News from the
Republican National Convention

We're excited to have this opportunity to bring you news directly from the floor of the Republican National Convention.

Blue Angel Boss Bob StumpfOur guest author is our friend Bob Stumpf, USN (retired), former Flight Leader of the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron. Bob is attending the convention as an alternate delegate from Florida, and is blogging about his experiences for Vets for John McCain. Bob has graciously agreed to allow us to share his postings with you.

We're all so tired of the media hype (and hypocrisy), and it's refreshing to have reports we can believe, from one of our own. For most of us, it's as close as we can come to being there ourselves.

Thanks so much, Bob, for allowing us to share your thoughts with our readers.

We'll update this page as we get new info from Bob.

Friday, September 5, 2008 - Final RNC report

Last night was the thrilling culmination of a magical week. I can't elaborate on what the speakers said or the level of celebration, except to say that it was louder than you can imagine, everyone was in tears at some point, and that's more balloons than anyone should see in a lifetime. Oh. And the confetti was partially made up of quarter-sized discs with John and Sarah's pictures.

A couple of highlights that you may not have seen on TV: Waiting for the elevators with Miss Roberta (John's mom), the secret service suddenly asked everyone to clear the area so that she could depart, making quite a scene. Her retort, "I keep waiting for my glass slipper to fall off!" Beautiful woman. Sharp as a tack [at 96 -- and there are those claiming that John's too old at 72. They obviously haven't met Miss Roberta!].

Bob Stumpf, Florida Veterans for McCain Co-Chair and former Blue Angels Boss, with Medal of Honor recipients Roger Donlon, Drew Dix, and Thomas Hudner at the Republican National Convention on Thursday.  From left to right: Bob Stumpf, Roger Donlon, Drew Dix, and Thomas Hudner Bob Stumpf, Florida Veterans for McCain Co-Chair and former Blue Angels Boss, with some very distinguished gentleman at the Republican National Convention on Thursday. Most people never get the opportunity to meet a Medal of Honor winner. Here's Bob with THREE!  

From left to right:
Bob Stumpf,
Roger Donlon,
DrewDix, and
Thomas Hudner.

If you want to be truly inspired, click on the links and read their Medal of Honor citations. Heroes all.

On the bus to an evening reception at the art museum near the Xcel Center, we got a little stuck in traffic and our route was cut off by a large mob -- maybe 200 or more -- of dismounted infantry anarchists. They were advancing rapidly on our bus, quick march, about 600 yards away. There were a couple of dismounted policepeople who looked scared/concerned advising us not to turn into them, our intended route.

I was about to tell people to duck below the windows anticipating maybe some flying bricks, as had been the case the day before.

Then at about 300 yards, when it looked like it was going to get interesting, the cavalry arrived. Literally.

A troop of mounted riot police -- BIG horses -- swung the anarchists right flank from behind, halting their advance in its tracks, then contained their retreat with dismounted infantry in full riot gear. Very cool.

At the reception, we had the honor to chat with three distinguished gents who wore the Medal of Honor around their necks, Roger Donlon, Tom Hudner, and Drew Dix. Click on the links above and read their citations if you want to get choked up. These are the bravest of the brave who recognize and support the courage and wisdom of John McCain.

The protesters during Skipper McCain's speech were Code Pink, it appears. They were way off in the corner over his left shoulder. As expected, he handled the situation with aplomb, cracking, "Pay no attention to the ground noise and static."

His speech got better as it went along; he finally got the crowd really into it towards the end, enthralling them with his message of service.

The bus ride home might have been nap time for many worn out conventioneers, but we instead were treated to political analysis by former NY Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, who dissected the speeches. He loves to talk; very entertaining.

We rode up the elevator with Sen. Joe Lieberman, who commented about what a remarkable week it had been. I commented that he ignited it Tuesday night and he seemed to like that. I bet his Democratic colleagues are still boiling.

Bud Day called me this morning at the crack of dawn to coordinate transportation to the airport. We later met in the lobby and were chatting when Sen. Lindsay Graham came up to greet Bud. We congratulated him on his speech and after a few minutes, his cell phone went off. He answered "Hi John." They chatted a bit, then Lindsay handed the phone to Bud. I guess the future POTUS didn't want to talk to me!

