Republican convention

Republican convention

John McCain

John McCain's speech will end the convention season

Senator John McCain's speech at the Republican Convention in St Paul brought the curtain down on an eventful and dramatic two weeks in the race to be the new President of the United States.

BBC World Service's Ben Sutherland compiled this report. Meanwhile you can give your views here.

End of Section

0400GMT: You can now listen to all 48 minutes of John McCain's speech Listen here. Meanwhile the delegates in the Xcel arena are going home - and so am I.

0335GMT: The associtate editor of the conservative publication Weekly Standard, Matthew Continetti, says the speech was intended to change people's minds - and has done so. "McCain went out of his way to address the concerns of people who have hit economic hard times," he says. "He pledged to reach across party lines, and I think it was very much directed to breaching the partisan divide."

Listen Listen to Matthew Continetti (3 mins 44 secs)

0316GMT:Alex Burns of Politico.com says that in a number of respects, "a lot of it was a John McCain greatest hits speech" - aside from a lack of detail on the economy. Meanwhile Matt Welsh, author of the book McCain: The Myth of a Maverick, points out that McCain first really got going with his "we lost the trust of the voters" line - the point when he started to criticise members of the party he was addressing. "You could tell it was exciting him, it was uniting himself with his maverick image," he says.

Listen Listen to Alex Burns and Matt Welsh (3 mins 27 secs)

0312GMT: On the convention floor, James Coomarasamy finds delegate Kevin Christian. "We are ready for this election," he says. "John McCain had a message for the American people, and I am sure the American people are going to respond."

Listen Listen to Kevin Christian (1 min 41 secs)

0306GMT: "Quiet speech... it was very good on the page, but it didn't seem to move the room," says Time magazine's assistant editor Michael Duffy. Special correspondent Katty Kay points out that the speech "was targeted at the audience outside the room. There was not the red meat we have seen over the last two days."

Listen Claire Bolderson presents the highlights of the speech (5 mins 13 secs)

0305GMT: The speech is over with a rousing finale: "We're Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history." The BBC's North America editor Justin Webb suggests that the crowd "can't hear what he's staying but they don't care. They think there ought to be one rousing moment so they've decide to make one for themselves."

Text commentary of McCain's speech here .

0236GMT: Mr McCain tackles head-on the issue of corruption in Washington - raised earlier in the day with the sentencing of former politicial lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Some Republicans, he says, have been too greedy. But he pledges a new start - "the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan is going to get back to basics."

0225GMT: An anti-war protestor attempts to disrupt Mr McCain's speech. As he is led away, Mr McCain dismisses him as "static from the floor."

0222GMT: There are words of "respect and admiration" for Mr McCain's rival for the presidency, Barack Obama. "There is more that unites us than divide us," he says. "We are fellow Americans, and that's an association that means more to me than any other." But, after paying respect to Mr Obama's achievement in getting the Democratic nomination, he adds: "make no mistake - we are going to win this election."

0216GMT: "In my life, no success has come without a good fight. This nomination has not be any different," Mr McCain says. Immediately he references George W Bush - "I am grateful to the President of the United States for leading us through these dark days," he says - perhaps a surprise, given the efforts of the Democrats to reference Mr McCain and Mr Bush as much as possible. The crowd enjoy it though, repeatedly chanting "USA, USA".

0212GMT: The lights are dimmed - and John McCain walks onto the special-constructed catwalk - designed to cater for his preference for being amongst a crowd, rather than talking from high on stage.

0145GMT: Cindy McCain's speech centres on placing her maverick husband at the heart of the Republican party story, at variously point directly referencing both Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. Despite a couple of stumbles, she has the delegates on their feet when she says, "what I've always thought is that it's good to have a woman's hand on the wheel as well - so how about that, Sarah Palin?"

Listen Listen to Cindy McCain's speech (18 mins 19 secs)

0135GMT: John McCain's family - headed by his wife Cindy - file onto stage. She begins by introducing them as "the seven reasons why John and I are so happy as a family."

