President George Bush addressed delegates via satellite at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota Tuesday night, saying that Republican presumed presidential nominee John McCain is ready to be the nation's next commander-in-chief.

From the White House, the president said the United States must stay on offense and stop terrorist attacks before they happen.  He called McCain a "great American" who has the "courage and vision" the country needs.  He applauded the Arizona senator for supporting the surge of American troops in Iraq.

Former GOP presidential candidate and ex-Senator Fred Thompson also spoke, paying tribute to McCain's long political and military service. He told delegates about the torture McCain endured as a prisoner in war in Vietnam for more than five-and-a-half years. Thompson said McCain's bones may have been broken but his spirit never was. 

Senator Joe Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent, told delegates he was at the convention because country matters more than political party and because McCain is the "best choice" to move the country forward.

Delegates cheered Tuesday as President Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, and former first lady Barbara Bush entered the arena for the night's session, which also featured a video tribute to the elder Bush and the late Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.

The convention, now in its second day, is putting the focus on Senator McCain after giving up the spotlight on the storm. Mr. Bush canceled a planned appearance at the convention on Monday to oversee the federal hurricane response.

First Lady Laura Bush said Republicans have an exciting ticket, and that she is proud that the first female Vice President of the United States will be a Republican.  She said women have always played an important part in the Republican Party. McCain announced last week that he selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Fred Thompson also praised Palin, describing her as a "breath of fresh air" and a courageous, successful reformer who is not afraid to take on the establishment.

On the convention floor, delegates could be seen cheering and holding signs that said "Country First", "Service" and "We Love McCain."   McCain accepts the party nomination Thursday.