I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity to represent Florida at the RNC and for Susie and me to have been invited to stay with the Friends and Family group. (Thank you, Orson.) It was extremely motivating to be close enough to see for myself just what a unique and talented group of people John McCain has assembled for the campaign, surely indicative of what he will do in his cabinet, including, among many others, our old and dear friend Lang Sias, the national veterans coalition director.

Susie and I could not have been more impressed with Cindy McCain and Sarah Palin. These are truly remarkable and accomplished women who will have a wonderful influence on John and on our country for the next four/eight years.

Just 13 months ago, only John McCain believed that this campaign had a prayer. Now he has millions of believers. And they are motivated, enthusiastic, fired up.

Please keep your energy up for 60 more days!

Let's help Skipper McCain and Gov. Palin not just win this.

Let's crush 'em.

Bob Stumpf, USN (ret)

Thursday, September 4, 2008 - Minneapolis-St. Paul RNC

Most of you interested enough to read this probably watched the convention last night, so I won’t reiterate what you already know. Suffice to say that being there live was a remarkable experience.

The level of enthusiasm was a night-long crescendo, gradually rising from merely loud with Michael Steele’s address, to really loud for Rudi’s, to positively thunderous for Sarah Palin. The response was so great that I was a bit concerned that John McCain might have trouble matching it. Then he walked out on the podium and the roof of the Xcel Center started to come off.

Besides the ovations, there were tears, laughter and a coming together of this party that I really had not expected. Sarah Palin delivered a simply magnificent speech, in content and style.

If anyone had any doubts about her before, her performance last night surely belayed them. We have not heard a single negative remark about her all week. Instead, she has animated this convention and this party.

What we may have lacked in enthusiasm before, she has gone a long way in restoring. "The difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick!"

Susie and I attended a post session gathering at which we hoped Gov. Palin would make an appearance. Instead she opted to get some well deserved rest and sent surrogate Jon Voight to say a few words to the group. He’s funny, engaged on the issues and is a wonderful spokesman for the campaign. Nice to have someone of his stature in the entertainment profession on our side.

Besides meeting Mr. Voight, we also shared a few words with Michael Steele, an impressive, imposing man whom you may have heard deliver one of the earlier speeches in the evening. I told him we hoped he’d still be around for the next round of elections and he assured us he would.

Just returned from the tribute to Cindy McCain luncheon. Cindy has done so much in her life serving the needs of others. She has such an incredibly poised, elegant and gracious presence and is going to make us all very proud of our next first lady.

Speaking only from notes, she delivered a polished speech where she emphasized her role as mother and wife, especially how proud she is of her sons, Lance Corporal Jimmy McCain, who recently returned from Iraq, and Midshipman Jack McCain, who will no doubt see his own share of action before he’s through.

The luncheon was a lot of fun. Elizabeth Hasselbeck emceed, Clay Walker sang the national anthem, Jon Voight spoke and future Second Dude Todd Palin introduced Cindy.

We marvel over Todd’s journey. He mentioned that ten days ago he was working the night shift on the North Slope pipeline. He seems remarkably comfortable in his new role. I can see him reaching out to a significant segment of voters who traditionally have voted Democratic. Reagan Democrats?

Correction from yesterday: Michael Monsoor was killed in Iraq, not Afghanistan.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008 - Minneapolis-St. Paul RNC

Last night was the first full program for the Convention after reorganizing for Hurricane Gustav. It was a roof raiser! And that was just the beginning. Being here live raises the level of enthusiasm a whole order of magnitude. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement.

The speeches by Fred Thompson and Joe Lieberman were the marquee events of the night, but for me, the highlight was the Medal of Honor and POW recognition speech by my friend [the Honorable] Orson Swindle, [LtCol, USMC (retired) and John McCain's fellow POW in the Hanoi Hilton].

It was preceded by a moving documentary on the huge screen depicting the heroism of Petty Officer Michael Monsoor, who earned the Medal of Honor in Afghanistan. You may recall that at his funeral, dozens of Navy SEALs filed past to pay their respects, removing their trident insignia and pressing them into the wooden casket, converting it to gold.

