Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008 | 8:52 p.m.
Winning the West - RNC
(A team of Sun reporters is at the Republican National Convention this week in St. Paul.)
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The speech is over. The balloons have fallen. “Barracuda,” in honor of Sarah “Barracuda” Palin blared from the sound system as Republican Sen. John McCain and his VP pick took a victory lap to the edge of the stage.
McCain didn’t chit chat here town- hall style as suggested by the platform built into the crowd for tonight. Mostly he ended up reading straight from the teleprompter, and he’s not at his best in a venue like this. But the speech played on his strengths, especially the well known but still compelling stories of his time as a prisoner of war.
The protesters that interrupted the party from the outset never re-emerged.
The crowd seemed pleased.
Definitely it’s a different kind of energy here than at Mile High stadium a week ago when fireworks exploded after Sen. Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party nomination in Denver. Oddly, there’s just one or two American flags here, including the one on the big-screen TVs _ not the thousands we saw waving at the baseball stadium, as my colleague J. Patrick Coolican wrote about last week. But the stands were filled, the crowd is dancing to disco and classic rock. Gold streamers that look a little like fireworks are shot time to time from the stage.
The Republicans got their groove back.
And McCain — and Palin — sent them home tonight on a mission.
“Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight,” McCain said as the crowd drowned out the closing lines of his speech. “Nothing is inevitable here.”