(photo credit: AP)
The Republican party found a rallying cry to energize its activists Wednesday night, as thousands of GOP faithful cheered Sarah Palin's acceptance of the vice presidential nomination in a speech filled with attacks on Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama for his pedigree, oratory and stance on issues including Iran.
Palin followed a rousing warm-up by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who himself challenged John McCain for the nomination the latter will accept tomorrow night. He too lambasted Obama for his stance on the Middle East, particularly Israel.
Alluding to Obama's stated willingness to personally meet with Iranian leaders as president, Palin charged, ""Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay; he wants to meet them without preconditions. Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America; he's worried that someone won't read them their rights."
Her words were greeted by a chorus of appreciative laughter, as the cheering throng held signs praising 'Palin power' and 'Hockey moms for Palin.'
Palin got one of her best reactions of the night when, noticing their support in the crowd, she told them that "the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull" came down to one thing: "lipstick."
Like Joe Biden, who emphasized the issue of energy independence in his speech accepting the Democratic vice presidential nomination, Palin also focused on the need for more energy sources.
"To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of world energy supplies, or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia, or that Venezuela might shut off its oil deliveries, we Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas," said the Alaskan governor. "Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America's energy problems - as if we all didn't know that already. But the fact that drilling won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all," she said.
Obama's campaign spokesman Bill Burton responded afterward with a statement calling Palin's speech "well delivered" but charging that it "was written by "George Bush's speechwriter and sounds exactly like the same divisive, partisan attacks we've heard from George Bush for the last eight years."
Giuliani also delivered a cutting attack on the Democratic nominee, accusing him of flip-flopping on the issue of Jerusalem and drawing a "moral equivalence" between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
"When speaking to a pro-Israeli group, Obama favored an undivided Jerusalem, like I favor and like John McCain favor it. Well, he favored an undivided Jerusalem - don't get too excited - for one day, until he changed his mind," Giuliani said to supportive boos from the audience, which turned to laughter when he added: "Well, I'll tell you, if I were Joe Biden, I'd want to get that VP thing in writing."
He also delivered broadsides at the party as a whole, which held its convention last week in Denver.
"For four days in Denver, the Democrats were afraid to use the words 'Islamic terrorism," he said, with responsive booing from the crowd. "I imagine they believe it is politically incorrect to say it. I think they believe it will insult someone. Please tell me, who are they insulting if they say 'Islamic terrorism?' They are insulting terrorists."
He continued by saying that the Democrats had also rarely mentioned the attacks of September 11.
"They are in a state of denial about the biggest threat that faces this country. And if you deny it and you don't deal with it, you can't face it," he said. "John McCain can face the enemy. He can win, and he can bring victory for this country."
McCain deputy foreign policy advisor Kori Schake also emphasized McCain's commitment to fighting terrorism in a briefing she gave to foreign correspondents earlier in the day.
When asked about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and whether he supports the current efforts of the Bush administration, she said, "Senator McCain is a strong supporter of peace in Palestine and a strong supporter of negotiations to get there."
But she cautioned that "a negotiated peace, an enduring peace between Israelis and Palestinians, requires a partner on the Palestinian side that is "both willing and able to carry out the agreements, and I think there are some reasons for concern on that."
She also repeated McCain's assertion that "a "nuclear-armed Iran would be an unacceptable danger for us all."
McCain is expected to emphasize his foreign policy credentials and touch on many of the same issues during his acceptance of the party's presidential nomination Thursday evening.
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