Opinion: John McCain in the spotlight: Can he outshine Sarah Palin?

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With his pick of Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain unquestionably shored up his standing with the Republican base -- any doubt about that was removed by the unbridled enthusiasm she sparked among GOP conventioneers Wednesday night.

Now, McCain faces a new challenge: Delivering a nomination acceptance speech this evening that generates as much buzz as Palin’s did.

He will benefit from low expectations; traditional oratory never has been his forte. And the set at the convention hall in St.Paul is being redesigned to simulate the town-hall milieu in which he is more comfortable.

McCain takes center stage shortly after 10 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. PDT), following the showing of a video about him.


Here’s the list of other speakers for the conclave’s last night:

8 p.m. EDT: Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee.

9 p.m. EDT: Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina (one of McCain’s best buddies).

9:30 p.m. EDT: Former Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, Cindy McCain.

-- Don Frederick