Convention Watch: Cindy McCain Nominates Bush

She had hoped it would be her husband’s name placed in nomination tonight.

Instead, Cindy McCain settled for leading the Arizona delegation at the Republican National Convention, declaring “unanimous” support of George W. Bush from the state’s 30 delegates.

McCain told the convention hall she was “very proud and deeply humbled” to be there. She was tapped to lead the delegation after her husband, Sen. John McCain, dropped his campaign against Bush for the Republican nomination.

Typically, her role would be filled by Arizona Gov. Jane Hull, but she endorsed Bush before the state’s primary — which McCain won decisively. After some political maneuvering, Mrs. McCain was chosen to lead the delegation.

Arizona’s 30 delegates are technically pledged to McCain since he prevailed in the state’s winner-take-all primary. But he released the delegates he won in seven primaries at an emotional ceremony on Sunday and urged them to vote for his former rival.

During the convention’s roll call of states, Mrs. McCain said her and her husband want to “restore honor, dignity and grace to the White House.”

The McCains took one last ride on the “Straight Talk Express” campaign bus to get to the convention in Philadelphia. She described the convention as a chance for her and her husband to reflect on the campaign and make a transition back to normal life.

She said she is proud to have a role at the convention. “This is a wonderful opportunity and a great treat for me,” she told The Associated Press.

—ABCNEWS and The Associated Press

Remembering the Dead

Above the stage where a stream of speakers had been talking of education and taxes, photos of two men flashed on the screen, quieting the delegates roaming the floor.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott walked toward the podium on the first day of the Republican National Convention and instead of looking toward Election Day, he looked back, recalling the dedication of his late colleagues, Paul Coverdell and John Chafee.

“John Chafee was a soft-spoken gentleman — a gentle man,” Lott said today, of the Rhode Island politician who died in office last October at age 77.

Coverdell, who was 61 when he died of a brain hemorrhage about three weeks ago, was “one of my most trusted friends,” Lott said.

The two senators were honored as part of a memorial to notable Republicans, including Sonny Bono and Barry Goldwater, who died since the last convention.

Chafee served 23 years in the Senate and built a reputation for honesty, and for choosing compromise over partisan politics. He spearheaded efforts to protect the environment and expand health care and child care.

“He did the institution proud by reaching across aisles,” said Lott, who then quoted a Bible passage, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Coverdell, in his second term, was the kind of man your mother wanted you to grow up to be, Lott said.

“Paul was one of those people who simply got things done,” the majority leader said.

Some members of the Georgia delegation cried. They left an open seat with Coverdell’s name on it.

—The Associated Press

Head Buttin’ Horse

Makeup obscured the black eye, but the nasty forehead gash showed as John Hoeven got his moment in the national spotlight, two days after a horse rammed him with its bridle.

“The horse and I butted heads,” joked North Dakota’s Republican candidate for governor before giving a two-minute speech to the GOP convention today. “I had to have stitches, and the horse didn’t.”

The accident blackened Hoeven’s left eye and left a 2-inch gash above the eye that took 12 stitches to close.

But Hoeven said he never considered pulling out of his commitment to speak. He was one of a procession of candidates and officials who took turns on stage in the early afternoon.

He said afterward he thought about mentioning the gash during his remarks, but decided against it. His bigger concern was to avoid falling down when he descended the stairs to the convention platform to begin his brief speech.

Convention advisers said speakers are tempted to wave to the crowd as they walk down the stairs, but that is perilous.

“They tell you not to wave as you go down the stairs, or you might end up rolling down the stairs,” Hoeven said. Hoeven’s accident happened Saturday as he was preparing to ride in the “HorseFest” celebration in Taylor, a western North Dakota community. He saddled it and was checking its bridle when the animal swung its head abruptly to the left, ramming a metal bridle piece into his head.

He bandaged the cut and rode in the parade anyway, wrapping a white cloth around his head, even though his wound was bleeding so profusely that blood began trickling down his face.

“It didn’t look completely ridiculous, but it was very visible,” Hoeven said. “I got a lot of, ‘What happened to you?’ and ‘Hey, Hoeven, this is a little tougher than banking, huh?’”

The cut and stitches were obvious during television coverage of Hoeven’s speech. A makeup artist helped mask the purplish eye, but Hoeven said she told him: “There’s no way I’m going to be able to hide those stitches.”

Hoeven is a former Minot banker who worked for seven years as president of the state-owned Bank of North Dakota. He resigned in June to devote full time to his campaign. He is running against North Dakota’s attorney general, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp.

—The Associated Press