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Thursday 17 Aug 2017 | 21:53 | SYDNEY
Thursday 17 Aug 2017 | 21:53 | SYDNEY

McCain's speech

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5 September 2008 16:10

Reading a transcript of John McCain's acceptance speech to the GOP convention, I was fairly underwhelmed until the biographical section at the end. It seemed like Republican boilerplate, and almost entirely without the partisanship of yesterday's speakers. This suggests McCain/Palin will conform to a pretty standard model of presidential campaigning, with the running mate launching most of the attacks, and the presidential candidate being more conciliatory.

Watching extended highlights of McCain's speech, I was not quite prepared for how halting and uncomfortable his delivery was. McCain is reputed to be a weak formal speaker, but even by those standards it looked bad. He routinely puts the emphasis on the wrong word in a sentence and often smiles awkwardly. Near the close of the speech, at a point which the crowd recognised as a moment of real uplift ('Stand up, stand up, stand up, and fight'), McCain never really pushed the message home, barely raising his voice above the roar of the crowd.

It's almost as if he's embarrassed by the sheer theatre of it, and that is probably to his credit.

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