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Rudy Giuliani to keynote GOP confab; Joe Lieberman also will speak

August 20, 2008 | 11:29 am

A year ago, when Rudy Giuliani was ranked first in the polls among the pack of Republican presidential contenders and conventional wisdom tabbed Mitt Romney as his main rival, the former mayor of New York would go out of his way to say nice things about John McCain -- then widely viewed as the candidate who had blown his shot at the GOP nod.Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will deliver the keynote address at the 2008 Republican National Convention

Now comes word that Giuliani, whose White House bid is remembered for being much ado about very little, will get another chance to say nice things about McCain -- this time as the keynote speaker at the convention that will crown  the Arizona senator as the Republican nominee.

Assigned that slot on the list of convention speakers released today, Giuliani's oratory on the confab's Tuesday night inevitably will be compared with the comparable speech the week before by his Democratic counterpart -- former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.

One big difference: Warner's performance will be evaluated with an eye toward how he might do as a future presidential contender; Giuliani's flame-out this year was so spectacular that only he and his closest friends could seriously envision him traveling that path again.

The convention's opening act on Monday, Sept. 1, features by far the most intriguing slate of speakers.

Listed first is Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, which presumably means he gets the prime-time spot to elucidate the public on his transformation from 2000 Democratic vice-presidential candidate to party renegade to unrelenting basher of Barack Obama.

Also on stage that night -- and no doubt ushered off it and away from the proceedings as quickly as possible by the McCain folks -- are President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gets to say a few words; the media will be watching carefully to see if they include mention of his disagreement with McCain on offshore oil drilling.

And here's our guess for the speaker who gets the warmest welcome as the convention kicks off: first lady Laura Bush.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Associated Press

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