Lieberman and Giuliani signal big tent for GOP convention

Although the Democratic convention and long, long anticipated naming of Barack Obama's running mate is all the news this week, the GOP is still churning out news of their own with the announcement that former Mayor Rudy Giuiliani and former Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman will have prime speaking roles in this year's Republican convention.

Giuliani is the Mark Warner of the GOP convention - in terms of speaking assignments. Both he and Warner address their respective crowds on the Tuesday night of their conventions.

Lieberman, on the other hand, leads off the night with the most sheer starpower (starpower and high approval ratings are not necessarily exclusive). Lieberman is joined by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vice President Dick Cheney, First Lady Laura Bush and President George W. Bush.

It is likely that both the President and Lieberman, who were on opposite sides of the ticket back in 2000, could not have foreseen the night when they would both be on stage at the same convention endorsing John McCain. But no one thought David Lee Roth would ever play with Van Halen again either.

On Tuesday, Giuliani is joined by two former presidential candidates laid waste by the McCain machine including the likable but easily beatable Fred Thompson and Chuck Norris's best friend Mike Huckabee.

A couple vice presidential possibilities are on the slate Tuesday night as well with former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge and the longshot always described as "telegenic" -- Alaska Governor Sarah Palin -- getting speaking time.

Wednesday sees the likes of the yet-to-be-named vice presidential nominee but not before Cindy McCain and a few other vice presidential maybes get some time on the stage. Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindahl, former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina and one of McCain's three people he trusts most - Ebay CEO Meg Whitman -- all have speaking roles.

As we all know, Florida is an important state so the convention honchos are loading up a whole lot of Florida before McCain gives his speech on Thursday night, including newly married Florida Governor Charlie Crist and Florida Senator Mel Martinez.

Is it possible to tell who is going to get the VP nod based on these speaking assignments? No way, said one convention mouthpiece. The spokesperson, who wished to remain on background and was a bit cranky said, "Go ahead and speculate but it is a waste of time."

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