“Paul Ryan was great,” said Orleans County Republican Chairman Ed Morgan. “He's young, he's energetic ... I think he resonates with the working people.”
Emilio Colaiacoo, a delegate from Buffalo, agreed.
“I think Ryan did an incredible job,” Colaiacovo said. “He delivered a message that is going to permeate.”
Delegates said they were unfamiliar with all the criticism Ryan was receiving for misleading statements in the speech. Instead, they said they were glad to see the Wisconsin congressman take on the traditional role of attack dog, going after President Obama and his policies.
At the same time, though, they were equally thrilled with Rice's speech.
“That was easily one of the most powerful speeches,” said Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards. “It was so fact-based,” said Edwards, who said he felt chills up and down his spine as Rice described her upbringing in the segregated South and her rise to President George W. Bush's cabinet.
Meanwhile, Wendy Centinello of Lancaster said she “absolutely loved” Rice's speech, as well as that of New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.
And her husband, delegate Daniel R. Centinello, said Rice's speech could have political implications far beyond the convention.
“I think she's got a future if she wants it,” he said of Rice.
It was Rudy Giuliani at his feisty and pugnacious best before the New York delegation Thursday at the Republican National Convention.
The former mayor of New York revved up the GOP faithful by slamming the Obama administration's national security policies and praising Sen. John McCain's similar thoughts expressed in his Wednesday night speech as some of the most important sentiments of the convention.
“When John McCain stands in front of the nation's people and says he's worried about national security, that makes me worry,” he said.
Giuliani, who has become a sort of national security guru since the terrorist attacks of 2001, criticized Obama on his handling of everything from the Iranian nuclear situation to his softening of relations with Russia.
He went on at length about how he believes a President Romney would reassert the nation's military strength by being willing to use it.
“Mitt Romney can create that feeling with Iran,” he said of his 2008 rival for the GOP presidential nomination. Until recently, he was never a strong Romney supporter.
Even Giuliani's praise of the president's top foreign policy accomplishment was muted.
“I know he had [Osama] bin Laden killed; that will always be a terrific thing on his resume,” he said. “But the way his administration has tried to exploit it is disgusting.”
The former mayor also turned up his volume when asked by a reporter if Republican rhetoric about reducing the size of government and empowering individuals constituted a racist theme.
“We're affirming our love for our country. All of a sudden that becomes racist?” he said. “I mean that's disgusting.”
He then launched into remarks offered by Vice President Biden earlier this month, when he said to a large black audience that Romney policies would put them “back in chains.”
“That's really racist,” he said. “That's a direct appeal to racial anger; a horrible caricature; a ridiculous Southern accent. I mean Joe's got to work on his Southern accent.
“The media ignores that,” he added. “Our vice president making a blatantly racist attack on our Republican Party and our Republican candidates, it gets largely ignored. All we're trying to do is hold Barack Obama to the same standard anybody else would be held to, having failed so miserably as president of the United States.”
– Jerry Zremski and Robert J. McCarthy