Republicans Tout McCain's Service; GOP Convention Distracted by Palin Revelations

"What, after all, is a Democrat like me doing at a Republican convention like this?" Lieberman said. "The answer is simple. I'm here to support John McCain because country matters more than party. I'm here tonight because John McCain is the best choice to bring our country together and lead our country forward. I'm here because John McCain's whole life testifies to a great truth: Being a Democrat or a Republican is important. But it is not more important than being an American.

"What you can expect from John McCain as president is precisely what he has done this week: which is to put country first," Lieberman said. "That is the code by which he has lived his entire life, and that is the code he will carry with him into the White House. I have personally seen John over and over again bring people together from both parties to tackle our toughest problems we face."

In a moving tribute to McCain's military history, Lt. Col. Orson Swindel, a fellow prisoner of war who served with McCain, acknowledged 23 fellow prisoners of war who were in the convention hall.

At one point, Cindy McCain's eyes welled up with tears as Wes Gullett, a friend of the McCain's, led his adopted daughter, Nicki, onstage and told the crowd how Cindy McCain rescued his daughter and McCain daughter Bridget from Mother Theresa's orphanage in Bangladesh.

"Cindy McCain saved those babies 17 years ago, and those girls have grown up to be beautiful young women," Gullett said.

"Nikki, we're proud you're our American girl," Gullett said to his daughter in front of the crowd. "And we're proud of Cindy McCain, who brought you and Bridget home to this great country. I think America will be an even better place with Cindy, and her husband, John, in the White House."

Palin: 'Homerun' VP Pick?

Yet it was Palin who dominated headlines Tuesday.

The McCain campaign insist there have been no surprises and that Palin completed a 70-page questionnaire and was interviewed "for hours" by McCain lawyers last month.

In an interview with, McCain surrogate South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham defended McCain's choice of Palin as his vice presidential nominee.

"What if John had said, 'I'm sorry but I can't pick you because of this'? Then people would have lost respect for him," Graham said of Palin's daughter's pregnancy. "None of us want 17-year-old pregnancies but how you handle it is the important thing."

Of the media focus now on Palin's personal life, Graham said, "This reinforces she has a loving family and handles adversity well."

Asked whether she was the right VP pick for the Republicans in light of the disclosures this week, Graham said, "We're trying to change things in Washington. If she can do for Washington what she did for Alaska -- homerun pick."

The White House on Tuesday deflected questions about the Palin disclosure.

"President Bush, having talked to him just quickly about it [Monday], believes that this is a private family matter, and that the family obviously loves their daughter very much, and that this baby, when it is born, will have the full love and support of a very loving family. And the president I don't think will have any other comment on it," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Tuesday.

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