The 38th gathering of Republicans to nominate their presidential candidate is being held in Madison Square Garden in New York City amid unprecedented security.
The second day of the convention brought out thousands of protesters who set out on a march to the convention site, getting in the way of a busload of delegates and engaging in shouting matches with officers around Manhattan. Nearly 1,000 protesters were arrested Tuesday, and on at least two occasions police snared unruly protesters with orange plastic netting.
The demonstrations continued Wednesday morning, with thousands of protesters forming a symbolic unemployment line stretching three miles from Wall Street to Madison Square Garden, where GOP delegates are gathering. The protesters stood peacefully in a single-file line for 15 minutes, raising bright pink fliers that listed unemployment statistics and read: "The Next Pink Slip Might Be Yours!"
Bush on Tuesday night secured the nomination, winning a majority of the delegates' 2,509 votes as the evening's festivities kicked off. The roll call of states continues on Wednesday.
Cheney's speech to the convention Wednesday night sets the stage for Bush's own acceptance speech the following night. The president was to arrive in New York late Wednesday for a meeting with firefighters, making the connection to the Sept. 11 attacks and subsequent fight against terrorism that has defined his presidency.
Miller will deliver the convention's keynote address Wednesday evening. He'll speak about the opportunities created by what he calls President Bush's pro-growth, pro-American worker, pro-American entrepreneur agenda. Miller has said Bush is the "right man" to lead the nation amid threats of terror.
"In this dangerous time, we need a strong commander in chief, and I think that George Bush is one of the strongest that you could possibly have," Miller told Hd News. "I have admired and respected the way that he has grabbed terrorism by the throat. And I think he's the commander in chief that we need these next four years."
In 1992, Miller was selected by Bill Clinton to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.
Miller said the difference now is, "We're at war. 9/11 changed everything, as far as I'm concerned. It changed the way that we have got to look at how we do things.
"I am very, very disturbed at the lack of bipartisanship that I saw in Washington over the last four years that I've served in the Senate. And I think it's very dangerous for this country in a time of war. We can't afford it."
Cheney will make the case that the administration has created opportunity for all Americans and will speak about the president's vision for spreading freedom around the world to ensure our safety at home. Cheney will also try to make himself more appealing to a public that is very divided about the vice president's role in pushing the United States into war in Iraq. The latest Hd News-Opinion Dynamics poll taken Aug. 24-25 showed Cheney with a 43 percent favorable rating and a 42 percent unfavorable rating.
With news on the economic front more mixed than Republicans had hoped, Cheney and Miller were expected to talk about Bush's agenda for creating jobs and encouraging people to own homes and start businesses.
Miller said he would "explain to them why this longtime Democrat, who has never voted for a Republican, by the way, in his life, is voting for this one. And it has to do with the kind of man he is."
"It has to do with the times that we live in, the very dangerous times we live in," Miller said in an interview with The Associated Press. "And it also has something to do with President Bush's opponent. And we'll talk a little bit about his record."
Cheney will contrast Bush's "demonstrated leadership and decisiveness versus Sen. [John] Kerry's confusion of conviction — both in foreign and domestic policy — that he's demonstrated during his 20 years in the Senate," Cheney spokeswoman Anne Womack said.
Kerry, at a late-night rally in Nashville, Tenn., belittled Bush's shifting position on whether the fight against terrorists was winnable. "We can, we must and we will win the War on Terror," he said.
The Massachusetts senator addresses the American Legion on Wednesday, a day after Bush in a speech to the same group backed away from an earlier suggestion — made in a television interview — that the War on Terror could not be won.
"It's a different type of war. We may never sit down at a peace table, but make no mistake about it, we are winning and we will win," Bush told the legionnaires. Later, he told conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh he didn't really mean to say the war against terror could not be won. "I probably needed to be more articulate," the president said.
'Four More Years'
Pennsylvania delegates put Bush over the top on Tuesday in roll call whose outcome was never in doubt. The timing was deliberate to give the honor to Pennsylvania, the battleground state that Bush has visited the most since taking office.
"Pennsylvania has a proud tradition of leading America," delegate Renee Amoore of Harrisburg said in pushing the president past the 1,255 votes needed for the nomination.
Al Gore won Pennsylvania in 2000 by 4 percentage points, but polls show a dead heat now.
The president has visited the state, which has 21 electoral votes, 33 times since taking office — including a "family-style picnic" Tuesday night from which he introduced his wife to the convention by way of a satellite television hookup.
Whereas Monday's theme was the "Courage of a Nation," in which speakers extolled the virtues of Bush as a wartime leader, Tuesday's theme was "Compassion of the American People," and speakers highlighted aspects of the president's domestic policy.
The most important issue for the nation's families and future at a time when "the stakes are so high" is Bush's work to protect the country and defeat terror "so that all children can grow up in a more peaceful world," first lady Laura Bush said Tuesday night.
Defending the president's decision to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mrs. Bush said the nation is grateful to the men and women of the armed forces who are fighting the War on Terror around the world.
"My husband didn't want to go to war, but he knew the safety and security of America and the world depended on it," she said.
Her speech was a rare venture into the president's strategy overseas for a first lady who has traditionally shied away from commenting on her husband's policy decisions. She spent more than half her time on stage talking about the wars on terror and in Iraq.
The Republicans' biggest star, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (search), wasted no time taking swipes at Democrats as delegates nearly brought the house down chanting, "Arnold! Arnold!" while holding up signs emblazoned with his name.
"What a greeting! This is like winning an Oscar! ... As if I would know," said Schwarzenegger, one of the highlights on day two. "Speaking of acting, one of my movies was called 'True Lies.' It's what the Democrats should have called their convention."
