown speech- making, in which crowds are stirringly summoned to support great things, and then there is the idealism of those leaders, like John McCain, who actually do great things. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  They‘re the ones who are good for more than talk, the ones that we‘ve always been able to count on to serve and to defend America. 

Senator McCain‘s record of actual achievements and reform helps explain why so many special interests, and lobbyists, and comfortable committee chairmen in Congress have fought the prospect of a McCain presidency from the primary election of 2000 to this very day. 

Our nominee doesn‘t run with the Washington herd.  He‘s a man who‘s there to serve his country and not just his party, a leader who‘s not looking for a fight, but sure isn‘t afraid of one, either. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Harry Reid, the majority of the current do-nothing Senate...

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

PALIN:  ... he not long ago summed up his feelings about our nominee. 

He said, quote, “I can‘t stand John McCain.” 

Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps no accolade we hear this week is better proof that we‘ve chosen the right man. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Clearly, what the majority leader was driving at is that he can‘t stand up to John McCain and that is only...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  ... that‘s only one more reason to take the maverick out of the Senate, put him in the White House. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery. 

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  This world of threats and dangers, it‘s not just a community and it doesn‘t just need an organizer.  And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they‘re always, quote, “fighting for you,” let us face the matter squarely:  There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you in places where winning means survival and defeat means death.  And that man is John McCain. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  You know, in our day, politicians have readily shared much lesser tales of adversity than the nightmare world, the nightmare world in which this man and others equally brave served and suffered for their country. 

And it‘s a long way from the fear, and pain, and squalor of a six-by-four cell in Hanoi to the Oval Office. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  But if Senator McCain is elected president, that is the journey he will have made.  It‘s the journey of an upright and honorable man, the kind of fellow whose name you will find on war memorials in small towns across this great country, only he was among those who came home. 

To the most powerful office on Earth, he would bring the compassion that comes from having once been powerless, the wisdom that comes even to the captives by the grace of God, the special confidence of those who have seen evil and have seen how evil is overcome.  A fellow...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  A fellow prisoner of war, a man named Tom Moe of Lancaster, Ohio...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  ... Tom Moe recalls looking through a pinhole in his cell door as Lieutenant Commander John McCain was led down the hallway by the guards, day after day. 

And the story is told, when McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn towards Moe‘s door, and he‘d flash a grin and a thumbs up, as if to say, “We‘re going to pull through this.” 

My fellow Americans, that is the kind of man America needs to see us through the next four years. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words. 

But for a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  If character is the measure in this election, and hope the theme, and change the goal we share, then I ask you to join our cause.  Join our cause and help America elect a great man as the next president of the United States. 

Thank you, and God bless America.  Thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MCCAIN:  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MCCAIN:  Don‘t you think we made the right choice for the next vice president of the United States? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MCCAIN:  And what a beautiful family. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(MUSIC)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  They are the ones whose names appear on laws and landmark reforms, not just on buttons and banners or on self-designed presidential seals. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Among politicians, there is the idealism of high-flown speech- making, in which crowds are stirringly summoned to support great things, and then there is the idealism of those leaders, like John McCain, who actually do great things. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  They‘re the ones who are good for more than talk, the ones that we‘ve always been able to count on to serve and to defend America. 

Senator McCain‘s record of actual achievements and reform helps explain why so many special interests, and lobbyists, and comfortable committee chairmen in Congress have fought the prospect of a McCain presidency from the primary election of 2000 to this very day. 

Our nominee doesn‘t run with the Washington herd.  He‘s a man who‘s there to serve his country and not just his party, a leader who‘s not looking for a fight, but sure isn‘t afraid of one, either. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Harry Reid, the majority of the current do-nothing Senate...

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

PALIN:  ... he not long ago summed up his feelings about our nominee. 

He said, quote, “I can‘t stand John McCain.” 

Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps no accolade we hear this week is better proof that we‘ve chosen the right man. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  Clearly, what the majority leader was driving at is that he can‘t stand up to John McCain and that is only...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  ... that‘s only one more reason to take the maverick out of the Senate, put him in the White House. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery. 

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  This world of threats and dangers, it‘s not just a community and it doesn‘t just need an organizer.  And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they‘re always, quote, “fighting for you,” let us face the matter squarely:  There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you in places where winning means survival and defeat means death.  And that man is John McCain. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  You know, in our day, politicians have readily shared much lesser tales of adversity than the nightmare world, the nightmare world in which this man and others equally brave served and suffered for their country. 

And it‘s a long way from the fear, and pain, and squalor of a six-by-four cell in Hanoi to the Oval Office. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  But if Senator McCain is elected president, that is the journey he will have made.  It‘s the journey of an upright and honorable man, the kind of fellow whose name you will find on war memorials in small towns across this great country, only he was among those who came home. 

To the most powerful office on Earth, he would bring the compassion that comes from having once been powerless, the wisdom that comes even to the captives by the grace of God, the special confidence of those who have seen evil and have seen how evil is overcome.  A fellow...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  A fellow prisoner of war, a man named Tom Moe of Lancaster, Ohio...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  ... Tom Moe recalls looking through a pinhole in his cell door as Lieutenant Commander John McCain was led down the hallway by the guards, day after day. 

And the story is told, when McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn towards Moe‘s door, and he‘d flash a grin and a thumbs up, as if to say, “We‘re going to pull through this.” 

My fellow Americans, that is the kind of man America needs to see us through the next four years. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words. 

But for a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN:  If character is the measure in this election, and hope the theme, and change the goal we share, then I ask you to join our cause.  Join our cause and help America elect a great man as the next president of the United States. 

Thank you, and God bless America.  Thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MCCAIN:  Thank you. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MCCAIN:  Don‘t you think we made the right choice for the next vice president of the United States? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

MCCAIN:  And what a beautiful family. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(MUSIC)

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  That appears to be the end of it. 

She clearly gives a great speech.  As to the content, quoting Lincoln has been the rage this evening and throughout this convention.  Give me a shot at it here.  People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like—Chris Matthews.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Well, I have to say that I was completely surprised by what I saw. 

I thought that, in selecting the governor of Alaska, they were offering up to the working women of the country who liked Hillary Clinton an alternative to Hillary Clinton. 

At no time during her entire presentation did I think of Hillary Clinton.  They have nothing in common. 

What she did was offer a rejoinder to Barack Obama personally in his comments about bitterness and small town America, about religion especially.  She offered a rejoinder to Michelle Obama in her pride, her relentless pride in America. 

She is a torpedo aimed directly at the ship of Barack and Michelle Obama.  That‘s what she is.  She‘s an alternative to them.  This is not an alternative to Hillary.  This is a cultural alternative to Obama and his proposed first lady.  This is a very direct cultural shot. 

We will see how it works out.  It has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton. 

OLBERMANN:  Agreed, and a great point.  There‘s a—there‘s a series of strongly worded phrases in there, some might call them insults.  There was a lot of sarcasm.  And there even, if not—it wasn‘t bitterness—that‘s not the term I‘m looking for—any condescension in there towards Obama is—and the Democrats and Joe Biden and the rest of them, is that—is that the right tone?  Is that a -a tool to be used outside of that convention hall, Chris? 

MATTHEWS:  Well, she posed it as a response to an attack, as if she were playing defense, very much in the way that Barack Obama did in his presentation last week.  It was in response to an attack. 

She was defending small-town America, in a way that—that it was very—very affecting, I think.  I think it was a very appealing presentation.  I think people will like her. 

I have been speaking for weeks now about a Norma Rae America, these small-town working people, working women, who have to stand up against factory owners and bosses and maybe sometimes husbands.  I think she had a certain way about her that made that a—very appealing, that she was standing up for—for her, for herself and her family. 

I—I found it very appealing.  But, again, it has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton.  It had to do with a cultural challenge to Barack Obama, very strong...

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  Well...

MATTHEWS:  ... very strong, about bitterness in small-town America and about pride in America from the time of birth, very strong. 

OLBERMANN:  Perhaps Norma Rae by the way of Tracy Flick, Reese Witherspoon‘s character from—from “Election.”

Let‘s bring in David Gregory, who is with us from inside the Xcel Center.

It obviously went over like gangbusters.

(CROSSTALK)

DAVID GREGORY, HOST, “RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE”:  Well, I think that‘s right.  I think that‘s right, Keith. 

I think this was a very strong presentation.  I think it was well-received.  I think what Sarah Palin achieved tonight, what Governor Palin achieved, is something that a lot of Republicans who are here and who are watching didn‘t think was necessarily possible.

And that is that there could be a very energized and enthusiastic base of the Republican Party.  And, if this was a first test for Sarah Palin on the national stage, where she introduces herself, she, just like Joe Biden, will serve as someone who goes on the attack against Obama, just as Biden will go on the attack against McCain, and as somebody who has a way to connect with voters and help John McCain redefine the Republican Party, then she‘s gone a long way toward being very successful. 

And, again, you talk to Republicans, who never have really loved John McCain, who now talk about the potential upside of a Governor Palin on his ticket.  And it is the irony that the guy who was in such fierce combat with George W. Bush is now getting the endorsement of George W. Bush, and who may win the respect and love of the Republican Party if he can deliver the future leader of the party in some way. 

All of that is way down the line, if it even happens, but I think a lot of Republicans will feel that it began tonight.  It gave them a strong step forward. 

She‘s got a story to tell.  I think there‘s a lot of confidence that she can connect with people, in the same way that Obama and Biden hope to connect with people, the working-class voters that have eluded Barack Obama in the primaries.  She definitely has that kind of appeal.  A lot of independent voters may have an opportunity to vote for history with McCain/Palin, without voting for Barack Obama. 

All of that right now is in the strategic thinking of the McCain campaign.  And I think they‘re going to feel very good tonight about her opening performance, because, remember—and this is one of her downsides, as well—this was a real introduction for millions of Americans who have never seen her before, let alone heard very much about her.  They got to have a direct pitch from her to them tonight—Keith.

OLBERMANN:  David, one other question about that, though.  Because of the nature and the tone and the strength presentation there, did the—did the expected dynamics of that vice presidential debate just change, that there was some sense that Joe Biden, who, as anybody who knows anything about American politics knows, can be shoot-from-the-hip, real energized, to the point of anger, that there was some sense that he was really going to have to restrain himself—was that curb sort of taken away—the necessity of that curb taken away from Joe Biden just by the—the tone that Sarah Palin just set for herself, that she‘s going to be...

