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Republicans say they're back on track -

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ELEANOR HALL: The Republican National Convention is back on track after Hurricane Gustav delayed
proceedings for a day, and controversy about Senator McCain's choice of running mate knocked the
McCain campaign off message.

Revelations over the past couple of days about the pregnancy of Governor Palin's 17-year-old
daughter, an ethics investigation into whether she tried to have a former brother-in-law sacked,
and whether she once belonged to the Alaskan Independence Party, have dominated discussion at the

But the planned theme today is "Who is John McCain?" and this included an appearance via satellite
from President George W. Bush.

As John Shovelan reports:

JOHN SHOVELAN: For Republicans the convention was finally underway.

(sound of convention announcement)

JOHN SHOVELAN: And it was time to get back on track selling John McCain with speakers painting
portraits of him as a war hero, public servant, and maverick.

Relegated to only a bit part President Bush appeared from the White House via satellite and spoke
only briefly, for about eight minutes.

GEORGE W. BUSH: When the debates have ended and all the ads have run and it is time to vote,
Americans will look closely at the judgement, the experience, and the policies of the candidates,
and they will cast their ballots for the McCain-Palin ticket.

JOHN SHOVELAN: The President didn't make it to Minneapolis-Saint Paul because tomorrow he plans to
visit southern Mississippi. The McCain campaign didn't press the President to appear personally.

They are fighting the Democrat branding that a McCain presidency would be what they call 'McSame',
another four years of the Bush administration policies.

Another dominant administration figure who hasn't appeared at the convention is the Vice President
Dick Cheney.

In effectively passing the baton to Senator McCain, President George W. Bush invoked the attacks of

GEORGE W. BUSH: We live in a dangerous world. And we need a president who understands the lessons
of September 11th, 2001.

That to protect America, we must stay on the offence, stop attacks before they happen, and not wait
to be hit again. The man we need is John McCain.

JOHN SHOVELAN: As President Bush addressed the convention from the White House, Republicans were
defending Senator McCain's vice presidential running mate, Governor Sarah Palin.

First Lady Laura Bush applauded the choice.

LAURA BUSH: The Republican Party has a very exciting ticket, a real American hero John McCain, and
a strong executive and proven reformer, Governor Sarah Palin.

JOHN SHOVELAN: The McCain campaign has lost ground over its choice of running mate. Until last week
the campaign was clearly a referendum on Barack Obama and his fitness for office.

It's now shifted focus to McCain-Palin. Several times today Senator McCain had to defend his

JOHN MCCAIN: I just want to repeat again how excited I am to have Sarah Palin, the great Governor
of Alaska as my running mate.

America is excited and they're going to be even more excited once they see her tomorrow night, and
I'm very, very proud of the impression that she's made on all of America and I'm looking forward to
serving with her.

JOHN SHOVELAN: Governor Palin will address the convention tomorrow night.

John Shovelan, Washington.