CINDY MCCAIN: Before I begin, I would like to introduce you for the seven reasons John and I are so happy as a family. Starting on this end this is Meghan McCain, Andy McCain -- (cheers, applause) -- Jimmy McCain, Jack McCain, Bridget McCain, Doug McCain and Sydney McCain. Thank you. (Cheers, applause.)
But while John and I take great joy in having to spend time together this week as a family, our hearts go out to the thousands of families who have had to leave their homes, once again, due to devastating weather.
It's not in our -- it's not (sic) our natural instinct to rally them, to lift them up with our prayers, to come to their aid; it's also our duty as a country.
That duty is what brings me before you tonight, and it's a -- much larger, more important than John or me or any of us. It's the work of this great country calling us together, and there's no greater duty than that, no more essential task for our generation right now.
That's been very much on my mind these last few months as I've traveled our country. Each day, after the bands packed up and the speeches were done and the camera lights darkened, I always came back to how blessed and honored I was to be a part of our national conversation. And in these times when so many of our fellow Americans face difficult situations, what I saw moved me deeply: families worried about losing their homes, towns deserted by industries once at their center, mothers with no choice but to send their children to unsafe and underperforming schools.
But I have also seen the resilience of the American people. I've heard stirring stories of neighbor helping neighbor, cities on one end of the country offering help to fellow citizens on the other. Despite our challenges, our hearts are still alive with hope and belief in the individual ability to make things right, if only the federal government would get itself under control and out of our way. (Cheers, applause.)
So tonight is about renewing our commitment to one another, because this campaign is not about us, it's about our special and exceptional country.
And this convention celebrates a special and exceptional Republican Party. The hand we feel on our shoulder belongs to Abraham Lincoln. (Applause.)
Our country was born -- our country was -- our country was born amidst the struggle for freedom, and our party arose from a great battle for human rights, dignity and equality for all people. We give way to no one and no other party in that cause. (Cheers, applause.)
From its very birth, our party has been grounded in the notion of service, community, self-reliance. And it's all tempered by a uniquely American faith in and compassion for each other's neighbors. A helping hand and friendly support has always been our way. It's no surprise that Americans are the most generous people in history. (Applause.)
That generation (sic) of spirit is in our national DNA. It's our way of doing things. It's how we view the world.
I was taught that Americans can look at the world and ask either, "What do other countries think of us?" or we can look at ourselves and ask, "What would our forefathers make of us and what will our children say of us?" That's a big challenge. In living up to it, we know the security and the prosperity of our nation is about a lot more than politics. It also depends on a personal commitment, a sense of history and a clear view of the future.
I know of no one who better defines how to do that, whose life is a better example of how to go about that than the man I love, whom (sic) I've shared almost 30 years of my life, my husband, John McCain. (Cheers, applause.)
From the beginning of time, no matter how accomplished in other fields, women have always sought a husband with an eye to what kind of father that man would be. Well, I hit a home run with John McCain. (Cheers, applause.) I got -- I got the most marvelous husband and friend and confidant, a source of strength and inspiration, and also the best father you could ever imagine. (Cheers, applause.) In that most sacred role, he brought to our children his great personal character, his lifelong example of honesty, and his steadfast devotion to honor. He has shown the value of self-sacrifice by daily example. And above all, John showers us with unconditional love and support every family dreams of.
I know what his children say of him, and his courageous service to America in war and peace leaves no doubt what our forefathers would make of him. In -- (cheers, applause) -- it's these virtues of character that led him to this campaign, to this moment. John McCain is a steadfast man who will not break with our heritage, no matter how demanding or dangerous the challenge is at home or abroad. And let's not be confused: these are perilous times not just for America, but for freedom itself. (Applause.) It's going to take a -- take someone of unusual strength and character, someone exactly like my husband, to lead us through the reefs and currents that lie ahead.
I know John. You can trust his hand at the wheel.
But you know something? What I've always thought, it's a good idea to have a woman's hand on the wheel as well. (Cheers, applause.) So how about that Governor Sarah Palin? (Cheers, applause.)