Cindy McCain walked onstage accompanied by the whole McCain crew (minus the nominee), and introduced the younger McCain generation to the convention crowd — including adopted daughter Bridget, who rarely makes public appearances. (Mrs. McCain brought the infant Bridget, who needed cleft palate surgery, to the US from Mother Teresa's orphanage. The child was famously caught in the political crossfire during the 2000 South Carolina primary when pro-Bush operatives circulated rumors that John McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child. While her older sister Meghan is a blogger and prominent force on the campaign trail, Bridget — who is still in high school — mostly stays out of the spotlight.)
She spoke without a podium from a stage adorned only with teleprompters, using a wireless mic (and looking phenom as always in a turquoise suit). Her performance wasn't rousing, but it was comfortable and classy, focusing mainly on her husband's character and her admirable record of helping those in need. She stressed that service to others comes from personal efforts, not government assistance:
But I have also seen the resilience of the American people. I've heard stirring stories of neighbor helping neighbor, of cities on one end of the country offering help to fellow citizens on the other.
Despite our challenges our hearts are still alive with hope and belief in our individual ability to make things right if only the Federal government would get itself under control and out of our way.
Mrs. McCain's biggest applause line came when she brought up VP nominee Sarah Palin after describing her husband's self-sacrifice and steadfastness:
You can trust his hand at the wheel.
But you know what, I've always thought it's a good idea to have a woman's hand on the wheel as well.
So how about Governor Sarah Palin!
John has picked a reform-minded ... hockey-mommin' ... basketball shootin' ... moose huntin' ... fly-fishin' ... pistol-packing ... mother of five for vice president. And as a fellow hockey mom myself and a western conservative mother, I couldn't be prouder that John has shaken things up as he usually does!
When Cindy McCain wrapped up, the arena's speakers blasted rock music into the hall. And after watching Mrs. McCain's rather heavy speech (Georgia, Rwanda, Bangladesh...) so intently, the audience seemed almost relieved to dance and reinvigorate their energy in preparation for the main event: John McCain himself.