We had heard earlier that Laura Bush would address the convention this afternoon, which seemed somewhat surprising given the low-key atmosphere all day. She got a rousing ovation when announced, and seemed happy to speak to the crowd. Mrs. Bush started off by emphasizing the theme for today — support for the people in the Gulf Coast hit by Hurricane Gustav. She introduced messages from governors of the states affected by the storm — Texas, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Gov. Rick Perry spoke from the front lines of the response. He emphasized the people who have assisted in the relief effort. Governer Riley of Alabama also saluted the National Guard, and pledged his attention and support for those affected by the storm. Charlie Crist focused on Tropical Storm Fay, which the Republican convention has also adopted as a cause. Haley Barbour praised the response of the federal government and joined the pledge to assist their neighbors. All of them emphasized the nonpartisan nature of pulling together as Americans in time of danger.
Cindy McCain then took the stage and introduced the charities at the AidMatrix Foundation, which can be found at Cause Greater. She reminded the convention that John McCain had asked us to put aside our Republican hats and put on our Americans hats instead, and asked for contributions now so that aid can start flowing immediately. After talking about how proud she was to appear on stage with the First Lady, she exited — without a word about politics.
Shortly afterward, the convention adjourned for the evening. Nothing will happen from this point, at least not in the hall. No one expected anything different, although some were surprised by the appearance by Mrs. McCain and Mrs. Bush — pleasantly so. It gave the meeting an energy it had lacked all day.