Moffat County Republicans stayed home to watch Sen. John McCain accept their party's nomination for president Thursday night.
And many local Republicans liked what they saw.
McCain's acceptance speech came one night after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's speech accepting the nomination for vice president. Before they watched McCain's speech, both Ron Danner and Ron La Salle said they were impressed with Palin. After McCain's speech, both said they thought McCain-Palin would make for a strong, solidly Republican ticket this Nov. 4.
"It sounds like the two of them are going to be a powerful force," Danner said Thursday night after watching McCain's speech.
'Core values' the key
Danner, who is the chair of Moffat County Republicans, said he was most excited about how the nominee has plans to "be in Washington, D.C., with a different agenda."
The local party chair said he was ready for McCain to "upset the applecart" on politics-as-usual in the nation's capital.
Danner also was happy to hear how the nominee reinforced the party's core platforms - small government, lower taxes and individual choice.
"McCain brings the ideals of the two parties into contrast," Danner said, "which was good to hear."
Danner said the speech last night and Palin's speech Wednesday night should help independent or undecided voters pick a candidate.
"It's pretty easy to get caught up in issues," such as who is a more eloquent speaker or who has the best resume, he said, "but that's not what's going to run the country. I think there's a pretty clear difference in the basic values of the Republican Party and Democratic Party. Those are reflected in the candidates."
Voting on 'integrity'
For local restaurant owner La Salle, watching McCain's speech convinced him that the nominee knows how to surround himself with good people, which La Salle said, is the sign of a true leader.
La Salle said he liked how McCain emphasized his team, which includes Palin.
"It seems to me Sarah Palin overshadowed him - which is not good," he said.
However, he thought it was the best speech he's ever seen or heard McCain give, and the candidate seemed to convey a real sense of sincerity. That and "integrity" are what sold La Salle on the McCain-Palin ticket.
In previous months, La Salle said, he wasn't completely sold on McCain. In fact, he had even considered voting for Sen. Hillary Clinton before she was overtaken by Sen. Barack Obama. Although that may seem like blasphemy to many Republicans, for La Salle it was more a matter of Clinton saying what she meant - even if he disagreed with her policies, he knew she wasn't lying about them.
Now, La Salle said he feels comfortable with McCain and Palin, and that they will show integrity, and McCain will choose good people to back him up.
"His greatest strength is who surrounds him," La Salle said. "That's a very positive thing. You can say all you want, but if you don't have the people to back you up :"
New Republican star
What really struck both local men, though, was how strong of a party leader Palin seemed to be during her speech Wednesday night.
"After initially being shocked - I had heard her name before, but I didn't know who she was - after (Wednesday) night's presentation and the confidence she showed, I was very impressed and pleased," Danner said. "She's not one of the Washington elites."
Danner said he thought Palin complimented McCain well and that they would work for the party's core values together.
"They seem to be in lock step," he said.
La Salle also was excited to see Palin speak.
"I think if there's anybody in the Republican Party who's a star, you just named her," La Salle said when asked about Palin.
He said he was pleased that former Gov. Mitt Romney wasn't chosen by McCain, or another Washington politician. Instead, McCain picked an outsider - a mother, a local politician from a rural area.
"I think Gov. Palin is going to kick (butt)," La Salle said. "I looked into her eyes and thought, 'She is tough enough to be a (Golden) Cavvy waitress.' : She can look into anybody's eyes and make them quiver."
However, La Salle said it was more important to look at how Palin might appeal to the women of Craig and Moffat County.
"She can relate to a lot of the women in Craig," he said. "Her independence and way of life would appeal to a lot of people of Craig. I really do respect what she's accomplished."
McCain and Palin will take on Democratic presidential candidate Obama and vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden in the Nov. 4 general election.