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Friday, September 05, 2008

JOHN McCAIN CALLED ON TO LEAD AMERICA BY TROUBLED GOP; IS HE THE CHANGE? NATIONAL TICKET VISITS ABQ SATURDAY; 6,000 TICKETS GO; PALIN SEEN AS BIG DRAW 

John McCain accepted the presidential nomination of the Republican Party Thursday night only to quickly move to shed the image of that tarnished brand. He invoked "bipartisanship" and his compelling personal story to persuade the American nation that it is he, not Barack Obama, who is best equipped to bring the change being clamored for from coast-to coast.

The Arizona senator's nomination acceptance speech capped a GOP national convention that sparked renewed hope among the party faithful beleaguered by an unpopular president, a war that drags on and an economy that has the middle-class riddled with anxiety. They have turned to the 72 year old McCain, a maverick who has often differed with party orthodoxy, to lure the conservative Democrats and independents they must have if they are to retain power at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. (Transcript and video)

McCain's speech drew mixed reviews from the pundits and analysts, including several here in New Mexico. Former ABQ GOP State Representative Greg Payne, a longtime campaign consultant, shared his thoughts in a late-night phone session.

ON BIPARTISANSHIP

I'm not sure that's what the crowd wanted or what the rank and file needed to hear. He was dead-on about the GOP having lost its way, but I'm not sure this speech was the time or place for that message. In his acceptance speech, Obama really fired up the grassroots of the Democratic Party. I think Sarah Palin did that for Republicans, but not McCain.

McCAIN THE MAN

His personal story was the most compelling part. It's hard to imagine a dry eye in the house as he spoke of his prisoner of war years. After the speech, I had a clear sense that McCain was a patriot, but there was not enough contrast with Obama and his policies.

NEW MEXICO OUTLOOK
Greg Payne
The race is far from over here. McCain will be here Saturday and I look for him to tap into the big military tradition here. As far as strategy, we are looking at 2004--part two. McCain will look to win big in the rural areas--especially the southern congressional district---Obama will take the north handily and the battleground will be the metro area. I sense Obama is ahead here, but I believe Palin has energized the conservative base which is so important to presidential races.

Payne said McCain did not hurt himself by not delivering a real ripsnorter condemning the Dems, but that the convention may be best remembered for the emergence of Alaska Governor Palin. "Win or lose, I think we have only just begun hearing about her," analyzed Payne as we wrapped up our tour of La Politica in this most historic of years.

THE SELL-OUT

Payne is right about Palin energizing the grassroots of the NM GOP--and maybe some independents and Dems, too. The GOP says it has handed out 6,000 tickets to the Saturday night McCain-Palin ABQ Convention Center rally.


SPANISH NORTH ANALYSIS


GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin will play in the Spanish North, argued several e-mailers who differed with Dem analyst Harry Pavlides who argued the opposite on Thursday's blog. He also said Light Guv Duane Denish would be an effective foil for Palin in NM. Here's a sample from the e-mail bag:

"Sarah Palin plays well among the Northern Spanish...They are mothers. Some have children with disabilities. The vast majority are pro life in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nearly all believe that life begins at conception. It is plain nonsense that Denish is a counterpoint to Sarah. Sarah Palin is a hit among Spanish Democrats...Denish is a child of political privilege. In contrast Sarah is self-made...
"

MICHELLE OBAMA IN ABQ


The presidential campaign continued Thursday in Battleground New Mexico as Michelle Obama fired up a crowd at the University of New Mexico Student Union Building. It was the kick-off of the Obama's 30/30 campaign--register 30,000 new voters in 30 days. Pictured in the back row, far left, is NM first lady Barbara Richardson. Next to her in the red top is former ABQ state Senator Janice Paster. Behind Michelle in the front row and wearing all black is Jill Cooper, wife of Dem US Senate nominee Tom Udall. And directly behind Michelle Obama is NM Lt. Governor Diane Denish, who headed up Hillary Clinton's NM campaign, but is now on board with the Obama's.
(Click to enlarge.)

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
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