Definitely the most anticipated speech tonight — in positive way or a negative way, depending on whom you ask — was that of Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) It was also the first official RNC speech to employ the words “global warming.”

“If John McCain was just another go-along partisan politician, he never would have led the fight to fix our broken immigration system or to do something about global warming,” said Lieberman. “But he did!”

As for the political party issue, Lieberman referred to himself multiple times in the speech as a Democrat, despite now aligning himself as an Independent (though he continues to caucus with Democrats). “What, after all, is a Democrat like me doing at a Republican convention like this?” he asked. “The answer is simple: I’m here to support John McCain because country matters more than party.”

As Al Gore’s Democratic running mate on the Democratic ticket in 2000 and a staunch supporter of John McCain in this election, he’s become the campaign’s surrogate to non-Republican voters. This was pretty much the focus of his speech, in which Lieberman made sure to drop the words “maverick” and emphasize McCain’s “independence.” “God only made one John McCain, and he is his own man,” said Lieberman.

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“I ask the indulgence of those in this hall tonight, as I want to speak directly to my fellow Democrats and Independents who are watching,” said Lieberman. “I know many of you are angry and frustrated by our government and our politics and for good reason. You may be thinking of voting for John McCain but you’re not sure.”

“Some of you have never voted for a Republican before, and in an ordinary election, you probably wouldn’t. But this is no ordinary election, because these are not ordinary times, and John McCain is no ordinary candidate,” he continued. “You may not agree with John McCain on every issue. But you can always count on him to be straight with you about where he stands, and to stand for what he thinks is right regardless of politics.”

He was also sure to include a few jabs at McCain’s Democratic rival, Barack Obama. “Senator Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who can do great things for our country in the years ahead,” he said. “But eloquence is no substitute for a record — not in these tough times.”

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