The president won't arrive until Wednesday but he appeared via satellite to introduce his wife.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the country has been faced with many challenges, Mrs. Bush said, but "we have great confidence in our ability to overcome challenges," and with her husband in the White House, he brings "that optimism, that sense of promise, that certainty that a better day is before us to his job every day — and with your help, he'll do so for four more years.
"These are times that require an especially strong and determined leader. And I'm proud that my husband is that kind of leader."
‘Don't Be Economic Girlie Men'
Schwarzenegger, the bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-politician who emigrated from Austria with virtually nothing, said the Republican Party helped him fulfill the American dream and under Bush's leadership, anyone can fulfill that dream.
"I want other people to get the same chances I did, the same opportunities," he said. "And I believe they can. That's why I believe in this country, that's why I believe in this party and that's why I believe in this president."
Immigrants and others can tell if they're Republicans using many barometers, Schwarzenegger said. If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, not the people to the government, you're a Republican; if you believe the educational system should be held accountable for the progress of children, you belong in the GOP.
But people can tell if they are Republican another way too, he said.
"You have faith in free enterprise, faith in the resourcefulness of the American people ... and faith in the U.S. economy. To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: Don't be economic girlie men!"
He also said that despite the Kerry-Edwards campaign theme of "two Americas," when it comes to the nation's defense, "I can tell you this: Our young men and women in uniform do not believe there are two Americas."
"They believe we are one America — and they are fighting for it. We are one America, and President Bush is defending it with all his heart and soul," he added.
Responding to the "Terminator" star's speech while campaigning in West Virginia Tuesday, Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards said the administration's poor economic performance was "the big elephant in the room" that Republicans don't want to talk about.
"All they could do was attack. You know why? Because they don't have a plan to create jobs, to fix health care or win the War on Terror," Edwards said.
Don't Knock No Child Left Behind
Earlier in the night, Education Secretary Rod Paige said Bush's No Child Left Behind Act is working to better America's educational system and has raised the bar for all students, no matter what their race or income level.
"While Brown [vs. The Board of Education] opened the schoolhouse door to all, it did not guarantee quality education for all," Paige told delegates, referring to the seminal Supreme Court case abolishing schoolroom segregation. "President Bush saw this two-tiered system as unacceptable. He proposed a plan — high standards, measurable goals, real consequences and resources to get the job done. He promised results. He delivered results."
Many groups have said too much focus has been placed on test scores and not enough of the budgeted allowances for each state have reached schools; the Bush administration has argued that kids shouldn't move a grade without showing they can do the work.
"Although much work remains, our choice is simple: We can either build on these achievements or return to the days of excuses and indifference," said Paige, who rose from segregated Mississippi to become the nation's first black education secretary.
The president's nephew, George P. Bush, also son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, reiterated his uncle's commitment to that education initiative. He said that the country has had the largest education funding increase in history during his uncle's term as president and "impressive results" are being seen. He also hailed Bush's tax cuts, saying they have helped foster the "American dream" because they've allowed people to send their kids to college, start small businesses and buy homes.
"Guided by Liberty's lamp, our party and our president will continue to preserve the American dream for every individual who seeks it," he said.
Other speakers for the evening's prime-time lineup were Bush twins Jenna and Barbara, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee and Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina.
Jenna and Barbara's remarks were a lighthearted attempt at comic relief. Both girls recently graduated from college.
"We've spent the last four years trying to stay out of the spotlight. Sometimes we did better than others," said Jenna, who's made news early in Bush's presidency for drunken and fake ID exploits. "We kept trying to explain to my dad, when we're young and irresponsible, we're young and irresponsible."
"When your dad's a Republican and you go to Yale, you learn to stand up for yourself," added Barbara, who later said they're campaigning this year because "we're looking for something to do for the next few years, just like Dad."
Dole touched on several hot-button issues that have been part of Bush's domestic policy: marriage, abortion, family values and freedom of religion.
Saying marriage is the "foundation of civilization and the cornerstone of family," Dole added that "marriage between a man and a woman isn't something Republicans invented — but it is something Republicans will defend."
Assailing Dems on Stem-Cell Debate
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist hailed Bush's work on health care, saying the president's prescription drug discount card program is the centerpiece of the "first real reform of Medicare since its creation," Frist said.
Frist, the only doctor in the Senate, took aim at Kerry and the Democratic Party, saying "they'd rather play politics than help patients" and claiming they don't want seniors to know they can get prescription drug discount cards.
Frist also said the personal injury trial lawyers and their liability suits are the reason health-care costs are rising. Before his run for vice president and time as a North Carolina senator, Edwards was a trial lawyer.
"We must stop them from twisting American medicine into a litigation lottery where they hit the jackpot and every patient ends up paying," Frist said. "John Kerry has made his choice. He put a trial lawyer on his ticket. By his votes and by his actions, he is the 'Dr. No' of tort reform in America."
The controversial stem cell debate also resurfaced Tuesday.
Stem cell research has delved into possible cures for debilitating diseases such as Parkinson's and spinal cord injuries. Bush supports federal funding only for adult stem cells derived from bone marrow or cartilage but has said the private sector can pursue research in both adult and embryonic cells, which are taken from human embryos. Embryonic stem cell research is still at a very early stage.
"John Kerry claims that the president has put a 'sweeping ban on stem cell research,'" said Frist, one of many Republicans to refer directly to the president's opponent. "I challenge Mr. Kerry tonight: What ban? Shame on you, Mr. Kerry."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.