0130GMT: Our debate on the evening's events has started on the BBC News website. "This is an American thing and they are wise and free enough to choose the best man," says Robert Grant, in Spain. Carl Coling in LA, however, is critical - "Where is the bipartisanship he promises? He spent a good deal of time bashing Obama and the Democrats. Is this what he means by bipartisanship?" he asks.

McCain speech: Your views

0120GMT: Mr Ridge is stressing the patriotism of Mr McCain - a line that, the BBC's special correspondent Philippa Thomas says, will be heard again and again during the rest of the night. John McCain "thinks not in terms of red and blue [the respective colours of the Republican and Democratic parties] but only in terms of the red, white and blue," Mr Ridge says.

0115GMT: Former governor of Pennsylvania Tom Ridge takes over on stage. He was elected alongside McCain in 1982 and the pair have been friends since. He talks about their joint experiences in Vietnam, and how last year - as McCain trailed far behind in the primaries - "some waited for the white flag of surrender." "We both know I've been through worse", Mr Ridge recalls Mr McCain telling him. Meanwhile, in the background, a back-projected family watches a setting sun.

0110GMT: The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe says that, as he watched Sentator Graham talking about the surge in Iraq, Washington has announced there will be no further troop reductions this year - an indication that the situation in that country remains volatile. He also explains that foreign policy advisors are to travel with Sarah Palin to brief her "almost hourly" as she travels around the country, in an effort to country the accusations that she is lacking expertese in that area.

0100GMT: Senator Lindsey Graham from South Caroline is talking. Significantly, he visited Iraq a number of times with John McCain - they were both high-profile backers of the surge. "Al Qaeda knows the surge has worked... Barack Obama's campaign is built around us losing the war in Iraq," he says.

0035GMT:Mary Fallin of Oklahoma is at the microphone, giving a speech centred on her experience of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, a year after she was elected Lieutenant Governer of the state. "We cannot afford a president who thinks you can negotiate with evil," she says.

0010GMT: The Republican governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty - who himself was in the running for the vice-president nomination - receives a huge cheer from the crowd in his home state. "Our time is calling out for John McCain," he says, highlighting in particular his "bold and aggressive" energy policy.

0005GMT: From the floor, James Coomarasamy says John McCain will be trying to present himself as a maverick. There will also be efforts to portray America's reliance on big oil as a result of liberals in government - "Republicans are trying to say, 'look, for the last two years the Democrats have been in control of Congress.' To a certain extent, the previous six years are being airbrushed out - although some Republicans will admit they are to blame for some of these ills that are being talked about now."

Listen Listen to James Coomarasamy (2 mins 46 secs)

0000GMT: Some sneak excepts of John McCain's speech have leaked out. "Let me offer an advance warning to the old big spending, do nothing, me first, country second Washington crowd: change is
coming," he will say.

2355GMT: People are now flooding into the convention centre - while outside, demonstrations by a group of around 1,500 protestors continue. Adam Brookes, amongst the "enormous security presence" around the building, says they twice tried to "storm" the centre but were turned back. "These protestors are calling themselves anarchists... they have been around all week, and if they really want to make their presence felt, they will try tonight," he adds.

Listen Listen to Adam Brookes (1 min 47 secs)

2340GMT: Former Secretary of State Dr Henry Kissenger gives Matt Frei details of what he believes a McCain foreign policy would look like. It would, he says, have "strong defence of the interests of America and democracy, at the same time a strong commitment to maintaining a world in which issues are not settled by military force or military threat... he's commited to being more peaceful, without losing sight of the necessities of defence and the national interest."

Listen Listen to Henry Kissenger (1 min 45 secs)

2330GMT: Claire Bolderson talks to Adam Kushner, senior writer with Newsweek - who points out that Mr McCain's even being here is "a remarkable comeback story" - in the middle of the primary cycle he was "broke and in last place."

Listen Listen to Claire Bolderson and Adam Kushner (4 mins 1 sec)

2315GMT:James Coomarasamy on the convention floor expects Mr McCain's speech will be kept simple - and his audience will try not to make too much out of any disagreement they may have with its content. "The signs here in the hall say peace," he points out. He speaks to a delegate from Iowa, Matt Reister, who did not vote for McCain in the primaries. "I'm really starting to get excited about John McCain since he selected Sarah Palin, and last night sealed the deal for me," he says.

