I was surprised to receive a call tonight at 6:45 saying a last-minute phone conference with the John McCain campaign would be in 15 minutes at 7:00 p.m.
The call went out to Republican National Convention delegates nationwide and featured McCain for President campaign manager Rick Davis, McCain Senior Advisor Charlie Black, and Gary Bauer, President of Our American Values. In 30 minutes they were able to update about the campaign and take questions from four delegates ... one from New York City, one from Oregon, one from Idaho, and the fourth was simply identified as "Wayne."
Charlie Black led off by thanking everyone for joining the call, and said they were looking forward to seeing everyone in Saint Paul for the convention.
He then turned it over to Rick Davis who said he was very excited about the upcoming convention and that he knew it would be a good convention for Republicans.
Mr. Davis emphasized that we couldn't be in a better position going into our convention because the American public is getting a good dose of liberalism from the Democrats. Meanwhile, the polling data is looking very good for John McCain and has continued to pick up during the Democrat convention.
With a McCain War Room right outside the convention center in Denver, he said the McCain people have been all over cable TV, and that Gov. Mitt Romney and Gov. Rudy Giuliani, who were willing to go to Denver and put themselves in the "slingshot," as he put it, were doing a great job of carrying our message.
John McCain is currently in Phoenix working on his acceptance speech, and Cindy McCain just returned from a trip to Georgia the Country (not Georgia the state) where she accompanied an aide group carrying supplies.
Rallies leading up to the convention start will help drive momentum, and after some nuts-and-bolts information about being delegates, he turned it back over to Charlie Black.
Mr. Black said we are dead even in the polls which is a surprise to the Democrats because they thought they would be going into their convention with at least a 10-point advantage. Even the swing states are doing well with most either even or leading a bit.
With four days of TV coverage to present John McCain, his family, his platform and issues to America, the delegates will play a big part in helping to get out the message. He emphasized the platform, the themes each night, and expanded on issues like winning the war in Iraq, Russia, Iran, pork barrel spending, keeping taxes low, cutting taxes as possible, and drill here, drill now with emphasis on more energy resources including nuclear and alternative power.
He then introduced Gary Bauer as a good friend of John McCain's and a long-time supporter.
Mr. Bauer said it was a pleasure talking with the delegates. He shared that he has been in Saint Paul for two days helping to work on the Republican Party Platform, and that he had breaking news. While some years had been a battle with heated debates over the platform, this year was encouraging with a platform on every major principle solidly in line with conservatives including lowering the tax burden, less government interference, strong defense, pro-family, and pro-life. Those planks, he said, were not written working hand-in-hand with the delegates to put together a solid, conservative platform that Ronald Reagan would have been proud of.
John McCain has a 25-year record of being pro-life, he said, and while he has not always agreed with McCain on every issue over the year -- and he probably wouldn't agree with him on some in the future -- John McCain was able to reach independents and Reagan Democrats because he is a leader.
During the question-and-answer period, the question asked by a caller from New York City was interesting. It was more of a statement ... he said, if I heard this correctly, that if John McCain were to take 28% of NYC, he would carry New York State. This caller predicted McCain would carry both because he is strong in New York. Apparently, on Super Tuesday, John McCain made a prediction that he would carry NYC on election day ... and this caller felt that was going to happen.
Before ending the call, Gary Bauer said he has been around Saint Paul the past two days wearing his GOP badge. While Minnesota hasn't gone Republican in a long time, he has been stopped by working-class people on the street who have told him that, for the first time in their lives, they are considering voting Republican and that they like John McCain.
The call ended after 30 minutes with Rick Davis saying he looked forward to having a great convention and seeing everyone in Saint Paul.