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After Sarah Palin does her thing, John McCain shares the stage with her

September 3, 2008 |  8:52 pm

It looks like another tradition has been added to our convention rituals -- the "surprise" appearance by the top of the ticket to join the vice presidential candidate in the spotlight on the gathering's next-to-last night.

Barack Obama did it last week in Denver, after Joe Biden did his part to rouse fellow Democrats.

Tonight, John McCain did the same after Sarah Palin delivered her stem winder to an adoring Republican crowd in St. Paul.

Obama spoke just a few sentences, praising Biden, as well as Bill and Hillary Clinton.

McCain's comments were even briefer. "Don't you think we made the right choice for the next vice president of the United States?" he asked (for this audience, a rhetorical question if ever there was one).

"And what a beautiful family," he added of the Palin clan, which had preceded him on the stage.

Clutching a hand-held microphone, he appeared to want to say more. But while he and Palin basked in the sustained applause and cheers, the band struck up.

Eventually, McCain shrugged and exited, along with all the Palins.

The delegates stayed (well, at least most of them) for one last piece of business: officially nominating McCain as the party's presidential nominee.

[UPDATE:  And so the delegates did, at 11:05 p.m. local time (12:05 a.m. EDT, 9:05 p.m. PDT. The entire roll call of states was called, with a long list of them passing so McCain's home state, Arizona, had the honor of putting him over the top.]

-- Don Frederick