My wife and I had breakfast yesterday morning with Orson. He was a bit nervous, mostly because of having to use the teleprompter. But he need not have worried, handling it like a pro. He introduced first the Medal of Honor winners, then the POW brothers of John McCain to thunderous ovations.

When we first arrived at the Xcel Center, I was supposed to find Bud Day [Col, USAF (retired), Medal of Honor recipient, and the man John McCain credits with saving his life at the Hanoi Hilton] to organize a rendezvous with a Miami Herald photographer for a story for which Bud and I were interviewed. I finally found Bud -- in the VIP box sitting next to President and Mrs. Bush (41)! So the photo op had to wait. . .

Fred Thompson’s speech was a masterpiece, clearly describing the life of John McCain to the American people, a life of total dedication to service. Fred’s rich voice and homespun delivery were complimented by the moving collage of photos in the video backdrop. The theme rang true: John McCain’s life is rich and full of character building experiences. The people need not inquire, "Who is this man? Where does he come from? What are his values?"

Joe Lieberman’s speech, quite simply, was historic and inspiring. Here is a highly-respected Senator from the opposition party, a former vice-presidential candidate, endorsing John McCain for President.

Lieberman’s message was simple as he reached out especially to Independents and fellow Democrats: We are Americans first. This is clearly a time to rise above partisan politics and elect the most qualified candidate to lead America through difficult times.

When we returned to the hotel and reviewed some of the media coverage, Susie and I were struck by the disparity between what we had just witnessed and what was being reported. The event was truly moving, patriotic and inspiring.

But on MSNBC, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews were positively giddy as they ridiculed the proceedings and the selection of Sarah Palin as the VP candidate.

On CNN, Larry King interviewed three commentators, all of whom disparaged the convention proceedings and the Republican Party. You would have thought he could have included ONE with a positive impression.

These networks have simply given up ANY semblance of impartiality. They are clearly owned and operated by the Left.

To end this on a positive note, Susie and I just spoke with Jack McCain, John and Cindy’s son who is a firstie [First Class Midshipman - a senior] at the Naval Academy, a friendly and polite young man, the spitting image of his dad. When I asked him what would be his service selection he replied, "Navy air, sir!" Like father, like son.

young Navy pilot John McCain Jack McCain, son of Senator John McCain

We're looking forward to a big line-up tonight: Meg Whitman -Ebay CEO, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rudi Giuliani, Linda Lingle — Hawaii governor, and Sarah Palin.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hello again from Minneapolis. It’s Bob Stumpf, USN retired, alternate delegate from the first district of Florida. A little background may be in order for those of you who don’t know me.

John McCain was the skipper [Commanding Officer] of VA-174, the A-7 fleet replacement squadron, when I went through as a student in 1976. Fast forward 19 years -- I was in a considerable disagreement with the Secretary of the Navy about a small promotion issue [a monumental understatement], McCain found out about it through a mutual friend and called me in.

When I explained the situation, he immediately took on the issue on my behalf, quite aware of the political risk. He believed there was an injustice [there definitely was!] and shouldered the cause simply because it was the right thing to do. It took us seven years to right the wrong [at least the portion that could be righted -- some things can't be erased or restored]. In that time he never wavered, never blinked.

John McCain walks the walk. This is typical of how he operates, a man of proven courage, integrity, intellect and character; a giant.

Yesterday, I attended a veterans coalition meeting where Orson Swindle, one of McCain’s cellmates and close friend, spoke. In the small room we were honored by the presence of three Medal of Honor winners; Bud Day, Pat Brady, and Roger Donlon. I would have been happy living my life having met just one. But three!

Also in attendance were many of John's brother POWs, all with testimony to his strength and courage during more than five years of brutal incarceration.

I mention these heroic patriots only to illuminate the depth of their commitment to a McCain victory, men who know him and can relate to his character under very difficult conditions. Others on record supporting John McCain: 16 past national VFW commanders, four past national American Legion Commanders, and 277 retired flag and general officers. [We know many of these flag officers personally and can vouch that this list is not "made up."] These lists are growing.

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