Kirk: RNC is Super Bowl of politics |

Kirk: RNC is Super Bowl of politics

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. ” The Republican National Convention got back on track Tuesday with “electrifying” energy in support of Sen. John McCain, said Tom Kirk, Eagle County’s only delegate to the convention.

“Last night, it was like when you get to a big NFL football game, like the Super Bowl,” said Kirk, 79, of West Vail. “It was really exciting just to be in the arena.”

The convention, in Minneapolis and St. Paul, had a subdued tone for the first couple of days, Kirk said, as many events were canceled while Hurricane Gustav threatened the Gulf Coast.

But on Tuesday, after the threat from Gustav had subsided, a frenzied crowd rallied as several speakers, including President George Bush, former Sen. Fred Thompson and Sen. Joe Lieberman, addressed the convention, Kirk said.

“The whole night was just serious applause, standing up and sitting down,” Kirk said. “We really caught the fever.”

For Kirk, the highlight of the evening was the speech from Thompson, who also starred on the TV show “Law and Order.”

“I felt very strongly that his talk was nothing short of magnificent and will really get a lot of play in the press,” Kirk said.

Thompson criticized Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama, calling him “the most liberal, most inexperienced nominee to ever run for president.”

Thompson was “able to shoot barbs, really needle the Obama camp,” Kirk said.

Bush addressed the crowd via video.

“He didn’t come because he was down at the site of the hurricane,” Kirk said.

Kirk continues to talk to delegates about his connections to McCain, with whom he was a prisoner of war in 1970 and 1971 in Vietnam.

The retired Air Force colonel was one of six former POWs who were interviewed by CBS on Tuesday. The interview will air this morning on CBS’s “Early Show,” Kirk said.

Kirk said he was excited to hear from McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was scheduled to speak Wednesday evening at the convention.

“It’s starting to be electrifying,” Kirk said. “It’s really exciting to be here.”

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or

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