I went from "I'm not watching" to "I'm liveblogging" in the space of a minute. Let's see what ol' Straight Talk has for us.
11:04 PM: Very, very good speech. Much better, and much more effective than Palin I thought. This was the start of McCain's move to the center, and I thought he evoked the themes that attracted many independent Americans to him in the first place.
11:03 PM: He better end here, because this "stand up and fight" bit is a great concluding material.
11:02 PM: Maverick spelling of "mavrick" in the crowd, I see.
11:00 PM: As much as I think the story of McCain's background (not just in Vietnam, but as a "maverick reformer") is effective -- and I think it is -- there is an element of self-aggrandizement to the way he tells it that can come off as self-serving. Far more than Obama ever does, McCain focuses a lot on telling his audience that he is the shiz-nit.
10:58 PM: It's a harrowing story. But why can't John McCain say the word "torture"?
10:56 PM: I didn't know John McCain was a POW. How interesting.
10:51 PM: That bit about how John McCain hated war was quite good. He's not going to harness the dedicated anti-war set, obviously, but I can see that passage as being very appealing to independents.
10:47 PM: I'm being critical, but this is a solid speech. Quite policy oriented, which is nice given how little McCain has wanted to talk about policy. His speaking style is a little bit stilted, but it's not terrible and no worse than normal. He was never going to match-up to Obama on the speaking front, so as long as he doesn't actively hurt himself, I think his campaign will be happy.
10:45 PM: I love how the camara panned to the "environmentalist for McCain" poster just as he's talking about all the places he'd like to drill. And the chant of "drill, baby drill" goes up again.
10:44 PM: No, I really thought I heard it again. It's whenever he attacks teachers or teachers' unions.
10:43 PM: Did I just hear boos on his education plan? It was probably just me.
10:42 PM: Education is the new civil rights issue? Dangerous territory....
10:41 PM: Really good on free trade. New jobs "that won't go away" is a good line. He's really hitting this plan quite well -- and it's the type of concern that plays in a lot of swing states.
10:39 PM: Second highest business tax rate in the world? Did not know that, and it's an effective fact to drop in. Assuming it's true, rather than another "I opposed the bridge to nowhere" moment.
10:38 PM: And again with the booing. Is this really the image Republicans want to project?
10:36 PM: "Latina daughter of migrant workers" is one of God's children. Good line -- but notice how tepid the applause was? Some folks are thinking "anchor baby..."
10:35 PM: He's laying into Republicans now. Again, smart move. The base is there thanks to Palin -- now's the time to move to the middle.
10:33 PM: Interesting choice. The focus on special needs children is now a theme of the GOP convention between McCain and Palin's speeches, and I think it's a very effective one. It's not normal GOP fare, and it drives the social conservatives wild with delight, while also appealing to independents. Definitely both his and his running mate's strongest moment.
10:32 PM: McCain is saying he's done this and that, but with very few specifics. The only real specific examples he's given of what he has done and will do are that he supported the surge, and that he'll veto that first pork bill. With regards to the rest, it's just rhetoric ("I'll fight for you", "I took on corruption", etc.), and a question of whether independents believe him or not (or more importantly, think he'll still fight for it in his new, GOP-friendly incarnation).
10:30 PM: They will walk among the people, and pass laws, and you shall know them by their craft...thou shalt not suffer a pork-barreler to live!
10:27 PM: Again, does McCain really think he can beat Obama in a "change" themed election? Maybe he doesn't see another route to go. But this is a danger sign.
10:26 PM: McCain shouldn't have to be using his speech time to defend Palin. Did Obama have to defend Biden? That's a sign McCain still thinks she has weaknesses.
10:24 PM: Yes, this is turning into a problem. Every time McCain tries to acknowledge that there are issues that need to be dealt with in America, the crowd starts chanting "USA! USA!" It's very incongruous.
10:23 PM: Another protester made it through. Well timed, too -- it made it sound like the crowd was booing the idea that some people are having bad times.
10:21 PM: Nice brief outreach to Obama. But doesn't it ring hollow after Palin's speech? I guess that depends on the route McCain takes tonight.
10:20 PM: The Xcel Center is not small -- but the memory of Obama's outdoor speech makes it look like a hovel.
10:19 PM: Awww... I like Roberta McCain.
10:17 PM: He starts off by thanking President Bush. Wise move, assuming he is never mentioned again.
10:16 PM: And the crowd goes wild for the US Olympics team!