GREGORY:  Well...

OLBERMANN:  ... that she‘s going to be throwing punches as well? 

GREGORY:  Look, I think both sides have something to worry about. 

I think Sarah Palin evidently can throw a pretty good punch with a smile.  I think Joe Biden can do the same thing.  She has got some things to worry about, too, which is, she gives a great speech and a fine presentation.  She‘s got to demonstrate some chops on foreign policy.  That will be a test for her. 

Joe Biden has to be able to manage himself in a debate as well.  So, I think there‘s lots of factors there and there‘s concerns on both sides. 

But I don‘t think that anybody is going to come away from this thinking that she can‘t stand up to a fight, as she‘s got to be able to.  She‘s demonstrated that she can do it tonight.  And, as I said, I think there‘s—there‘s scaffolding here.  And this is one level of a test.  And I think Republicans will come away thinking that she‘s made a very strong start here.

OLBERMANN:  All right, David, we are going to go down to the floor, Ann Curry, for some of the reaction, as we‘re in the aftermath of the Palin speech. 

ANN CURRY, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  I‘m in the Florida area. 

OLBERMANN:  All right, Ann.

CURRY:  That‘s right.  Thanks a lot, Keith. 

I‘m actually in the Florida delegation.  A lot of the women from the Florida delegation all sat together.  The men were moved out.  The women came in.  They were very, very vocal during Governor Palin‘s speech. 

This is Kitty (ph).  She‘s in Florida. 

Kitty, I notice that you‘re very emotional.  You have some tears in your eyes.  How did you react to the speech? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I loved Sarah‘s speech.  She just had everything that it takes to be vice president of the United States. 

CURRY:  What specifically moved you? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  What specifically moved me is her family and that she is ready.  It just shows, if you have got good character, you can be ready for a job like this, with the positions she has already been elected to in the past. 

CURRY:  All right. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And hearing “The Star-Spangled Banner” just now, it makes me realize that, McCain and Palin, they will keep America safe.  That‘s number one. 

CURRY:  More than any other issue in your mind? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Absolutely.  Keeping America safe?  Yes, at home and all around the world. 

CURRY:  All right, Kitty, thank you for speaking to us. 

Hi.  Are you with the Florida delegation? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, I am. 

CURRY:  Hello.  What is your name, dear? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Debbie (ph) (INAUDIBLE)

CURRY:  Well, how did—what was the most important message, you think, that Governor Palin gave today? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That she‘s an American woman, and that she‘s here for all of America. 

CURRY:  When you say American woman, you mean with all the things that she talked about, the issues in her family, raising children with special needs?  What are you specifically talking about when she‘s an American woman? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She‘s just—she‘s done it all.  And she represents all of America. 

(CROSSTALK)

CURRY:  So, when you—do you say you identify with her? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Correct.  Correct.  I think she‘s had all the experiences that we have had.  And she knows what it‘s like to live in America.  She‘s lived the dream in every aspect. 

CURRY:  All right.  Thank you so much for speaking to us. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you. 

CURRY:  So, I think, Keith, what you may find is that a lot of the women here, at least here—and perhaps elsewhere in America—reacted in a kind of a visceral way to Sarah Palin, that she spoke real talk.

We know that John McCain, Senator McCain, talks about straight talk.  Well, I think women could say she talked real talk to a lot of people who understand what it is like to be not at the top—the top echelon of our society—now back to you.. 

OLBERMANN:  All right, Ann.

And let‘s see where it—where it went inside the Alaska delegation, her home delegation.

Kelly O‘Donnell has been covering the McCain campaign for us, NBC and MSNBC, in that Alaska delegation right now—Kelly.

KELLY O‘DONNELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  It‘s one of the crowded places, most tight places in this hall, because everyone has wanted to see how the Alaska delegation has reacted. 

I‘m joined here by Mead Treadwell, who is one of the delegates. 

How would you describe the person you want—you saw on stage and the woman you know as governor of Alaska? 

MEAD TREADWELL, ALASKA DELEGATE:  She was back at you.  She was—the best speech I have seen her give, and I have known her for over a dozen years. 

She said one thing that‘s very important.  People are saying she‘s not qualified.  She‘s saying Americans know what‘s going on, and energy is the issue in this election.  But we‘re on top.  She hit it out of the park.  It was just tremendous. 

K. O‘DONNELL:  What is the sense for Alaskans about what her candidacy brings to your state?  I get a real sense of the history that you‘re all talking about here. 

TREADWELL:  You know, we‘re a state that inspires people.  We help defend the nation.  We help feed the nation.  We help power the nation. 

And you know what?  You can see that this woman is very, very qualified to be vice president of the United States.

K. O‘DONNELL:  Appreciate your thoughts.

TREADWELL:  We‘re very, very proud of her. 

K. O‘DONNELL:  Thank you so much.

TREADWELL:  Thank you. 

K. O‘DONNELL:  Back to you guys. 

OLBERMANN:  All right, Kelly.

Let‘s go back out to Chris Matthews and the panel for their thoughts and reactions—Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Keith. 

Let‘s go to the panel right now. 

My sense is, it will sell in Scranton. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Gene.

EUGENE ROBINSON, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: 

Well, she said Scranton, not San Francisco. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

ROBINSON:  My sense is that was in two speeches.  The parts that were about her, about her personal life...

MATTHEWS:  Right.  

ROBINSON:  ... where she shone—shone through, like when she said the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull, lipstick, you know, I thought that was an incredible line, an incredible moment in the speech. 

The other part of the speech, frankly, was canned.  It was written by McCain‘s speechwriters.  It didn‘t sound like her, or like I think her to be.  So, I think it was—it was an oddly bifurcated for me. 

MATTHEWS:  Norah.

NORAH O‘DONNELL, NBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  There‘s no doubt this woman is tough.  She nailed this speech.  But, at times, it was sarcastic. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

N. O‘DONNELL:  And she spent a lot of time drawing contrasts with Barack Obama, almost more than on her own biography. 

MATTHEWS:  Norah, we have to go back to Keith right now.

Keith, take it away.

N. O‘DONNELL:  Right we do, because Andrea Mitchell is on the floor with Rudy Giuliani, who spoke earlier—Andrea.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT:  Thanks so much, Judith and Rudy Giuliani. 

Well, if you wanted to go after Barack Obama, you certainly did it. 

First of all, let me ask you your reaction to Sarah Palin and her debut. 

You‘re a professional speaker.  What did you think of this? 

RUDOLPH GIULIANI ®, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR:  I thought she did a great job. 

When you consider this is her maiden voyage, and this tremendous pressure, she was superb.  She was a professional.  She handled it very well.  She got the crowd on her side.  She kept them, you know, on her side.  And she also made some very, very strong points. 

She proved that she can be both a policy person for John McCain, as well as someone who, where it‘s necessary, can do contrasts. 

MITCHELL:  Now, certainly laid down some real divides here.  She talked about, you know, small-town America and the media elite.  I mean, she‘s going after the very people you represent. 

GIULIANI:  She‘s going after the people that we believe Barack Obama has left open.  I mean, those are the people he said were clinging to religion and their guns.  Those are the people that he demeaned when he discussed her town as being, you know, not big enough, or I called it not -not cosmopolitan enough.  But I think he said something said it‘s not being big—it‘s not being big enough. 

I mean, those—those mayors of most of America.  Those towns are most of America.  So, he‘s kind of left a big opening there. 

MITCHELL:  What are the battleground—what is the battleground now, as you see it?  Do you see her being able to appeal to women across America, as—you know, describing herself as the mom, the hockey mom, speaking out for parents with special-needs children?  Has she carved out a new territory for American politicians?

GIULIANI:  I believe she has. 

But I also think she talks to men as powerful as she does women.  I would have to look at her numbers in Alaska, but I bet they‘re as strong among men as women.

She‘s a very effective executive.  She‘s done a superb job in a short time in—in the governorship 20 months.  But that‘s the critical time.  That first eight months is really a critical time.  So, I think she has got a heck of a record to lay out there.  It‘s an executive record.  Frankly, it is missing from the ticket, the Democratic ticket.  And it‘s the area where John needed some help as well. 

So, I think she is going to be a big asset in many respects. 

MITCHELL:  And you don‘t think she‘s vulnerable on the size and scale of her executive experience and the brevity of her political experience? 

GIULIANI:  Well, I think that John McCain makes up a lot on the experience factor. 

You want a balanced ticket, right?  If you have somebody who is strong on foreign policy, you want someone who is strong on domestic policy.  She is certainly strong on domestic policy.

As far as foreign policy is concerned, she is going to develop it, along with John McCain.  And, I mean, and she will—it seems to me this a very quick study.  She was selected less than a week ago.  That was a heck of a speech for somebody selected less than a week ago.  I have seen people, after 20 years in politics, not be able to give a speech like that. 

MITCHELL:  No question about that, in terms of the—her ability to move this crowd and to stir this crowd. 

Let me ask you about your own speech, just briefly.  You went after him.  You went after him hard.  You were sarcastic. 

Barack Obama has 18 million votes, and has survived a very tough Democratic primary test of 20 months.  Did you have any pause at all in going after him this hard and belittling him the way you did? 

GIULIANI:  I don‘t think he had any of this audience.

The reality is, he had 18 million votes, and Hillary Clinton had 18 million votes, and he did not win his primary the way John McCain beat all of us.  I mean, he squeaked by.  Even after he was the front-runner, he couldn‘t win primaries in major states.  Hillary beat him. 

So, they have a candidate that was the choice of half of their party, if that.  We have a candidate that won primaries hands—hands down, I mean, very few he didn‘t win, very few he didn‘t win by big numbers.  We‘re the united party this time.  They‘re still trying to put it all together. 

I know that, because I talk to a lot of Democrats.  I mean, those—that—those things that Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton said about Barack Obama are different than the usual criticisms.  They said he wasn‘t prepared to be president of the United States.  Those are very damaging words.  And I think they‘re going to reverberate throughout this campaign. 

MITCHELL:  Mayor Rudy Giuliani, after your speech tonight, and Judith Giuliani, thank you so much for joining us. 

GIULIANI:  Thank you, Andrea.  Always a pleasure.

And the game is on, Keith.  The war has begun—back to you. 

OLBERMANN:  Indeed it has. 

