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BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. - Even with John McCain calling for politics to be sidelined as Hurricane Gustav slams Louisiana, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox didn't hold any punches yesterday morning against Democrats and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama - labeling him as a "flip-flop" and the wrong choice for America.
"Do you want a commander-in-chief or a panderer-in-chief? And that's what this election is all about," Mr. Cox told Michigan delegates gathered for breakfast just hours before the first day of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
Mr. Cox predicted the election would be close and implored the Michigan delegates to help deliver the state for Mr. McCain.
"We can do something that hasn't been done since 1988 and that's bring Michigan home to the Republican column in the presidential election," he said.
Mr. Cox told the delegates that the Democratic nominee has switched positions on domestic oil drilling, legalization of marijuana, and establishing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
And he said Mr. Obama's selection of Sen. Joe Biden contradicted his calls for change in Washington.
Mr. Cox called Mr. Biden of Delaware "a 35-year D.C. insider windbag in the Senate."
In contrast, Mr. Cox said, Mr. McCain "chose a citizen politician, not a career politician" when he selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.
The speech was aimed at rallying the Republican troops before setting out for a very low-key opening day at the political convention.
Grover Norquist, an anti-tax activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform, said voters should be reminded that there has not been a federal tax increase in 15 years and that would likely change if Mr. Obama is elected in November.
Mr. Norquist also criticized Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm for raising taxes in the state.
Mr. Norquist said Governor Granholm has damaged Michigan more than anyone since William Hull, who surrendered to British forces in what is now Michigan during the War of 1812.
"The left is not made up of friends and allies," Mr. Norquist said. "The left is made up of competing parasites."
Saul Anuzis, chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, acknowledged that Senator McCain's order Sunday to call off the usual festivities and even speeches scheduled for yesterday would mean less media coverage.
"There is no doubt that one of the major parts of a convention is the four days of prime-time news coverage," Mr. Anuzis said. "We don't have a choice. We have to do the right thing."
In response, Jack Hoogendyk, who is a state representative from Kalamazoo, and Mr. Anuzis organized an American Red Cross blood drive to be held today at the hotel where the delegation is staying.
Mr. Hoogendyk is running for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Carl Levin.
More than 50 people, including delegates, honorary delegates, and guests signed up to donate blood.
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