Wed, September 03, 2008
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Republicans rally behind McCain

2008-09-03 09:24:44 GMT2008-09-03 17:24:44 (Beijing Time) Reuters

SCRIPT:

On the first full night of the Republican National Convention-- after a delay due to Hurricane Gustav, Republicans and one prominent Democrat reintroduced John McCain to the American public -- as a true maverick who has always put his country first.

Speaking from the White House, President Bush cited McCain's life as a former Naval aviator and P.O.W. and his advocacy of the so-called surge of U.S. troops into Iraq as prime examples of why he thinks McCain is best prepared to lead the country.

SOUNDBITE: President George W. Bush saying (English):

"Some told him that his early and consistent call for more troops would put his presidential campaign at risk. He told them he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war. That is the kind of courage and vision we need in our next commander in chief."

Former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson praised McCain's character, his judgment and his leadership and contrasted McCain with his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama.

SOUNDBITE: Former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson saying, (English):

"The respect he is given around the world is not because of a teleprompter speech designed to appeal to American critics abroad, but because of decades of clearly demonstrated character and statesmanship."

Perhaps the most interesting speech of Tuesday night was delivered by Senator Joe Lieberman-- a Democrat who was his party's vice- presidential nominee eight years ago.

SOUNDBITE: Senator Joe Lieberman saying (English):

"I'm here to support John McCain because country matters more than party. I'm here tonight because John McCain is the best choice to bring our country together and lead our country forward."

While Republican leaders cheered the speeches inside the Excel Center, outside not far from the convention center nearly 2,000 protesters once again clashed with police during an anti-poverty march.

Officers dressed in riot gear used tear gas to scatter the demonstrators who were trying to get past security fences..Police say at least three people were arrested.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, I'm Jon Decker for Reuters Television.

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