Andrea Mitchell, thanks. 

When we return, we will join Chris Matthews and the panel in Saint Paul for more reaction to the Palin speech. 

Our coverage of the Republican 2008 Convention continues from Saint Paul and New York after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN:  In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  The roll call under way for what is going to be the nomination of John McCain and Sarah Palin as presidential and vice presidential nominees of the Republican Party.  We‘ll be watching this and cutting back to it when Arizona is expected to pass to arrange for Arizona to later be the state that puts McCain over the top. 

In the interim, let‘s go back to Chris Matthews and the panel in St.

Paul—Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Keith.

Let‘s go to Pat and to Rachel.  I think it was almost an experience of not only a who we were meeting but a what.  This is a new political presence in our lives which is going the be big for two months—Rachel. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I think the thing that was surprising, because we knew that personality, the introduction, the issue of her charisma was going to be so front and center, to have had that—with that focus, so much sarcasm and mockery and insult, we got a little about Sarah Palin the person, we got a lot about what‘s wrong with Barack Obama. 

And that‘s obviously the traditional role of the vice president.  Usually that comes after you know a little bit more about who is vice president is.  So I‘m surprised that we got so much belittling, kind of nasty sniping at Obama. 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Chris, this was a sensational evening for the Republican Party.  I was concerned because, let me tell you, Rudy Giuliani gave one of the all-time great keynote addresses, ripping and cutting... 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let‘s go right now—I‘m sorry to interrupt.  But let‘s go to the Arizona delegation on the floor.  Here they are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Arizona respectfully passes. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Arizona passes. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Arkansas, 34 votes. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Obviously, the roll call has begun tonight.  It‘s going to yield a victory in the nomination of John McCain, of course.  But we‘re going to cut in and out of it throughout the progress of the roll call. 

BUCHANAN:  You used the term earlier, a star is born.  Look, this is a rookie who came in and threw a shutout in the first game of the World Series.  She‘s an excellent speaker, she‘s intelligent, she‘s tough, she‘s arresting, she‘s interesting.  Her voice, I don‘t know whether it‘s upper Midwest or where it comes from, but you‘ve got her, contrast her with Joe Biden in terms of just an exciting, interesting, personality, new. 

What the Republican ticket has got is what the Democratic ticket got in Barack Obama, something new, and fresh, and different. 

MATTHEWS:  In terms of issues important to the electorate, I thought it was interesting—you first, Norah, she defended traditional values and a traditional decision she has made, but she did not pick a fight with pro-choice women.  She did not discuss reproductive rights.  She did not talk about the battle line that separates right and left in American issues with regard to gender.  I thought that was important.

NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  That is interesting.  The men did that last night.  They didn‘t use her to do that tonight.  They used pictures.  And there were some pretty remarkable pictures that were shown of her family, not only on the stage, but there and the youngest—not the baby, but Piper, the little girl who kept waving her hands and at one point licked her hand and wiped baby‘s hair down. 

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Better than watching Paul Wolfowitz do it.

(LAUGHTER)

N. O‘DONNELL:  It was very heartwarming.  And that‘s why we have a remarkable presidential campaign.  As Tim used to say, my only bias is for a great story.  This is a great story.  Tonight we have the first woman on the Republican ticket in history, the first woman in 24 years. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  . cultural social issues, they were raised indirectly when she talked about this beautiful baby we have and we all know the baby has.

N. O‘DONNELL:  Perfectly beautiful. 

BUCHANAN:  Perfectly beautiful.  Down syndrome.  She didn‘t do it, you know, directly in your face, we‘re pro-life, et cetera.  But by doing that, she was making that statement.  And that‘s what brought those folks out of their chairs because they know, if you will, the back story of that. 

And that‘s the way she dealt with it.  She did it in a beautiful way, and then told other parents, and I‘ve got in our family, have challenged kids like that.  And she said, I will be your friend.  I‘ll bet all of America, parents that have that understand.  I just thought it was beautiful. 

MATTHEWS:  Pat, let‘s not set up a false dichotomy.  No one in America has talked about denying the right of a woman to bring to term a Down syndrome baby. 

BUCHANAN:  I know that.  I‘m saying.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHAHAN:  . here was my choice, I took it, and it was beautiful. 

MATTHEWS:  Was she appealing tonight to men and women both or to women?  What was the appeal?  How general was it? 

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I think it was to men and women both.  I did not see, except in a few places, a specific appeal to women.  But, Pat, didn‘t you think—don‘t you agree, though, that she was most effective when she was being Sarah Palin, when she was telling her story, she was introducing her family. 

And the policy stuff, frankly, it seemed to me like boilerplate, it really did. 

BUCHANAN:  I agree with you.  The policy was served, the best was the family.  But some of those light lines which ought to have a feminine stiletto into Obama I thought were terrific.  My guess is they were Scully-written or something like that.  But I thought she was effective there. 

But you‘re right, when you go down the list of things we‘re going to do, and get into the old—I mean, for my money, they can drop that stuff. 

MADDOW:  To have the remarks of the speech, you know, with the phonetic pronunciations of some of the hard words in the policy stuff is a reminder that this is the first time she has ever talked about nuclear weapons, this is the first time she has ever told a lot of these stories, this is not her take on the country, her.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Did pretty well, didn‘t she, Rachel? 

MADDOW:  Sure.  She gave a good speech, the thing is.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  The last word, is this the first time a candidate for vice president of the United States has ever said:  “We met in high school and two decades and five children, he‘s still my guy”?  I think that was a winner.  A lot of guys like to hear women say that.  They like women to like us. 

Anyway, let‘s go back to Keith.

OLBERMANN:  All right.  Are we sure we didn‘t hear anything like that from Gerry Ferraro in 1984?  Well, we‘ll look it up.  Chris, thank you. 

With us now, Brian Williams, the anchor of “NBC NIGHTLY NEWS,” along with our NBC News special correspondent, Tom Brokaw. 

And place this one, Brian, if you want to, in the context of big events at political conventions. 

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC ANCHOR:  Well, it‘s hard to find an example in history where—of course, the media age kind of negates everything before it because it‘s all so in your face and three-hour news cycles, but we have a new character introduced, as everyone on the panel has been saying, to the American public in absolute lightning speed.

To use a well-worn cliche, were this the work of a screenwriter, it would be just handed back out of hand.  Two points I‘d like to make, Keith.  Number one, Ann Curry‘s interview on the floor with the women delegates tonight, one of them said of Governor Palin, she has lived the dream, the American dream in every aspect. 

That was what was attractive about her story to this delegate.  Guess who else you can say that about and yet we‘re looking at parallel universes here.  An us versus them, she‘s one of us, he‘s one of them kind of argument. 

Secondly, about the attacks on the media tonight, Joe Klein is on the board.  His blog for TIME magazine.  And I‘ll quote briefly.  “I hope my colleagues,” meaning his colleagues in the news media, “stand strong in this case.  It‘s important for the public to know Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the bridge to nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library, and thinks the war in Iraq is ‘a task from God.‘

“The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive,  but unprofessional in the extreme.”  Just another Wednesday night in Minnesota—Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Brian, to that point, did—there is never anything that‘s 100 percent good or 100 percent bad.  I was suggesting this to Chris about—and to David Gregory about what might happen in the vice presidential debate, whether or not deference from Senator Biden was any longer going to be required because this is obviously a candidate who can throw punches with the best of them. 

Did to some degree Sarah Palin just take the air out of the McCain campaign, if you will, to suggest that there was a media attempt to treat her unfairly or disrespectfully?  It doesn‘t sound like if there was such a campaign, if it would have any actual effect on her. 

WILLIAMS:  Well, I think they‘ll keep that going.  And listen to what Rudy Giuliani said about her executive experience.  He said: “It‘s area where John needed some help as well.” She is now bolstering the experience of a United States senator, to listen to the former New York mayor on the floor tonight. 

So take—you know, as the narrative of today has been, take the old rule book and cast it aside.  All of those saying, but she doesn‘t have this, she lacks—they‘re saying, new conversation.  Start over. 

OLBERMANN:  And how does it—Tom, how does it affect the old conversation?  How did the old conversation change as a result of this speech tonight, do you think? 

TOM BROKAW, NBC SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:  Well, the old conversation was, could this party be put back together again?  And would John McCain win the hearts of these delegates?  And what he did was send Sarah Palin out there to win their hearts.  And I think that she accomplished that tonight as we‘ve been saying for the last couple of days here, I‘ve been saying at least. 

I expected her to do just what she did tonight.  You know, I‘ve watched her from afar, took her measure last weekend when she appeared.  I know how much hard work was going into all of this.  I think that there are still legitimate questions that have to be answered by this campaign. 

These kinds of speeches are really tonal.  And what she did tonight was introduce herself not just to this hall, but to the American public, in a very engaging and winning way.  But she‘s being positioned as someone who will be just one heartbeat away from the presidency. 

Republicans and Democrats and independents alike deserve to know as much as we can about her qualifications.  She took a big step in that direction tonight.  I was struck by these attacks on the media for raising a lot of those questions.  Rudy Giuliani added the phrase “left wing” to the media. 

Now, the mayor—I don‘t remember when the press was lionizing him as “America‘s mayor,” using that kind of a phrase.  This has happened in conventions before and will happen again.  And we‘ll have to work our way through that.  As I said earlier today, I think the American public really has a way of digesting all of this. 

Finally, what I would like to say, Keith, is, what you saw tonight were two patterns here.  To use Pat Buchanan‘s own phrase about his campaign, a pitchfork rebellion, we‘re going to sweep across the country and move into Washington.  Well, what‘s quite striking about that, with the exception of the last two years, the Republicans have been running Washington for the last eight years.  They had a grip on Congress and they certainly had a very strong administration elected two times. 

And finally, there is that soft underbelly about Barack Obama in the minds of a lot of American voters.  Is he equipped to be the commander-in-chief?  We are at war in two countries.  And tonight they came back to that repeatedly.  And they don‘t do that by accident. 

Throughout their polling, trying to find out where his vulnerable points are, and so we heard every speaker tonight go after Barack Obama, whether he‘s equipped to lead, not just as the chief executive of the country, but especially as the commander-in-chief—Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams inside the Xcel Center in St. Paul.  As always, gentlemen, great thanks. 

