Republican Presidential Nominee John McCain Speaks Tonight

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Arizona Senator John McCain will accept the Republican presidential nomination tonight at the party's convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Last night, McCain's running mate Sarah Palin addressed the convention. KPCC's Patt Morrison is in St. Paul and told Morning Edition host Steve Julian that Palin's speech pleased delegates.

Patt Morrison: Well, being at the hotel where the California delegation's staying, I was here when they came back on their buses, spilled out of the buses. They were high fiving each other. They thought it was a terrific night and that Rudy Giuliani, for once, was outdone in fervor and vigor by Sarah Palin's speech.

Steve Julian: It stole the show. It stole the week, didn't it?

Morrison: The Sarah Palin story, or a variety of stories, stole the week. This is kind of the capper on a week's worth of stories, and now we have John McCain's speech tonight to come in and bind up whatever wounds remain within the Republican Party, to unite it as it goes forth in the campaign as we heard about the Democrats doing last week.

Julian: Now, the Democrats put Barack Obama in Invesco Field, the football stadium; what do they plan to do with John McCain? Anything different than with Sarah Palin last night?

Morrison: Not that we hear. I think we're going to have the traditional stage appearance, and the balloons, and the confetti that will be falling, and then all of the families of both of the candidates will come out on stage. And it will be a Republican family welcome, portrayed as the American family to the watching audience.

Julian: Talk about protesters there.

Morrison: There have been a lot of concerns about how aggressive the police have been here in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The ACLU says there's a good possibility it'll file a civil rights lawsuit for wrongful arrest, very much like those in 2004 in New York, where New York had to pay out $2 million.

One of the examples that's cited is that, of all the felony arrests that have been made so far, 38 percent have been dismissed, have been thrown out. A couple of journalists have been caught up in the sweep, and there are accusations that police really aren't differentiating. They're just picking up anybody who, to their eye, seems to be in the line of protest fire.

Julian: Patt, what do we know about the antiwar demonstration planned for today?

Morrison: There's a big demonstration by the so-called "Anti-War Committee." It's a local group. It's going to march to the Xcel Center tonight as John McCain is about to speak, and trying to take some of the thunder and some of the attention away from what's going on inside. It has a history of civil disobedience. There's expectations that more of the same will be planned, but how that's going to manifest itself, we'll have to see it when it happens.

Julian: This is the fourth day of the convention, Patt. Sum it up for us.

Morrison: I think the convention got off, as everybody knows, to a very wobbly start, because nobody knew quite what to make of a day one that was supposed to be full of political speeches that became a hurricane watch and a relief effort here in St. Paul.

And so they tried to make up for it by speeding up the schedule a little, and picking up the pace. You heard from the speeches last night that, instead of some of this vigor being spread over the course of four days, they've had to truncate it to three days, but they've tried to make up for it.

Julian: Patt Morrison, thanks very much.

Morrison: Pleasure, Steve.