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August 31, 2004
8/31 Keynote Speaker: Arnold Schwarzenegger

10:03 Arnold is speaking now, talking about his immigrant experiences. He opened with a two jokes about himself and his acting, and one barb at the Democrats.

10:04 However, he now is speaking about the fear he felt as a young child, living in dread of the "Soviet boot" -- and he has fired up the crowd, reminding them that the Austrians are only free due to American determination and resolve, the first indication that he will emphasize the need for those qualities now...

10:06 He openly talked about Richard Nixon as a "breath of fresh air" for a young boy yearning for freedom. Interesting; the crowd has no qualms about evoking Richard Nixon.

10:09 Arnold continually refers to his immigrant status. It appears to be his theme, and he's tying it to a big-tent theme. Of course, Arnold represents the more liberal wing of the party.

Now he's about to do a series about knowing if you're a Republican -- and it's pretty effective. (I'll clip this later from his text.) It's all about responsibility, personal freedom, and American sovereignty, which has brought the crowd to its feet, whistling and stamping. "If you believe we must be fierce and determined to terminate terrorism, then you are a Republican!"

10:12 "Don't be economic girly-men!" If you invoke Nixon, a girly-man reference won't make you quail, of course...

10:14 Attacking the Two Americas theme -- this is a theme that has run through all of the keynote speakers. It addresses the optimism that was missing from the Democrats in Boston. Rudy Giuliani utterly laid waste to this theme last night, but Arnold wants to make sure it's really dead. ...

10:17 Back to terrorism, and expect to hear more about this throughout the rest of Arnold's speech. It's an ironic moment, having one of the most famous immigrants to the US speaking to Americans about their decency and their goodness. ..

10:21 In the middle of a story about a wounded serviceman Arnold visited, a small disturbance erupted on the floor in front of the VIP box where Cheney and Giuliani are sitting. I didn't see enough of it to find out what happened, but whatever it was, security forces pushed it off the floor quickly ...

10:24 After leading a chant of "Four More Years," Arnold finishes by thanking the crowd, and even takes a curtain call of sorts. A very good speech, and one that was very popular with the crowd. More later.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 31, 2004 9:01 PM

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