We continue to watch the roll call on the convention floor.  John McCain‘s home state, Arizona, expected, manipulated to put him officially over the top.  Manipulated purely in the mechanical sense of the word.  Nothing else implied by that. 

We will be back in time for that.  And you are watching MSNBC‘s coverage of the 2008 Republican Convention.

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY ®, IOWA:  This year my fellow Iowans showed strength in the face of adversity, strength of character after 500-year floods and fatal tornadoes.  This year, Iowa.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  About 358 votes stand between John McCain and the official nomination of his party for president.  We‘re going to continue to watch, MSNBC‘s live—we‘re going to watch the continuing tally here, and Arizona will likely put the senator—its own senator over the top. 

This is MSNBC‘s live coverage of the Republican Convention in St.  Paul.  Speaking of Arizona senators, Ron Allen is on the floor of the Xcel Center with Arizona‘s junior senator, Jon Kyl—Ron. 

RON ALLEN, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Thanks very much, Keith.  Yes, we have pride of place here, we‘re just a few feet from the podium. 

You have got a front row seat for this night. 

SEN. JON KYL ®, ARIZONA:  Yes, we do.  Being the other senator from Arizona, Arizona gets a nice spot here on the convention floor. 

ALLEN:  I think a lot of people listening to Governor Palin‘s speech were surprised by how aggressive it was.  Gently, with a velvet glove, but aggressive nonetheless. 

KYL:  But tough.  Well, you know, everybody said she was tough.  And I think some people maybe didn‘t believe that.  But I think you saw tonight, she has got a lot of steel in her spine.  And there‘s a big story in Alaska about how she has performed using that strength. 

ALLEN:  Do you think that she‘s going to hold up, however, when she leaves this protective environment of a convention where obviously everybody is in support of her?  There are some tough questions about her performance on the job that have nothing to do with family and all of those other issues.  And she is a relative newcomer to the national stage. 

KYL:  Yes, candidates will get tough questions, but I think your first question sort of answers the second.  She has got a lot of steel in her spine.  She‘s strong.  She‘s tough.  She has proven herself in Alaska.  Now the national stage is a little different.  But you saw that she has the basic qualities to do it.  And I think she will. 

ALLEN:  What is it going to mean for you tonight here to see your buddy John McCain go over the top? 

KYL:  Well, this has been a long, hard slog.  You remember, going all the way back to 2000.  And then when he was down and nobody thought he was going to get up, I remember meeting when there was a very small group of us in the room, and they laid out the case for how he could do it.  And he did it. 

And it‘s his perseverance and his commitment and his drive that frankly could carry over to his presidency as well.  I mean, you‘ve all seen it.  You know how he is. 

ALLEN:  I think we‘re up to Maryland.  We‘re watching very closely.  I‘m not quite sure how far away we are yet.  What does he have to do when he comes out here tomorrow night?  John McCain is someone who is familiar to many people but perhaps unfamiliar to many people.  What does he do have to here tonight when he has the national audience to talk to? 

KYL:  I think his story is familiar to everyone.  I think he will lay out and should lay out some of his ideas, the things he would like to accomplish.  Also hopes he lets his humor come through.  He‘s actually a very funny guy, a very regular guy, and very personable. 

And I hope—you know, this isn‘t the best setting for that to come out, but I hope it can come out tomorrow. 

ALLEN:  But has the party gotten excited enough?  That was the big problem.  There‘s a big enthusiasm gap between the Republican and the Democrats going forward here. 

KYL:  Well, some pundits said, you know,  John McCain can never convince me to vote for him, but Barack Obama can.  And I think having the serious purpose—you know, we have to make a choice here.  It‘s either Barack Obama or John McCain.  That‘s a pretty stark choice for people who believe what we do.  And I think obviously adding Governor Palin to the ticket will help an awful lot as well. 

ALLEN:  And she did make quite an impression here tonight. 

KYL:  I think so, yes. 

ALLEN:  Thanks very much. 

KYL:  You bet.

ALLEN:  Keith, back to you.

OLBERMANN:  Ron Allen, thank you. 

And I‘ve heard it twice and I have to respond to it now.  It‘s pundit, not pundits (ph).  P-U-N-D-I-T, OK, I‘ve got that off my chest for the moment.  Our political director, Chuck Todd, is back with us. 

Ron just asked a great question, Chuck, which is, how does that play -how—what was set up by Sarah Palin‘s speech tonight, how does that play outside of the convention both tonight and outside of the kind of cocoon, not unlike a cocoon at Mile High Stadium last week?  How does play out there in the competitive, you‘re not just talking to Republicans anymore?

CHUCK TODD, NBC POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  Well, it‘s interesting.  Look, conservatives have found their Obama, OK?  They have somebody they‘re fired up about.  There‘s nothing that she will do wrong, I think, on this campaign trail, unless it is something, you know, dreadful or—you know, something politically damaging of some sort. 

But as far as gaffes or anything like that, this conservative base is fired up about Governor Palin.  And she may be their future.  You can see it.  It almost reminded me of the reaction Obama got from the left in 2004 when he gave his speech. 

Now, the big difference between the Obama 2004 speech and this Palin 2008 speech was the tone.  And I‘ve heard from a lot of Democrats, a couple of pollsters who believe that somehow her tone might not play well in the middle, with swing voters, that maybe it was too harsh, maybe it was too sarcastic, that it went after him too much and too light-hearted.  And that being her first impression on these voters, it‘s going to be hard for her to ever shake being this person. 

That said, maybe that‘s exactly what this ticket needs.  And she certainly did a good job of that.  Look, she did her biography well.  The speech was very thin on substance.  I thought what was interesting is they were very careful not to have her talk about things that she hasn‘t dealt with right now. 

It‘s almost as if they said, look, they were going to take away a weapon from the Obama campaign.  If she started talking about national security issues or things she hasn‘t yet dealt with as governor of Alaska, I think they felt that would get mocked for that.  So instead, they kept it out and kept it about biography, Obama, and McCain. 

OLBERMANN:  Now that sarcasm point, I mentioned Tracy Flick in there.  And those who are familiar with the Harry Potter canon might thing Dolores Umbridge, but that remains to be seen how that plays out. 

And speaking of playing out, we talked about this last week in Denver, the idea of the arc of the convention, of having each moment set up the next and be exceeded by the next.  This is one of the problems with the hit it out of the park home run, at least as it‘s perceived inside the convention hall. 

What does John McCain now have to do to maintain being the focus of his own ticket tomorrow? 

TODD:  Well, look, I think a lot of us thought the same thing last week, Tuesday, Wednesday, the Clintons were dominating that convention and everybody said, how is Obama going to do it?  Now granted, he had an easy way of changing the tone of the convention because he was changing the actual setting. 

So all of a sudden, everything was going to change and the focal point was going to change.  Look, I think what you‘re—what was interesting, tonight was clearly red meat night.  I mean, Giuliani delivered a red meat speech that we hadn‘t seen him deliver in a while.  It was well delivered.  And he was really enjoying the moment. 

He ate up so much time, we didn‘t even get to see the video that they prepared on Governor Palin, which I‘m sure at some point they would like to get that video out there.  But tonight was for the base. 

I have a feeling this means tomorrow, McCain‘s speech might not be the attack on Obama speech that everybody thought we might see.  Tomorrow might be the McCain, let me tell you what I‘m going to do, I want to be this guy, a reformer, using what Governor Palin has set up.

And by the way, I thought Chris Matthews made an excellent point when he noted there was not one even—it was maybe one faint point about any social conservative issues.  She didn‘t really touch on culture issues in her speech at all.  That was last night.  It was all about reform, reform, reform.  And I think that means that‘s what you‘re going to hear from McCain tomorrow night.  Because he is trying to retell that story. 

He doesn‘t want to be the experience candidate.  He wants to be a change candidate too.  And I think that‘s what it‘s going to be tomorrow night.

OLBERMANN:  All right.  Let‘s listen to the roll call here, Chuck.

Nebraska.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The great state of Nebraska respectfully passes. 

OLBERMANN:  And we know what that‘s all about.  They‘re setting up Arizona.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Nebraska passes. 

OLBERMANN:  . to put McCain over the top.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Nevada, 34 votes. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  He only needs 21 votes to get there. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Madam Secretary, I‘m Sue Loudon (ph), the chairman of the Nevada Republican Party and a hockey mom. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  On behalf of our lieutenant governor, Brian Krolicki, who is the head of the Nevada.

OLBERMANN:  All right.  So this is going to take some time then. 

Nevada is going to pass. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Nevada passes.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  Nevada passes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Nevada passes.

OLBERMANN:  All right.  So they‘re going to go through the whole list alphabetically.  So let‘s go back to Chris Matthews. 

That arc that I was talking about, what bar did the vice presidential nominee, soon to be, set for the presidential nominee, soon to be, Chris? 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I don‘t think that she was campaigning for president.  I think she was campaigning tonight effectively as almost—an interesting thing, I think she was campaigning against Michelle Obama.  I mean, not running for first lady formally, but running as kind of a partner rather than a State Department expert or a foreign policy expert or the kinds of expertise that Dick Cheney supposedly brought to the Oval Office. 

She offered herself up as kind of like a partner, almost like the female partner to the male.  It was a pretty interesting thing the way she offered herself tonight.  Very much a traditional family values approach.  Almost like she would complete the setting of the family. 

But I‘m telling you, I‘ll go it again, it was a torpedo aimed at Michelle and Barack Obama on the issue of bitterness among small town people and pride in the country.  These were direct shots at the openings created by the Obamas during the campaign. 

Hillary Clinton did a good job of doing the same thing but not with the same gusto and gameness that I saw tonight.  I think you‘re going to see a lot more of this.  This is aimed at men and women of traditional values without picking fights with the pro-choice women who live in collar counties of Philadelphia and Cleveland and the other places they have to compete with them. 

This is an attempt to win the rural areas and exurbia without picking a fight with suburbia.  It‘s very subtle.  I think it will sell in Westmoreland County, definitely, where they have big support for guns.  I think it will sell in Scranton.  It will play in Peoria.  They know what they‘re doing.  This is a targeted attack on the openings created by the Obamas. 

OLBERMANN:  All right.  Chris, stand by, we‘re going to take the opportunity of this, this sequence of passes, to take a quick break and come back for the official nomination of John McCain right after this. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The lieutenant governor of Texas...

