Kwame Holman is on the Convention floor, talking to delegates about Bob Dole's big acceptance speech. Praise and admiration flow unchecked, and no one seems the least bit worried.
KWAME HOLMAN: Add a balloon drop and this is what the floor of the Republican National Convention is expected to look like tonight. Before the long nominating roll call of the states last night, friends, family, and colleagues took turns praising Bob Dole. Wife, Elizabeth, left the podium to roam among the delegates.
ELIZABETH DOLE: Bob Dole's fellow Senators elected him six times to be their leader because they know he's honest, trustworthy, a man of his word, his word is his bond, and they know he has exceptional leadership skills. And isn't that exactly what we want in the President of the United States?
KWAME HOLMAN: Most of the delegates here don't need to be sold on Bob Dole, but in certain states, delegates will have a selling job to do when they get home.
DELEGATE: New Hampshire, home of the first in the nation primary now and forever.
KWAME HOLMAN: New Hampshire Republicans voted for Pat Buchanan in the nation's first primary. Delegate Peter Spaulding says those Republicans can be turned around.
PETER SPAULDING, New Hampshire Delegate: Well, I think they're going to come on board, coupled with his choice of Jack Kemp and his economic package, I think that's going to help in New Hampshire, plus we're going to get an added boost because it looks like after this convention, Bob Dole is going to come to New Hampshire and visit up on Lake Winnapasauki for a few days during the Democratic convention.
DELEGATE: Delaware, we're the first state to ratify the Constitution.
KWAME HOLMAN: In Delaware's primary, Republicans, including Jan Ting, voted for Steve Forbes, who then got the endorsement of Jack Kemp.
KWAME HOLMAN: The man who endorsed Steve Forbes joined the Dole ticket.
JAN TING, Delaware Delegate: Absolutely. I was very enthusiastic about that, and I think what we see happening here is a merger of Steve Forbes' message with Bob Dole's message, and I think it's very healthy for the party, and I think it augers well for November elections.
DELEGATE: The state of Illinois, the home state of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln.
KWAME HOLMAN: But four years ago, Illinois went for Bill Clinton. Jack Schaffer says that will change in November.
JACK SCHAFFER, Illinois Delegate: Well, I think you have to look at why they voted for Bill Clinton last year, or four years ago. I think it was because of some of the things he's promised, and the bottom line is that he's broken his word on everything he promised, the middle income tax cut, balancing the budget, you name it, he's broken his word on the promise, and I think they have to look at what Bob Dole's record is and what he says he's going to do. And the fact that in the past when he's said he was going to do something, he got the job done.
DELEGATE: The State of California, proud host of this historic convention.
KWAME HOLMAN: California, which also went for Clinton four years ago, is considered the No. 1 battleground state. Twenty-two year old Diana Acompo says Dole's promise of a tax cut will attract the state's younger voters.
DIANA ACOMPO, California Delegate: Absolutely. I mean, when we're going to be going out in the work force for the very first time and when you go into an interview and they say, well, this is your gross income, and you're like great, wow, and then you get your check, and you realize what your net income is after they take out taxes, that is really an eye opener. And I think that issue alone will bring people over to the Republican side.
DELEGATE: Arkansas, the natural state, and the land opportunity.
KWAME HOLMAN: What's it going to take, if it's possible, for Bob Dole to carry the home state of the President?
RUTH WHITAKER, Arkansas Delegate: I think it's going to take all of the conservative Democrats coming forth and voting for what the Republican Party represents.
JANET HUCKABEE, Arkansas Delegate: I really think that probably the tax cut is going to be--is going to play a really important role. People are tired of every day going to work and working hard and then losing half of what they make to taxes. And I think that's going to be a real important factor.
KWAME HOLMAN: Bob Dole will accept his party's nomination this evening and is expected to speak for about 40 minutes.
PETER SPAULDING: Well, I think he's going to be giving us a vision of where he wants to take not just the campaign but also where he wants to take the country. As we heard from some of the other speakers, winning isn't enough. It should be a winning attitude and be proven that we should be winning.
KWAME HOLMAN: What does he need to say to get Arkansans, independent, maybe Democratic and Republican voters in the South to come out and vote for him?
JANET HUCKABEE: I really think it's important that Bob Dole talks about Bob Dole and what he can do, and in order for us to win and come out on top not to tear someone else down but to really push ourselves and our party and what Bob Dole is all about.
DIANA ACOMPO: I think there really needs to be a focus on the fiscal issues. I really believe that the fiscal issues, more than any other issue, reaches across every barrier. It affects everyone. It affects the hard working, taxpaying middle America. It affects a college student who is trying desperately to make ends meet. It's going to put money back into their pocket. It's going to help a single mother with a child, give her more money, so that she can improve her family's living conditions. And that's what I'd like to hear from Bob Dole.
KWAME HOLMAN: Whatever Bob Dole does say, they'll be words carefully chosen. He has spent the last four months working on his acceptance speech.
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