Republicans were still recasting and reorganizing their convention programs Wednesday morning, shaping a primetime convention that would formally introduce embattled vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and sharpening the attack on Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama.
“From a message perspective, we are getting a little more political tonight,” McCain campaign chairman Rick Davis told reporters Wednesday morning.
“You will see a sharper contrast in [many of the] speeches tonight in how John McCain will go forward,” Davis added.
In particular, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will highlight the “contrasts between John McCain and those of his opponents” — usually convention-speak for sharply criticizing their opponent or the opposing party.
GOP also-rans former Govs. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee will speak as well during the 9 p.m. ET hour.
“[Huckabee and Romney are] two guys who comported themselves very well in the primary and have become good friend with the senator this election. They will address important issues that affect everyday families,” Davis said.
The core themes of the night, according to GOP Chairman Mike Duncan and Davis, will be that of prosperity and reform. They said they hope the night will outline the changes that a President McCain would bring to Washington and the economic policies that would help Americans.
Key speakers early in the night include former high-tech CEOs Meg Whitman of eBay and Carly Fiorina of Hewlett-Packard.
But the main draw of the evening is clearly vice presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Palin, who has faced questions on everything from the pregnancy of her 17-year-old daughter to purported investigations into her handling of state matters, toured the Xcel Energy Center Wednesday morning, checking out the scene of what will clearly be the most significant speech of her career.
A USA Today report today previewed Palin’s address and spoke with McCain’s senior strategist Steve Schmidt about what he expects to be the major themes of the talk.
“She’s going to talk to the delegates about the future of this country, about how to reform broken institutions of government,” Schmidt told the paper. “People will hear about her reform-and-change message… She’ll also communicate directly to the American people who she is.”