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  The passing process continues.  Now Texas is going to follow its later alphabet states, and passing all the way until we get around again to Arizona, because, as you see, at the bottom of your screen, Senator McCain needs 21 votes to nominate and be nominated.  He‘s at 1,170 to 5.  I don‘t have the names of the five, but they are lonely individuals tonight. 

So, we will keep on top of this as—as it happens and goes back.  We will go back to it for the Arizona vote that will put them over the top and the scheduled spontaneous demonstration thereafter. 

David Gregory is on the floor with Senator John Thune—David.

DAVID GREGORY, HOST, “RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE”:  Thanks, Keith.  And we will keep our eye up on the scoreboard here, as—as we wait for Senator McCain to get over the top.

Senator Thune, was a star born here tonight with Sarah Palin? 

SEN. JOHN THUNE ®, SOUTH DAKOTA:  I think she—I think a star was born, David.

She had to get over the bar, and she got way over the bar.  She delivered a speech that obviously excited everybody in the—on the floor tonight.  But I already think that this plays well in the parts around the country, a lot of the states that are going to be in play, particularly Western states.  I think she really appeals to people.  She‘s very tough. 

And, you know, she‘s been taking punches all week.  She proved tonight that she can deliver a punch, and she can do it with a smile. 

GREGORY:  But let‘s talk about that appeal, because this was very much a speech designed to energize the Republican base.  That certainly makes a lot of sense, given McCain‘s standing in the party. 

But, if this is an election that is about some critical swing voters and swing states, is that the message that‘s going to come out of here and on to the campaign train, or is John McCain going to have to pivot it to more of a reform message and more of an outreach to independent voters? 

THUNE:  You know, I think that Senator McCain will—will talk a lot, speak to those independents and—and conservative Democrats out there that he‘s trying to move over into the—into his column. 

I think the speech was designed to build that intensity and that enthusiasm among the Republican base voters out there, where it had been a little bit lacking.  And I think she really effectively did that tonight.  I mean, she obviously—she‘s got a lot of moxie.  And I think this plays really well. 

And it does—it does set the stage, I think, tomorrow night for Senator McCain to come out and appeal to some of those independents, talk about reform, the things that he believes in, and the things that he wants to do as president. 

GREGORY:  Rudy Giuliani said on our—our air here that there‘s—it‘s pretty good for a maiden voyage, that she‘s got some ways to go.

Is that the feeling among Republicans, that there‘s a learning curve for her?  Is she ready to be president now?

THUNE:  Well, it‘s a big—the national stage is—it‘s a very big stage.  And she‘s had a very short amount of time to adapt to it.

So, I think that she‘s a very quick study.  She‘s proven that.  She‘s very smart.  She—she obviously can give a great speech.  But, you know, she has got a lot of work ahead of her.  You know, we have got debates coming up.  And I think that, when you get into the—kind of the grist of substance of talking about the economy, talking about national security, she‘s got her work ahead of her. 

But she‘s proven tonight, I think, that she‘s up to the task, and, certainly, in a short amount of time, got ready with a big speech. 

GREGORY:  Bashing the media is popular here, but do rank-and-file Republicans want the answers to the questions that are being asked about her record, about her preparedness? 

I‘m sorry.  I have got to—I have to cut you off. 

THUNE:  Is it time?

GREGORY:  I have got to go back to Keith.  I think it‘s time.

Sorry about that—Keith, back to you. 

OLBERMANN:  All right. 

We‘re nearing it, Wyoming passing. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Arizona.

OLBERMANN:  Here we go back to Arizona.  This will put him over the top. 

(CROSSTALK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

JAN BREWER, ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE:  Madam Secretary, I‘m Jan Brewer, secretary of state of Arizona. 

Tonight, the Grand Canyon State is proud to share with the nation one of our native sons, Senator John McCain. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

BREWER:  Arizona is known for its trailblazers, its consensus-builders, and its patriots, great statesmen who put their country first, like Senator Barry Goldwater and Justice Sandra Day O‘Connor. 

So, tonight, my fellow Americans, it is time for Western leadership, Western values, and a good old American common sense.  It‘s time for John McCain. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

BREWER:  Madam Secretary, it is my distinct honor to cast Arizona‘s 53 votes for our fellow Arizonan and great patriot, the next president of the United States, Senator John Sidney McCain. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Arizona, 53 votes, John McCain. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

OLBERMANN:  (AUDIO GAP) ... breaking news is—it‘s technically true.  It‘s not—not so much of a surprise.  John McCain has clinched the nomination with the vote from his home state of Arizona. 

Whether they will go on from here or simply announce this—the latter would be probably indicated. 

Let‘s listen. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

OLBERMANN:  All right. 

In the interim, as we wait for them to do something, Ron Allen in the Arizona delegation—Ron.

RON ALLEN, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hey.  How are you, Keith? 

A completely spontaneous—first, love the hat. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you very much.  You have got to be excited about this ticket.

ALLEN:  Why are you so excited? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Because I think John McCain is going to be the best next president of the United States.  And Sarah Palin showed us tonight why she will be a great vice president. 

ALLEN:  She was really on the attack in a very sort of sarcastic and velvety, but very direct way. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She was funny.  She was bright.  She was to the point.  She just did an awesome job.  She‘s going to be wonderful.

ALLEN:  Did you honestly think that, in your lifetime, you would see the Republicans nominate a woman to be vice president? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m so happy to see them nominate a woman. 

She‘s going to do an outstanding job.

ALLEN:  So, what do you do now? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We celebrate.  We keep celebrating.  And, believe me, it will—celebrate tomorrow night, when Senator McCain speaks.

ALLEN:  What does this mean to you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re a friend of John McCain‘s, I understand it, right? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is—it‘s the right team for America.  John McCain race made the right decision again. 

ALLEN:  What‘s so special about the West?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘re—we‘re happy to have him.

ALLEN:  What‘s so special about the West and Arizona? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We have...

ALLEN:  It‘s kind of far out there, like Alaska, in some ways. 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s common sense. 

ALLEN:  It depends on where you‘re from.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s the kind of change we need in Washington. 

(CHEERING)

ALLEN:  I think there are a few people who need to restrain themselves.  Anyway, the Arizona delegation is having a great time.  The balloons up there for tomorrow night, but, tonight, they‘re celebrating in Phoenix -Keith, back to you.

OLBERMANN:  It‘s nice when they ask their own questions, Ron. 

Congratulations.  Thank you, Ron Allen.

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  Kelly O‘Donnell is at—moved over to Maine, with the Maine delegation now, and joins us with Senator Snowe. 

KELLY O‘DONNELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Yes, thank you, Keith. 

Senator Olympia Snowe is with us. 

And, as you watched this evening, what do you think was important for Governor Palin to try to accomplish?  And, in your judgment, did she? 

SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE ®, MAINE:  Yes, I think she needed to do exactly what she did this evening.  And that is to introduce herself to not only Republicans here at the convention, but to all of America. 

I mean, this is her—the beginning, I think, of a public vetting process by the American people and getting to know her—I think we‘re all excited to get to know her—and to talk about her background, what she‘s all about, what she‘s attempted to accomplish in her years of public service, and why she would make an important partner for John McCain in the course of this president—presidential run. 

K. O‘DONNELL:  And some of the areas where people have the greatest question about her qualification, whether it be national security or international affairs, do you think that she needs to answer those questions more specifically in a speech like this tonight, or is that something to be left for the campaign trail ahead? 

SNOWE:  I think in both, frankly. 

And I think that is something that the campaign needs to address.  I think that, obviously, because she is not known to the American people, it is critical for her to speak to those questions, to answer—to answer them, and to address them throughout the course of the campaign, and also consistent with the speeches that should be given along the way, in order to address any of the issues that may be raised. 

And, obviously, this is a very important presidential campaign.  So, I think that people are entitled to know exactly where she stands and how she would go about fulfilling her responsibility as the vice president. 

K. O‘DONNELL:  As a woman officeholder, where do you see the line when a candidate like Governor Palin is trying to be critical of her opponent—some have used the term sarcastic in the way she took on some of the issues facing Senator Obama and Senator Biden—where is the line, in your judgment, for a woman officeholder?  Is it different than it would be for a man? 

SNOWE:  Well, it shouldn‘t be.  And I think it‘s always important to strike the appropriate tone, as I think she did this evening. 

Obviously, distinctions are going to be drawn in the course of this campaign.  I think both sides have—obviously have been doing that.  And I think she—she did exactly right here tonight in talking about those issues that have already been raised about her or John McCain. 

And I think that, hopefully, both sides will be able to help contain it as—as the campaign goes on, because the American people, more than anything else, they want results.  They want to hear, you know, positive solutions to the very difficult, challenging problems facing American.  And I hope that both sides are able to accomplish that, because the—the American people deserve nothing less. 

K. O‘DONNELL:  Senator Snowe, thank you so much for your time. 

SNOWE:  Thank you. 

K. O‘DONNELL:  Back to you guys.

OLBERMANN:  All right, Kelly O‘Donnell with Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine. 

Now to the California delegation.  Andrea Mitchell has relocated to that one—Andrea. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT:  Thanks, Keith. 

I‘m here with Kelly Randall, who is a mother of three, three young children, and a homemaker, who is really interested, because you didn‘t support the idea of Sarah Palin, but—until you heard her here tonight. 

KELLY RANDALL, CALIFORNIA DELEGATE:  I was leery over the last few days.  I really was.  I didn‘t know her.  I didn‘t know much about her.  It was—it was just—the pick just came out of nowhere. 

And, so, I—I liked her speech, but I think I watched a little too much TV over the last few days.  And I was questioning.  And I was questioning.  And I was questioning her choice.

And, today—tonight, she spoke, and she spoke to me as a mother of three children, 8, 10 and 12, as a parent, as the future of this country.  She—I—I feel like she‘s going to be the next—next vice president. 

And I completely support her.  And I‘m so happy. 

MITCHELL:  Well, you told me that you‘re—you are pro-choice. 

RANDALL:  I am. 

MITCHELL:  You live in Sacramento, California.  So, you live in a state that has supported a lot of liberal issues in the past. 

RANDALL:  Right. 

MITCHELL:  Do you have concerns about her on the social issues?  What were you responding to in her speech? 

RANDALL:  I‘m—I‘m more moderate socially, definitely.  But I feel like this—we‘re at such a crucial point in our nation and in the future of our country, that I‘m concerned over the safety and the security of our country, more than I‘m—than I care about pro-choice at this point in my life and in—in our country. 

