Republicans nominate McCain for president while Minnesota delegates cheer Palin's performance

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Republicans have nominated Sen. John McCain for president, handing the senator the prize that eluded him eight years ago.

The late-night vote was conducted after vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin addressed the Republican National Convention. For more than two and a half minutes delegates to the Republican National Convention roared in a standing ovation to welcome Sarah Palin to their ticket.

They rose to their feet several times again and again in wild applause as Palin talked about her motivation for getting into politics and about why John McCain, not Barack Obama, should be elected the next president of the United States.

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GOP Minnesota delegate Angela Erhard
Minnesota GOP delegate Angela Erhard of Eden Prairie sits in the crowd during day three of the 2008 Republican National Convention.
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

"It reminds me of the song -- woman hear me roar," Palin said.

Minnesota delegate Angela Erhard, of Eden Prairie, nodded along in agreement with a wide smile as Palin wowed the convention.

"She's really got it together," Erhard said.

Erhard said Palin told people who she was, all the while promoting McCain.

Erhard said she is convinced Palin's has a down-to-earth style that will strengthen the GOP ticket.

"Because people are looking for somebody with this much common sense to back up John McCain," Erhard said.

Minnesota delegate Brion Finlay of Brooklyn Park
Minnesota GOP delegate Brion Finlay of Brooklyn Park during day three events at the 2008 Republican National Convention.
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

Delegate Brion Finlay agrees. Finlay said he liked hearing Palin's social and fiscal conservative positions, but also the approach she used to pick apart the Democratic competition.

"I think she delivered a fantastic speech," Finlay said. "She delivered a few great lines targeted at Obama that really resonated and made me laugh."

"Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska I was mayor of my home town," Palin said in her speech. "And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves..."

Palin went on to say a small town mayor is like a community organizer except that you have responsibilities, a dig at Obama's community organizing experience.

Minnesota delegate Jennifer Wilson of Hermantown
Minnesota GOP delegate Jennifer Wilson (right) of Hermantown during day three of the 2008 Republican National Convention.
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

While so many politically active Americans knew little, if anything, about Palin prior to McCain announcing his VP pick last week, Minnesota delegate Jennifer Wilson of Hermantown said she actually had Palin on her short list for VP.

Wilson said she couldn't have been happier with Palin's convention performance, an address political commentators had been building up as the speech of Palin's life. Wilson described Palin at the podium as inspirational, dynamic and powerful.

"We need to have faith in the American people and I think that's what Sarah delivered tonight," Wilson said. "We as Americans can accomplish anything we set our minds to and we're going to do it with Sarah and John McCain."

Delegate Carlton Crawford of Minneapolis said he was struck by the ease at which Palin navigated the issues without becoming bogged down. Crawford also said there's no mistaking that Palin knows what the job of a vice presidential candidate is.

"She didn't do what I normally expect from new candidates on the stage which is they give the laundry list of positions they believe in in order to get basically the reaction of various idealogical camps in the party," Crawford said. "She knew what her job was immediately. She works for Senator John McCain and her job is to back Senator McCain up and make sure that he's in a position where the American people recognize that he is the leader that they should elect president."

Palin came to St. Paul amid questions about her family life and her conservative credentials and her ethics.

Minnesota delegate Carlton Crawford of Minnepolis
Minnesota GOP delegate Carlton Crawford of Minnepolis during day three events of the 2008 Republican National Convention.
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

Crawford said he expects more criticisms of Palin will emerge but he feels she's demonstrated she can handle the heat of a presidential campaign.

"She's a new candidate, things are going to come out about her positive and negative," Crawford said. "The thing that was shown tonight is that she can stand up to the pressure and she can actually address those things and that's the thing that I think she needs to show tonight."

Minnesota delegates also say they think Palin's snow mobile-riding, hockey mom PTA member background will go over great in Minnesota. They think that could help bolster Republican prospects further down the ticket, including those of Republican Senator Norm Coleman who's in a tight race with DFL endorsed challenger Al Franken.