Palin to Take Center Stage at GOP Party

Ad Feedback - ST. PAUL, Minn. - Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will step to center stage at the Republican National Convention Wednesday to tell delegates how she can help John McCain win the White House.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is set to deliver the convention's keynote address Wednesday.

For more insight on what to expect from Gov. Sarah Palin tonight, watch Allison Kasic with the Independent Women's Voice, following this report.

McCain, 72, and Palin, 44, will both be officially nominated to the Republican presidential ticket Wednesday.

Republicans believe Palin's speech -- to be delivered before a nationwide television audience Wednesday night -- will give voters a chance to see who she is and what she brings to the ticket.

"She made her first impression on Republicans in Ohio on Friday when McCain introduced her," said New Hampshire Republican party chairman Fergus Cullen. "Now she can make a first impression on the rest of the country," he said.

Palin spent Tuesday evening in her hotel suite, working on her speech with campaign aides.

Palin's nomination has excited Republicans across the country, with her reputation for taking on entrenched interests in Alaska and her pro-life stance.

Strong-willed Reformer, Solid Conservative

Palin, who has been in St. Paul since Sunday, will present herself directly to voters as a strong-willed reformer and a solid conservative with appeal to women, including supporters of failed Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The convention returned to normal Tuesday after its opening session was pared down to focus on the approach of Hurricane Gustav. With damage from Gustav relatively light, the convention resumed, with President Bush calling McCain "ready to lead this nation."

Speakers extolled McCain as a war hero and straight-shooting senator while pointing out that Obama lacks the experience needed to lead the nation in these crucial times.

Thompson, a longtime colleague of McCain whose own campaign for the White House ended earlier this year, spoke about the vice presidential nominee.

'A Woman Who Has Actually Governed'

"Washington pundits and media big shots are in a frenzy over the selection of a woman who has actually governed rather than just talked a good game on the Sunday talk shows and hit the Washington cocktail circuit," Thompson said.

But the media focus on Palin's family is expected to continue, with Bristol Palin and the unborn child's father, Levi Johnston, planning to attend Wednesday's session.

Since the public disclosure of Bristol's out-of-wedlock pregnancy, Palin has been at the center of a media storm.

"I haven't seen anything that comes out about her that in any way troubles me or shakes my confidence in her," said former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran unsuccessfully for the party's presidential nomination this year.

The prime spot in Tuesday evening's lineup went to Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, who enthusiastically endorsed McCain and Palin.

'Real Ticket for Change'

"Governor Palin, like [presidential candidate] John McCain, is a reformer. That's why I sincerely believe the real ticket for change is the McCain-Palin ticket," Lieberman said.

"I'm here to support John McCain because country matters more than party. John McCain's whole life testifies to a great truth: being a Democrat or a Republican is important. But it is not more important than being an American," he said.

"When others wanted to retreat in defeat from the field of battle, when Barack Obama was voting to cut off funding for our troops on the ground," Lieberman said, "John McCain had the courage to stand against the tide of public opinion."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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