I think what she can do and the way that she and McCain are going to take this country and keep us safe, it‘s—that becomes a bigger issue to me. 

MITCHELL:  And you found her speech compelling, even though some would say she doesn‘t have a lot of experience on national security issues or...

RANDALL:  She has...

MITCHELL:  ... protecting the country?

RANDALL:  She has character, and she has a strong moral stance.  She -

she comes from a small town.  And she‘s a leader.  She‘s a mom.  She‘s—she gets it. 

She‘s going to—I feel like she spoke to me, and I feel like she will lead us. 

MITCHELL:  Kelly Randall, thank you very much. 

RANDALL:  Thank you. 

MITCHELL:  Keith, that‘s the target audience, although she‘s a committed Republican.  It‘s obviously Republicans, independents and some Democrats, perhaps, that they were trying to aim the speech at and the selection of Sarah Palin at—Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Andrea Mitchell in the California delegation—thank you, Andrea.

We‘re going to go a little further afield.

Savannah Guthrie reporting from Sarah Palin‘s hometown, Wasilla, Alaska, where she got to watch this speech with actual Alaskans—

Savannah.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  I thought...

(LAUGHTER)

GUTHRIE:  I thought you were going to say Wasillians.

Well, here‘s what is the required wear tonight, a “Go Sarah” T-shirt and, then, of course, the McCain/Palin logo on the back.  And they were selling these at a bar they held a watch party this evening.  It was standing room only and a very enthusiastic hometown crowd, cheering, clapping, giving standing ovations.

And you heard a lot of “You go, girl” and “Go, Sarah.”  This is a town that is on a first-name basis with its former mayor.  You have to look very hard to have anyone say anything bad about her at all.  They said she‘s very tough.  They were very proud of her and the strong speech she gave tonight. 

I asked some of the people there, now, come on, you may be mad at the media—and they are—but didn‘t it take you a little while to get used to her, too?  And they said, yes, it is true that she took some getting used to.  She shook things up a lot.  But they‘re very pleased with what she did for this town and she is now doing for the state of Alaska and, of course, what they hope she will do for the country. 

OLBERMANN:  Is there any sense, Savannah, that there was something new in what they saw in their governor and in their ex-mayor from—from several years ago?  Was this an extension, a—a matured version of who they saw before, or is it just the same person? 

GUTHRIE:  I got the feeling that there was a lot of pride, that they really saw that fire in her, and they were really rooting for her, especially when she made those strong statements, when she really went after Barack Obama.  There were a lot of cheers in the crowd. 

So, I think they felt like this is someone we know and this is someone who‘s making Alaska proud.  And, of course, needless to say, every time she mentions her hometown or the state of Alaska, the cheers really went up.  So, there‘s no question she has got a lot of support her.  She‘s a very popular governor.  And people were just really enthusiastic and very excited.  And there was—you couldn‘t find a seat in there. 

OLBERMANN:  And we‘re—we‘re just now seeing some of the pictures from the watch party, which Savannah Guthrie had the pleasure of attending with the—is it Wasillans or Wasillians? 

GUTHRIE:  I don‘t know.  I said Wasillians. 

(LAUGHTER)

GUTHRIE:  My instincts are usually wrong, so do the opposite.

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  Right.  Alaskans. 

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  Savannah Guthrie in Wasilla, Alaska, thank you.

Chris Matthews and our panel...

GUTHRIE:  You bet.

OLBERMANN:  ... from Saint Paul when we come back.

This is MSNBC‘s coverage of the 2008 Republican Convention from New York and Saint Paul and Wasilla.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN:  In small towns, we don‘t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they‘re listening and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren‘t listening. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN:  Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens, I will be honored to accept your nomination for vice president of the United States. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  This is MSNBC‘s coverage of the Republican National Convention—Ron Allen again on the convention floor at the Xcel Energy Center with the Arizona delegation, which, just moments ago, put their Senator John McCain over the top and got him the Republican nomination—

Ron. 

ALLEN:  Thanks very much, Keith. 

I‘m with Jan Brewer, a delightful woman who is a little bit excited. 

You‘re also the secretary of state.  So, you had the honor of front row, first seat, and putting your—your good friend over the top.  What did that mean?

BREWER:  Absolutely.  That was absolutely, probably one of the biggest thrills in my life.  It‘s very, very exciting to have been able to participate like that with John.  He‘s a great guy. 

ALLEN:  You said you would walk on fire or water for him.  I can‘t remember which it was.

BREWER:  I would do anything for John.  I would work on a bed of flames for John McCain, across the desert. 

ALLEN:  Why?  Why? 

BREWER:  Because he‘s a man that—he loves his country, a man of courage, a man that tells it like it is.  And he is going to be wonderful for our country. 

ALLEN:  What about the governor, Governor Palin?  You have never met her.  So many people—so few people have met her.  But she—she touched you in some way, or she really connected with you, perhaps the better word.

BREWER:  She absolutely did. 

I think she represents what our country is all about.  She‘s just a fantastic person, as far as I have seen.  She has got a—a resume that anyone would love to have in their—in their back pocket. 

And she is genuine.  And I think that she‘s going to step right up there and work with John and, as a team, bring this country around.  I...

ALLEN:  So—so, now it‘s work. 

BREWER:  Work, work, work.

ALLEN:  Well, first, there‘s a party, you said. 

BREWER:  There—first, there‘s a party.  There is going to be a little celebration tonight.  And, tomorrow, I think we will maybe have a whole lot of fun, maybe a little bubbly. 

ALLEN:  Are we invited? 

BREWER:  Absolutely.

ALLEN:  You have to tell us where it is.

I tell you, it‘s been hard to find the parties in this town, because you have Saint Paul, you have Minneapolis.

But you have been making do, I will bet? 

BREWER:  I have been trying the very best that I can to hit them all and to participate and get that thrill in my system.  And I think we have done a pretty good job.

ALLEN:  You think you‘re going to see the McCains tonight? 

BREWER:  Well, I—I doubt it.  I would love to.  If I was to be summoned, I would be there in a heartbeat.  I would, you know?  But they‘re probably getting together, getting ready for tomorrow.

ALLEN:  This meant a lot to you.  It meant a lot to...

BREWER:  Oh.

ALLEN:  You ran with office with him 20, 30 years ago, you said?

BREWER:  Right.  Twenty-eight years ago, John ran for the United States Congress.  I ran for the House of Representatives.  Then he ran for the United States Senate.  I ran for the state Senate.  Then I ran for Arizona secretary of state.  And he is now running for president.  So...

(CROSSTALK)

ALLEN:  So, what‘s next for you on that ascendancy? 

BREWER:  I don‘t know.  Right now, I‘m going to work really hard for John McCain. 

ALLEN:  Thanks very much.

BREWER:  Thank you. 

ALLEN:  And we will see you somewhere at a party, hopefully. 

BREWER:  I hope so.

ALLEN:  But we will have to talk about that after this is over. 

BREWER:  We will celebrate.  Thanks.

ALLEN:  Thanks.

(CROSSTALK)

ALLEN:  Keith, back to you. 

OLBERMANN:  All right, Ron.  Have a nice time—Ron Allen on the floor with the Arizona delegation. 

Let‘s go back out to Chris Matthews in Saint Paul and the panel—

Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Keith. 

Let‘s look at the—the political horse flesh, as we like to say, we have seen tonight, the capability of this candidate for vice president of the United States to weather the storms of the next two months. 

Pat, you have done this before as communications director for Ronald Reagan.  How would you use her, how would you protect her the next two months? 

PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I think Chuck Todd really got it right when he said, the conservatives have their own Obama.

She‘s a sensation right now.  And, if I were McCain, I would take her with me out on the first week to the really swing states, introduce her, because they will be wild about her, not only conservatives.  Everybody will be interested.

MATTHEWS:  She will get him a crowd. 

BUCHANAN:  Oh, and the crowds, speaking—and she should speak to the crowd. 

But I would keep her away from the press, though.  Don‘t get into any press people sticking the microphone in your mouth, “What about Georgia?‘ and stuff like that, and having her giving the speeches, then follow it up by McCain. 

Then, I would send her, quite frankly—every guy in the Republican Party that needs a speaker to raise money in states...

MATTHEWS:  How can you haul her into a big hall, address 5,000 people, and say she cannot answer press questions, even from the local press?

RACHEL MADDOW, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Yes, I think that...

MATTHEWS:  How do you do that? 

MADDOW:  Well, one of the ways...

MATTHEWS:  Should you be able to do it?

MADDOW:  One of the ways you do it is by making her available only to small-town press and making her available to press that will be impressed with the opportunity to have the chance to talk to her and keep her... 

MATTHEWS:  To throw softballs?

MADDOW:  Yes, well—well, not—there‘s a lot of small-town press that can be aggressive, but people who are not necessarily used to talking to national candidates.  You just keep her on the sort of minor league circuit.  That‘s one way to do it.  She hasn‘t faced the national press corps before. 

You have to figure out a way to ramp her into it in a way that is going to be fair to her and give her the best chance of looking good.

MATTHEWS:  I mean, is it true that God—that she believes God supports the war in Iraq.  How does she know? 

MADDOW:  Was she sitting in the pew in her...

MATTHEWS:  How do you know that?

MADDOW:  ... in her church in Wasilla two weeks ago when a speaker said that the Israelis deserves terrorist attacks because Jews are unbelievers in Christ?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Where did that come from?

MADDOW:  That was the Jews For—it was in “Politico” today—Jews for Jesus founder speaking at her church while she was there two weeks ago, making incredibly, incredible out-of-line comments about Israel and Jewish people.  People—I mean, there are tough questions she‘s going to have to answer. 

MATTHEWS:  Pro or con? 

MADDOW:  Saying that that is why Israel was subject to terrorist attacks.  It was God‘s judgment on the Jews for not believing in Christ.

MATTHEWS:  And what‘s your source on this? 

MADDOW:  Politico.com. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.

Norah, how would you—when you look at the challenge facing the—the handlers, if you will, the people that say, certainly, this candidate can give a whale of a—a better speech than most anybody in Congress, I think, right now.  She‘s up there. 

How do you—how do you control, however, the press that can‘t wait to get ahold of her and ask her these cosmic questions? 