2310GMT:Mike Gerson, a former speechwriter for George W Bush, says John McCain has a tricky task tonight - which will not be helped by his difficulty with the teleprompter. "Pleasing this audience is not going to serve his political purpose. Due to the unpopularity of the Republicans, John McCain cannot win as a typical Republican," he says. But he is full of admiration for Sarah Palin. "She was expected to be the female Dan Quayle, but she came out like Anne Oakley and Joan of Arc, tilting against the establishment powers."

Listen Listen to Mike Gerson (3 mins 34 secs)

2300GMT: The crowd rise for the pledge of allegiance, led by eight US Olympians - including Britney Hayes, Barbara Higgins, Larsen Jensen and Gale Logan. Country music star Trace Atkins then comes on to sing the national anthem. He is best known for his 2005 hit Honky-Tonk Bandonkadonk.

2250GMT: Delegates are beginning to take their seats before Mike Duncan, chair of the Republican committee, begins the proceedings.

2245GMT: With five minutes to go until the official call to order in St Paul, there's a little light sax on stage, courtesy of Al Williams.

2230GMT: Washington correspondent Katty Kay says that the Democrats are "scratching their heads" in trying to work out how to respond to Sarah Palin. At the moment they would like to ignore her - but they do not want to be accused of sexism or of looking down on her.

Listen Listen to Katty Kay (1 min 5 secs)

2215GMT: North America editor Justin Webb says America is divided in the wake of Ms Palin's speech. "For the first time since George W Bush's fall from political grace - perhaps for the first time since Ronald Reagan - Republicans have a figure on the ticket who excites genuine passion," he says. Her contribution might well be to get right-wing Republicans out and voting - something that could make all the difference in November.

Listen Listen to Justin Webb (1 min 15 secs)

2210GMT: Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, is full of enthusiasm for Sarah Palin following last night. "I think it was an extraordinary selection - it was bold, it was brilliant. The audience ratings were off the charts." (The official figure is 38 million). People in the middle ground "want to see Washington shaken up," Mr Reed adds. And he says of "we have an opportunity to finally shatter the highest glass ceiling... it's long past time." Interestingly, however, he hardly mentions John McCain in his intereview with Matt Frei.

2205GMT: Adam Brookes says that the key to McCain's speech tonight is to reach out to moderate America following the electrifying performance of Sarah Palin last night in rallying the party faithful. "He will look to reassure and unify the many different species of Republican," he says.

Listen Listen to Adam Brookes (27 secs)

2200GMT:Katty Kay, on the conference floor, says the stage has been transformed from a flat affair to a long catwalk. Meanwhile, with the NFL season kicking off tonight, Mr McCain's team have confirmed he will not speak until after the big game between the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins is over.

2150GMT: Cuban-American Senator Mel Martinez is one of the speakers scheduled to appear before Mr McCain's big speech tonight - a reminder of how relations with Cuba feature in Republican politics. While in Florida, Cuban immigrants tend to speak with one voice - but in Spain, where many Cuban exiles end up, the discussion is a bit more nuanced. The World's Gerry Hadden asked two recent arrivals their view of the US presidential elecition.

Listen Listen to Gerry Hadden (5 mins 24 secs)

2135GMT: The World Have Your Say programme has been asking whether the media response to John McCain's pick for running-mate, Sarah Palin, is sexist. Nick in MI certainly thinks it is: "Sexist, partisan, or both is the real question," he says. "Notice how the media did not bother to go digging for "skeletons" in Biden's closet - liberal bias at its best." Arlene, however, disagrees: "sexist? You mean like the Indiana delegation wearing "Hoosiers for the Hot Chick" buttons at the convention sexist?", she says.

What do you think? Have your say.

2130GMT: Claire Bolderson, who has been at the Republican convention in St Pauls all week, has rounded up the story so far.

Listen Listen to Claire Bolderson (12 mins 59 secs)