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Speakers for Thursday's GOP convention

Tim Pawlenty, Tom Ridge and Lindsey Graham are among the major speakers scheduled before Sen. John McCain in Thursday's final session of the Republican National Convention.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Major speakers scheduled for Thursday's final session of the Republican National Convention:

Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota: The two-term governor has stressed reaching out to what he calls "Sam's Club Republicans," a modern version of the blue-collar Reagan Democrats. He first won election in 2002 and narrowly won re-election in 2006, an otherwise bad year for Republicans. An early and loyal supporter of McCain, he was rewarded by being on the short list for running mate.

Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida: Martinez endorsed McCain just days before the Florida primary, offering a vital boost for McCain in the Cuban-American community. Martinez is friends with McCain but initially said he would remain neutral in the pivotal primary. Martinez is a first-term senator who served as President Bush's secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2001 to 2003.

Former Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee: Widely expected to run for president after retiring from the Senate in 2007, he abandoned that bid after recognizing that he was too closely tied to the politics of the unpopular Bush administration. Frist is considering a gubernatorial bid in 2010 in what could be a first step toward resurrecting his national political image.

Carol Mutter: The first woman to reach the rank of three-star general in the U.S. military, the retired Marine is a member of Indiana Veterans for McCain. She said last month, "I have every confidence that John McCain has the experience and the traits we need in a commander in chief."

Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas: After his own bid for the White House ended last year, Brownback quickly endorsed McCain and helped the Arizona senator reach out to social conservatives. Brownback has strong influence in the anti-abortion movement and his support helped ease concerns about McCain's positions on social issues.

Former Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania: Tapped to lead the agency charged with guarding the nation's security after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Ridge is McCain's national campaign co-chairman and had been mentioned as a vice presidential running mate. The two are personally close. Like McCain, Ridge is a Vietnam veteran and was elected to the House in 1982.

Sen. Lindsey Graham Of South Carolina: McCain's ever-present wing man throughout the campaign even as he seeks a second Senate term. Last year, Graham helped McCain push immigration legislation that conservatives said would doom McCain's candidacy. And he was part of the Gang of 14 that frustrated Republicans on federal judicial nominations. He says his role in a McCain administration will be in the Senate, pushing McCain's agenda.

Cindy McCain: Although the wife of the nominee has avoided the spotlight for much of her life, she is set to give her first major speech to American voters. Cindy McCain is the heir to a beer distributorship and a fortune estimated at $100 million. Her humanitarian efforts have included providing disaster aid to Third World countries and assistance to children in need.

Republican nominee John McCain: After 26 years in Congress, most of them in the Senate, the Arizona Republican steps up to accept his party's nomination as president. McCain has been called a maverick for opposing the GOP on some issues, yet he remains a conservative. The son and grandson of admirals, McCain was a Navy pilot during a military career marked by more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.