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The BBC's Philippa Thomas
"In his speech, there were many direct echoes to Reagan"
 real 56k

The BBC's Nick Bryant
"The most important speech of his life"
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Friday, 4 August, 2000, 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK
Bush eyes White House
George W Bush and his wife Laura
Mr Bush was greeted with rapturous applause
The American presidential candidate, George W Bush, has said the United States is enjoying a time of great promise and he intends to seize the moment.

Waves of applause swept the convention hall as Mr Bush formally accepted the Republican Party's nomination.


I believe this will be a tough race, down to the wire

George W Bush
In front of more than 2,000 delegates and millions of television viewers, he accused President Clinton of squandering America's wealth, power and influence and was careful to tie his challenger Al Gore to the president.

"I believe this will be a tough race, down to the wire," he said.

Prosperity

George Bush
Mr Bush saluted his father and former president George Bush
He said the Democrats had failed leadership tests - on tending to the military, on education, on social programmes and moral leadership.

"They had their chance," he said. "They have not led. We will," he added.

He was cheered by delegates as he accused the Clinton-Gore administration of coasting through its eight years in office.

"The path of least resistance is always downhill. But America's way is the rising way. This nation is daring and decent and ready for change."

Ridicule

And there were lighter moments. Mr Bush poked fun at his rival for claiming to have been key to the development of the internet.


"We will extend the promise of prosperity to every forgotten corner of this country

George Bush
He ridiculed Mr Gore for calling every Republican proposal a risky scheme.

"If he'd been there when Edison was testing the light bulb, it would have been a 'risky anti-candle scheme'," he said with a straight-faced, adding: "If he had been there at the birth of the internet..."

At which point, the convention room erupted into howls of laughter.

Earlier, volunteers had moved among the delegates distributing hand-painted signs, which were waved vigorously while they cheered.

Foreign policy

In an attempt to portray him as a man lacking in presidential credentials, Mr Bush's opponents have capitalised on his lack of foreign policy credentials.

Addressing the issue, he committed himself to deploying a controversial new missile defence system, which the Russians and Chinese say would breach a major arms control treaty.

George Cheney
Republican running mate, George Cheney, had already delivered his speech
He said now was not the time to defend out-dated treaties but to protect the American people.

The world needed American strength and he would spend more on the armed forces, he said.

But, while acknowledging that he "lacked the polish of Washington", he portrayed this as a welcome attribute, saying he had no enemies to fight.

"I have no stake in the bitter arguments of the last few years. I want to change the tone of Washington to one of civility and respect," he said.

Correspondents say his many comments about the dignity of the presidency will resonate with many Americans.

In keeping with the convention's efforts to dispel the Republican image as the party of the white and well-off, he said all Americans should share in the country's economic boom times and promise.

Mr Bush's speech appear to have gone down well with the party faithfuls, who stamped their feet and chanted "It won't be long now."

But correspondents say the it was short on specifics and long on sweeping rhetoric.

As Mr Bush finished speaking, an estimated 150,000 balloons wafted down from the ceiling, as confetti almost obscured the Texas governor and his wife Laura from view.

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See also:

04 Aug 00 | Americas
Convention taps into net appeal
04 Aug 00 | Americas
In pictures: Republican Convention
04 Aug 00 | Election news
Who's watching the Convention?
03 Aug 00 | Americas
Bush puts charity before welfare
03 Aug 00 | Americas
US political spending attacked
03 Aug 00 | Americas
Cheney goes on the attack
02 Aug 00 | Americas
Bush backs missile defence system
04 Aug 00 | Americas
Analysis: Bush's case for change
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