At the close of the Republican convention's second day, political analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks and historians Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith examine the strengths of the night's speeches and the rally for the GOP party in St. Paul.
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And let's get some closing thoughts on this night from Mark Shields and David Brooks, our convention historian team of Richard Norton Smith, Michael Beschloss and Peniel Joseph. And on the floor is Judy Woodruff.
Judy, let's go to you first. Your thoughts?
Well, Jim, if these Republicans lost the first night of their convention, they've certainly tried to make up for it tonight. We've seen the crowd start out somewhat anxious.
We talked to delegates earlier in the evening. They were a little nervous. They knew they'd lost time. They knew that there had been distractions. There's clearly talk about the Palin nomination.
But after hearing from Laura Bush, from President Bush — this crowd was on its feet for the president, who is deeply unpopular in the country, but popular with the delegates in this hall — then hearing from Fred Thompson, who went out, threw out the red meat I think a lot of these delegates were looking for, went after Barack Obama without naming him, and then called him the most liberal, most inexperienced presidential nominee in American history.
And then we just heard from Joe Lieberman making an appeal not only to Republicans, but to Democrats together, so coming full circle. The delegates, from the looks of tonight, will leave this convention hall, I think, feeling a greater spirit, more united, and probably more confident going into this very, very tough fall campaign after the second night of this convention.