NORAH O‘DONNELL, NBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  First, push back, as they‘re doing.  That‘s the strategy they‘re doing, saying the press is being outrageous, fair—unfair, sexist. 

They have kept her holed up.  She‘s not been—she‘s been here.  She hasn‘t even gone to meet with people from her delegation, that we know of.  Instead, she‘s been essentially getting a—a briefing and working on her speech. 

We‘re told she‘s going to go back.  Her son is going to Iraq.  She‘s going to spend time.  She‘s going to sort of beef up on this, get ready to meet the press.

There‘s something that I want to point out in the speech, because I just gone back over it again, again, because there was so much in here that was not biography, that was contrast with Barack Obama, that was tonal, that will have to seen of whether it was too sharp in terms of tone.

But what she tried to do here was say, Barack Obama is all hat, no cattle, over and over again, community organizer.  And if you talk to people, people have said to me, just along the way—this is just anecdotally—what does that mean, community organizer?  What does that mean?  What did he do?  That is throughout this speech.

The first line, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibility.”

Then, she goes on to, “When all the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot, what exactly is our opponent‘s plan?”—high-flown speechmaking.

Again, at the end: “The world of threats and dangers is not just a community, and it doesn‘t just need an organizer.”

There is also a road map in this speech, again, about how they are going to attack him on experience.  Remember, we sort of talked about, oh, he chose her because they want to recapture the change, maverick label?    

No, they‘re still going to hit him on experience.  And she did that in this—in this speech over and over again.

Gene, take some time.  What did you make of the whole presentation? 

ROBINSON:  You know, I—I thought she did a really good job in introducing herself to the—to the American public, and to the—especially to the Republican Party. 

I thought it was a really good performance.  But it was a first step. 

It was a first chapter. 

You know, in tomorrow‘s “Washington Post,” there‘s a story about trooper-gate, for example.  Now, it‘s not a smoking gun.  It‘s not definitive.  But it advances the ball.  It talks—“Post” reporters got to see e-mails that she sent to the Public Safety Commissioner about the trooper in question, who was her ex-brother-in-law.

Again, this—this is nothing definitive.  This is nothing that is going to blow her out of the water, by any stretch of the imagination.  But it‘s an advance in the story.  There are going to be more advances in those stories—in those stories like that.  And it‘s not going to be possible, I think, for the McCain campaign to insulate her entirely from—from that sort of reporting... 

MATTHEWS:  Well...

ROBINSON:  ... or from commenting on...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Can they—can they take her out and choreograph major public addresses before friendly audiences, and still...

ROBINSON:  Sure.  Oh...

MATTHEWS:  ... and deny her access to the press?  Can you do both? 

Can you do both? 

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON:  They can do that.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  They have done it.

ROBINSON:  Yes, they—well, they have done it. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  When was the last time—when was the last time she had a press conference?

ROBINSON:  They can do it for a while longer—they can do it... 

BUCHANAN:  She has been at it six days.  She‘s going to Alaska.

Look, she‘s obviously going to have to have meet with him, and they will set things up.  But you‘re not—they‘re not going to have press allowed to come rushing into her, putting microphones in her face.  Any communications director that allowed that would be fired, because you have going to a message you want to get out from that podium every day.

And, quite frankly, the press is looked upon as somebody that is interfering with our control of our message.  They want to get out their message about this trooper that Tasered the 10-year-old kid. 

ROBINSON:  No.

MATTHEWS:  That‘s an unusual approach two months out from an election.

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON:  ... the message that they‘re going to have to deal with... 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Back to you, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  All right, Chris. 

One thing to Pat‘s point, there‘s an Associated Press story, article, out here that merits mention, because, when the Associated Press commented on the Obama speech last week, I thought it was—merited mention and criticism. 

This is by Ted Anthony.  There‘s a headline, “GOP Contradicts Self on Palin Family.”

And the—the lead of this is: “People, make up your minds.  For two days, the chorus from Republicans on TV news and in the halls of the convention has been resounding:  Back off and let the Palin family be.  Yet, Wednesday found the following scenes unfolding: Sarah Palin‘s pregnant, unmarried 17-year-old daughter and probable future son-in-law stood in a nationally televised, politically packaged airport receiving line to meet and greet the Republican candidate for president”—references to how Piper Palin appeared during that speech, Bristol Palin and her 18-year-old boyfriend, with the conclusion: “Huh?  The Republican message about the Palin offspring comes across as contradictory:  Hey, media, leave those kids alone, so we can use them as we see fit—the analysis of the Associated Press tonight.

And it does dovetail with the idea that, if you do try to isolate a candidate from the media, there will be a certain dichotomy recognized by that same media, and it will comment. 

When we return, we will check in with Howard Fineman at the campaign listening post with reaction from the Obama campaign to—to Governor Palin‘s speech tonight.

And, throughout the day, we have been asking you to text-message us your opinion on the following question:  Does Palin‘s choice—the choice of Governor Palin make you, A, more likely to support Senator McCain, B, less likely, or, C, it makes no difference?

Here are the results.  Nineteen percent said more.  Sixty-six percent said they are less likely to support McCain.  Fifteen percent said it makes no difference.

You‘re watching MSNBC‘s coverage of the 2008 Republican Convention.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Romney, Huckabee, Giuliani, McCain.  On any other night, the biggest names in the GOP, by far, one of them a day away from being his party‘s nominee for president.  But, the biggest name tonight at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, that of Sarah Palin, a name that few knew how to pronounce correctly, at least first and last, before last Friday.  But the Alaska governor staking her claim on the vice presidential nomination in what was, with apologies to Senator McCain, the most anticipated speech of this convention.  The governor taking on the top of the Democratic ticket including on the question of experience. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN ®, VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Governor Palin attacking not only senator Obama and community organizers, but also the so-called Washington elite, as well as the media at large. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN:  Here‘s a little news flash for those reporters and commentators.  I‘m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion, I‘m going to Washington to serve the people of this great country. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Senator McCain making an unannounced appearance alongside his running mate tonight, at least what would have been a surprise before the Democrats did the exact same thing last week in Denver.  The crowd inside the convention hall clearly loving her speech and so too clearly did Senator McCain. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MCCAIN ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Don‘t you think we made a good choice for the next vice president of the United States? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Alongside Chris Matthews in Saint Paul, I‘m Keith Olbermann at MSNBC headquarters in New York, and we‘re joined by “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman, representing our campaign listening post with reaction from the Obama campaign to Governor Palin‘s speech, tonight. 

Howard, I‘m wondering tonight, are they going to start on that idea about community organizers?  Because, Governor Palin and Mayor Giuliani didn‘t just mock them, they insulted them and those people are vital pillars inside lower income communities.  That might come back and bite them, don‘t you think? 

HOWARD FINEMAN, NEWSWEEK:  It might, although they didn‘t respond to that immediately.  I think, the first thing to say, Chris, is that Democrats and Obama strategists were prepared to pounce on Sarah Palin if she obviously had not been ready for primetime tonight.  Well, she was ready for primetime, and so they moved on to plan “B.”

David Axelrod, who is the lead strategist for the Obama campaign said that Sarah Palin had done her speech with snide efficiency, that she attacked with, the phrase that he used was just what I said, she was “snide but efficient,” and in his view, made some unfair attacks that they‘ll have to respond to.  He said that the key thing here, from their point of view, is that neither Sarah Palin nor any of the other speakers so far has spoken directly to the economic interests of the people she claims to be part of. 

I think they‘re conceding the fact that she came across as one of them.  There‘s no doubt and I talked to Mark Mehlman, who‘s one of the top Democratic pollsters in the country, who said, look, she came across as somebody who could identify with the people that the Democrats need to win.  She talked about her relatives were opening a gas station, she talked about her husband being a member of the United Steelworkers.  She clearly can speak to those people, but in the view of David Axelrod she didn‘t say anything tonight to explain how she and John McCain would make their lives better economically and that‘s going to be the Obama counterattack. 

One other thing, Chris—Keith, I think the Obama people and the others have been kind of flummoxed by this.  Sarah Palin—they‘re use to being the phenomenon, now Sarah Palin is the phenomenon and I think they were stunned into silence for a few days and they‘re only now finding their voice.

OLBERMANN:  Was there, is there something in how she handled the subject of the “Bridge to Nowhere” that‘s going to come back and be a can opener to get back into this from the Democratic point of view?  Because, her assessment of what she did regarding the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere,” the Ted Stevens Project and reporting on it, at lease, and I believe some investigations of it don‘t actually line up, not to say which is correct off the top of my head here, but they don‘t seem to line up. 

FINEMAN:  No, I agree with that and I think they‘re just now beginning to focus on it.  They‘re just beginning, really, to examine her record closely.  The Obama campaign sent out one of it‘s first detailed analyses of Sarah Palin‘s record as mayor of Wasilla and as governor.  They now are digging into the records of the proceedings of the city council of Wasilla to took at exactly what she‘s done, what spending she supported or opposed. 

According to them, she left a debt behind in the side in the city, so she‘s really not the budget balancer she claims.  And yes, whether it‘s the “Bridge to Nowhere,” which she at one time sort of supported and now opposes or whether it‘s many other issues, they‘re going to begin to go after her because it‘s clear that she is going to be the main attack person on the campaign. 

She showed tonight that she is ready for the traditional role of the vice presidential candidate that not all contenders are.  She seems to relish it, she wants to go on the attack, she can do it with a smile on her face, she can do it while connecting to people outside the beltway.  That makes her a dangerous heat seeking missile that the David Axelrods of the world are going to have to try to knock down.  So, expect them out of the Obama campaign over the next several days to come at her very hard.  She stepped out, she likes to combat, she basically called herself a pit bull with lipstick and they‘re going to go after her like the pit bull she is, herself. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me join you, Keith.  It seems to me, Howard, that you‘re describing a brand new kind of candidate, someone who is appealing personally, brand new, yet has the chops to go after the established candidates who have been in the field for two years.  We‘re talking about Barack Obama, of course, and Joe Biden who have been campaigning together for a couple of years, now.  Take them from a standing start, this is an incredible job description for a politician. 

FINEMAN:  Well also, Chris, you put your finger on it, since she doesn‘t seem to have that much of a past, she doesn‘t have an easy record for them to counterattack.  I mean, that‘s why they‘re busily combing through the records of the Wasilla City Council looking for things to say.  She‘s in an ideal position to attack with a strong ideological base in her own party.  Two men who have been in politics, one for a long time, one on the national stage in full view of everybody for two years, and she‘s going to do that, they have plans, I think, in the McCain campaign, to have her carry this message more and more. 

