2.55pm I'm sitting in a packed hall awaiting the arrival of Senator McCain. Placards have been handed out. There's a sense of anticipation in the air. Most of the people around me seem to want to give McCain the benedit of the doubt. But there are a few who are chuntering about 'stage management'. They don't get it. They don't understand that the eyes of America are on them this afternoon. They don't understand that the eyes of the liberal media are on them too.
3.15pm McCain is now speaking. He got a great welcome and his speech is punctured with applause. There are a few boos, but they are being drowned out. He's making a powerful defence of his conservative views and heritage. He's actually sounding like a leader ... nay, even a President. He's never going to be a great orator but he carries a reassuring, moderate demeanour which perhaps this country needs at the moment.
3.30pm He's sought to reassure the audience about his views on immigration and border security. There followed a powerful passage on promises and leadership. "I will offer a clearly conservative approach to governing... I will stand on my conservative convictions."
3.35pm Standing ovation when he commits to smaller government, lower personal and business taxes. "I won't let a Democratic Congress raise your taxes".
3.40pm On Iraq accuses Obama and Clinton of political expediency. "I will win the war". It's getting a bit evangelical. Lots of cries of "that's right!".
3.45pm A cheering, enthusiastic standing ovation for a speech which has deserved it. He was clear, honest and at times inspirational. I didn't think he had it in him.