Republican delegates to their national convention in New York have formally nominated George Bush as the party's candidate for another four-year term as President of the United States. The vote came on the second night of the convention, which featured speeches by First Lady Laura Bush and movie star turned politician Arnold Schwarzenegger. Both speeches electrified the crowd.
California Governor and former action movie hero Arnold Schwarzenegger brought delegates to their feet here at Madison Square Garden and showed why he is the Republican Party's newest superstar.
Nine months into his first term, Governor Schwarzenegger has become a political celebrity and is seen as a potentially major asset to the Bush campaign.
In his primetime address, broadcast nationwide on television, Mr. Schwarzenegger reached out to immigrants seeking the American dream. "In this country, it doesn't make any difference where you were born," he said. "It doesn't make any difference who your parents were. It doesn't make any difference if, like me, you couldn't even speak English until you were in your twenties. America gave me opportunities and my immigrant dreams came true. I want other people to get the same chances I did, the same opportunities. And I believe they can. That's why I believe in this country, that's why I believe in this Party - and that's why I believe in this President."
Republicans are hoping Governor Schwarzenegger's star power will help President Bush win the expected close races in key battleground states that are likely to determine the outcome of the election.
At the convention, Mr. Schwarzenegger sketched his own background from a childhood in the shadow of communism to his arrival in the United States to become a body builder, box-office star, then governor of the country's most populous state.
He used his speech at the convention to urge immigrants to vote Republican in the upcoming presidential election.
While many of Mr. Schwarzenegger's positions on issues are different from those of Mr. Bush, that didn't stop the California governor from enthusiastically endorsing the president for reelection.
"Ladies and gentlemen, America is back. Back from the attack on our homeland - back from the attack on our economy and back from the attack on our way of life," he said. "We're back because of the perseverance, character and leadership of the 43rd President of the United States - George W. Bush."
First lady Laura Bush was the other star speaker of the night. President Bush introduced his wife via a televised satellite link to the convention.
Mrs. Bush outlined her husband's accomplishments as president in areas such as education, the economy and health care.
She spoke of quiet nights at the dinner table when she said her husband agonized over the decision to go to war and bring freedom to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.
She called Mr. Bush a strong and determined leader. "Our parents' generation confronted tyranny and liberated millions. As we do the hard work of confronting today's threat, we can also be proud that 50 million more men, women and children live in freedom thanks to the United States of America and our allies," she said.
Mrs. Bush says except for having more gray hair, her husband is basically the same man she met at a backyard barbecue in Texas and married three months later.
She called the president a man who does not change his values and has boundless energy and enthusiasm for his job. "George and I grew up in West Texas, where the sky seems endless and so do the possibilities. He brings that optimism, that sense of purpose, that certainty that a better day is before us to his job every day and with your help he'll do it for four more years," she said.
Earlier in the evening, the delegates did just that, formally nominating Mr. Bush as the Republican Party's candidate for another term as President of the United States.
Mr. Bush now faces a two-month election battle with his main challenger, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.