COVINGTON - Covington couple Clay and Judy Newman attended the Republican National Convention this week in St. Paul, Minn., and came away energized by the experience and deeply impressed by presidential hopeful John McCain and his choice for vice president, Sarah Palin.
The two, who serve on the Newton County Steering Committee for John McCain, arrived at the convention Sunday. While there, they hobnobbed with a variety of celebrities and politicians, including legendary golfer Arnold Palmer; former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; former presidential candidate Mitt
Romney; actor Stephen Baldwin; news anchor Tom Brokaw; political commentator Bill O'Reilly; and former Bush policy adviser Karl Rove.
But the highlights of the event were the speeches by Republican nominee John McCain and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
"John McCain's acceptance speech was certainly one of the highlights. He did a lot to consolidate the party and convince people he's the right man for the job and is ready to lead," said Clay Newman, speaking from his hotel Friday morning following McCain's Thursday night speech.
Newman gave high marks to Palin as well, calling her "eloquent, not forceful, but she commanded a presence."
"Sarah Palin's speech was one of the best political speeches I've heard in my life. She did an outstanding job," he said.
The Newmans secured their invitation through the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican Regents due to their fundraising efforts for the party.
At the convention, they attended daily question and answer sessions with Republican senators and congressman.
"These folks focused on the facts - they didn't hedge on any questions asked of them and they were asked some very difficult questions," Newman said.
The Newmans were expected to arrive home Friday afternoon, bringing with them an even greater sense of pride in their country.
"Just to witness the whole election process and know we are part of leading the free world in democracy and to get to witness a historical event was really special from my perspective," Newman said.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.