Despite hurricane weather in the Gulf Coast threatening to scale down the GOP convention, the show was still able to go on as planned. Sac County Republican Chairwoman Ann Trimble-Ray says she feels the campaign took on new energy, new enthusiasm and new excitement with the convention.
Before attending the convention Trimble-Ray says she felt some uneasieness towards candidate John McCain. She says some Republicans were concerned that he continues to support allowing illegal immigrants to earn citizenship and has not yet supported a constitutional amendendment to ban gay marriage.Since the convention Trimble-Ray says she's become a more enthusiastic supporter and was encouraged by his decision to choose Sarah Palin for his running mate. "I admit that I was a reluctant McCain supporter (before I went)," she says.
Before hearing Senator McCain and Gov. Palin, Trimble-Ray says the enthusiasm level was high, however after hearing from Palin speak the level rose to new heights. "It was a wise choice by Senator McCain," says Trimble Ray describing him as a "maverick."
Trimble Ray says she was asked in a pre-convention interview who she thought he might choose for his running mate. "That's (Palin) who I named," she says.
Trimble-Ray says she was encouraged by the number of speakers who highlighted McCain's leadership qualifications. including war heroes and John Bolton, who served as a U.S. Ambassador to the UN. "It was a great morning (Wednesday) for the Iowa delegation to hear all those speakers and hear how qualified he is," she says.
Fred Thompson's comments were forceful and rallied the convention, she said, also citing former Democrat Joe Liberman's message as critical. "He made the case that John McCain is the qualified candidate for president, he talked about his leadership, especially with Homeland Security," she says.
Trimble-Ray dsid Palin's speech was one of the best she's heard, and reflects that it is history-making. "She was forceful yet graceful, she hit all the big issues," she says - marriage, human rights and economics. "She gave us a lot of reason to be enthusiastic about the future."
Trimble-Ray says she understands the difficulties Palin and her family face with a pregnant teenage daughter because she says she also had a daughter who got pregnant when she was a teenager. "How you respond about it tells more about your character," says Trimble-Ray. Despite political scrutiny, Palin is steadfast in supporting her daughter.
Cindy McCain's speech was the most insight the delegate has seen into their non-public lives, revealing Cindy's caring nature, she says.
While the convention went on, Trimble Ray says those affected by the hurricanes were not forgotten. Hundreds of delegates helped package care packages to ship to families in the gulf coast.