Tomorrow night, McCain is not going to be the guy spending all of his time ridiculing Barack Obama.  Tomorrow night is vision night for John McCain.  The ridicule is going to come from somebody that nobody heard of a week ago.  It‘s really remarkable and almost unprecedented in modern American politics. 

MATTHEWS:  How does Joe Biden, her opposite number, go at her on the issues of climate change?  Apparently she‘s a skeptic.  Evolution, apparently she‘s a skeptic.  It puts her on the far right culturally or politically, but can he nail her over there without looking like something of a, well, of a menace? 

FINEMAN:  Well, I think all the Obama campaign is clearly setting a goal for itself, digging into the record and getting it out as fast possible, whether it‘s on the city council, whether it‘s on her role as governor, whether it‘s her views on faith, on the role of intelligent design versus evolution and so forth, they‘re going to have to lay that out on the table with very rapid movements because she‘s moving around the landscape now as the new phenomenon that everybody wants to listen to.  And she gained credibility tonight with her performance which she‘s going to use for the purpose of attacking John McCain, I mean, excuse me—attacking Barack Obama.  She started tonight and she‘s going to continue with the smile on her face in the days and weeks ahead. 

OLBERMANN:  Thought you had a real story right there, Howard.  Howard Fineman, great thanks.  If she was going to attack McCain.  We‘ll talk to you later on. 

And we will talk to you later on.  We‘re trying to take a quick break and then our coverage of the 19 -- 2008 Demo—Republican National Convention—I‘ll just say that in English again -- 2008 Republican National Convention.  Our coverage continues, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN:  For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words, but for a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN:  There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you in places where winning means survival and defeat means death, and that man is John McCain. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  We rejoin you with MSNBC‘s coverage of the 2008 Republican convention.  Mention was made earlier of the teleprompter and some phonetic spellings used by the governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, in her speech last night.  A caveat to that in Governor Palin‘s offense, many of us in television use not only a teleprompter, but phonetic pronunciations even of words that we‘re familiar with and names we‘re familiar with.  In any event, there was another problem, perhaps, with the teleprompter, during Governor Palin‘s speech.  Kelly O‘Donnell has some reporting on that from the floor. 

Kelly, what went wrong other than having to use a teleprompter?

KELLY O‘DONNELL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, I‘ve been in touch with people inside the McCain campaign who talked to Governor Palin after her performance and what they‘re describing to me is that the teleprompter operator rolled over some of the sentences which would require the governor to sort of adlib or improvise to the next section. 

Now, for our viewers who are not familiar with what we‘re talking

about, because a teleprompter is a tool of television and of speech-making

what you see aa scrolling of the script, the speech in this case, and it allows you to look as if you‘re looking right out into the eyes of your audience or into the camera, but it allows you to know what to say next. 

      

So, what they‘re telling me is that she had a technical difficulty and that she had to overcome that.  So, the many ways that you assess her performance tonight, the content, the politics, the performance is part of it.  So, advisers to Governor Palin say that she had to deal with that during the course of delivering this speech, which had all of the pressure. 

Now, part of what may have helped her do well and to not really give away that she was having some difficulty, is that they spent about five hours today, from about 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. rehearsing with a separate podium, not this one behind here.  But, they set up a room where she could work with a prompter and worked behind the podium.  They also, last night, did a session, a complete run-through at the same hour of the evening, it was about 10:30 Eastern, I believe—where she was performing, tonight.  They did it 24 hours in advance to give her a feel for what it would be like to give the speech at that hour of the day. 

And so, these kinds of things can really, you know, mess with your head, if I may use that casual phrase, if you‘re trying to deliver a speech or, Keith, you and I know, if you‘re trying to read a prompter, I‘ve had some real doozies in my day where the prompter wasn‘t doing what I thought it would do, and it can mess you up.  Now, also remember that this is a sensitive issue because Senator McCain is not as comfortable with at teleprompter, is not always as easy going with his performance, there.  So, that‘s the kind of thing they‘re talking about.  So, perhaps a technical difficult overcome by the governor, tonight—Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Second time I ever used one, guy pushed the wrong button, my eight minute script went by, zoop, like that.  It is quite a shock when it‘s not there.  So, a congratulations at least on that level to Governor Palin, if that‘s what she had to face. 

Kelly O‘Donnell on the floor.  Thank you. 

Let‘s get back to Savannah Guthrie at Sarah Palin‘s hometown of Wasilla, Alaska for more reaction from the governor‘s home base—

Savannah. 

GUTHRIE:  Hey Keith, well, there‘s no question about it, about 100 people came to watch this screech together and we were inside a bar, normally you‘d expect a sporting event to be holding the audience‘s attention, but instead, of course, it was the Republican National Convention.  And I think that this crowd here in Wasilla, feels that the town itself has really been under a media microscope, recently.  And you just got the feeling sitting there that they felt so proud of their hometown girl.  I mean, you would hear them saying:  “You go, girl,” “Go Sarah.” They were laughing, they were clapping, they loved it when she went through some of the things she had done as Alaska‘s governor like getting rid of the personal chef and the governor‘s gym, they really ate that up.  So there‘s no question that this was a crowd very proud of their hometown governor, they‘re hometown mayor and very gad she was able to deliver such a strong performance, tonight—Keith. 

All right, Savannah Guthrie wrapping up our—the Alaska portion of our coverage.  Thank you, Savannah. 

GUTHRIE:  Sure. 

OLBERMANN:  Chris.  All right, change in plans.  Savannah can go. 

You can stay where you are, we‘ll be right back after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  We rejoin you with MSNBC‘s coverage of the 2008 Republican convention.  And looking ahead to the second day coverage of the Palin speech, the potential holes in the speech are beginning to become apparent.  We mentioned already the inconsistency on the “Bridge to Nowhere,” whether or not that could be a major problem for Governor Palin.

The dissing of community organizers, which will doubtless be pounced on by the Democrats, and there‘s one other thing, to read something from this speech:  “Our son Track is 19 and one week from tomorrow, September 11, he‘ll deploy to Iraq with the Army Infantry in the service of his country.”  No one is questioning the valor or the sacrifice involved in that. 

But, as was pointed out by the liberal veteran‘s organization, VoteVets.org, generally disclosing the date of deployment of troops into a war zone is against op sec, operational security procedures and is, in fact, in some circumstances illegal.  The location interact to which Track Palin is supposed to be going had, in fact, been leaked to right wing blogs, the exact location and that clearly is a violation of op sec.  There‘s also another point that the assert at VoteVets that Track Palin is also not deploying on the 11th, that‘s the deployment ceremony, so that there‘s some disingenuineness (ph) in saying that he is deploying on September 11.  So, those are three possible avenues of response that may be in your headlines tomorrow, as the second day coverage of the Palin speech happens. 

Let‘s go back out to Chris in Saint Paul—Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you, Keith.  Let‘s go to everybody.  Recap, we‘re in the second day of a truncated three-day Republican National Convention.  How are they doing, Republicans? 

BUCHANAN:  Well, we‘re in the third day.  They‘re doing what happened at the Democratic convention after Hillary and Bill, the Democratic Party had come together, Chris.  It was hard to believe, beginning this convention, that the party would come together as well as it has.  I think John McCain, for the first time, has a united Republican Party behind him.  In addition he‘s got a very exciting factor on his ticket, just as Barack Obama is for the Democrats.  I think we‘re moving toward a really even race, right now.  The Republican Party had a great night. 

MATTHEWS:  And Rachel, is the problem here McCain?  Can he match up to the dramatic moments tonight? 

MADDOW:  That may be the big question is whether or not they can build as much anticipation and enthusiasm and warmth for John McCain as was expressed towards Sarah Palin in that hall, tonight.  I think that the party unity issue on the Republican side is almost never given as much serious consideration as it is on the Democratic side, because of that old maxim about falling in line rather than falling in love.  There was a shadow convention on the other side of the Mississippi River with 10,000 dissident Republicans in it, didn‘t get a whit of coverage, because nobody every worries about Republican Party unity. 

O‘DONNELL:  Yeah, circle the wagons, check, they‘ve done that. 

Recapture the “maverick” label, check, they think they‘ve done that.  Define Sarah Palin, they‘re working on it.  I think in day three, the Republicans are pretty happy. 

MATTHEWS:  How about John McCain, can he match the drama that was created tonight?  Can peak it—crown it I should say, tomorrow night. 

O‘DONNELL:  He will try. 

MATTHEWS:  He may have to try. 

ROBINSON:  We will try to top the drama; I won‘t advise him to do that.  My question is whether he beginning the process of reaching out to the center, reaching out to Independents, reaching out to Reagan Democrats, and trying to get the people that he will really need to win this election.  The red meat has been tossed out to the crowd over the last few days.  Sarah Palin solidifies the base, they clearly love her, but McCain has to go beyond that.  The Republican base does not an election when. 

MATTHEWS:  It seemed to me, Keith, that tonight that they presented the best they could of the governor of Alaska, they offered up the nice parts, the attractive parts and the personal decisions she‘s made in her family and raising her children, taking care of her children in difficult situations.  That‘s all very attractive, regardless of your point of view politically.  What they did not address is what she believes, about America, the kind of country she wants to live in, the kind of country she wants to us live in, the ideology behind her public life.  We don‘t know that yet, as a country, we‘re going to have to find it out over the next couple of months. 

Let‘s go right now back to Keith—that‘s my though. 

OLBERMANN:  Also, I think it‘s imperative to remember here about that tone, there.  You pointed out, yes, there were great and likable aspects in here, but there was sarcasm, there was a dismissal that bordered on—I hate to import this word from the other side of the equation, but bordered on elitism when talking about community organizers and people working at that level of our society that may come back as huge bites and also sort of take away that protective layer against this newcomer who needs to be treated with kid gloves.  If you say you‘re tough and you start swinging, people will swing back and the toughness will be tested.  So, we‘ll see what happens ahead, Chris. 

Tomorrow night, John McCain will accept the normation of the Republican Party.  Our coverage begins at 7:00 Eastern.  For Chris Matthews, in Saint Paul, I‘m Keith Olbermann in New York, goodnight. 

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