NEW YORK – Gov. George Pataki (search) praised President Bush on Thursday night as a man of "supreme guts and rightness," qualities he said are necessary to protect the country after Sept. 11.
The governor of New York thanked the nation for helping his state after the Sept. 11 attacks (search), saying that on that day, "all Americans became New Yorkers."
"This great state rolled up its sleeves, looked terrorism straight in the face, and spat in its eye," Pataki said in his introduction of Bush.
Pataki, a three-term governor whose moderate image may help woo swing voters uncertain about Bush's stewardship of the war on terror and the economy, said the president was uniquely suited to lead on both issues.
Pataki also accused John Kerry of wavering on important issues over the years, saying the Democratic presidential candidate "has to Google his own name to find out where he stands."
The governor's star turn on the convention schedule has fueled talk Pataki may run for president in 2008, and the governor made a point of visiting with delegates from New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary.
Standing before screaming, flag-waving delegates, Pataki began his speech praising three states for acts of kindness after Sept. 11: Pennsylvania, Ohio and Oregon. All three are coveted swing states in the presidential election.
Pataki also took direct aim at Kerry's claim that the United States should go to war only when it must, not when it wants to fight.
"Well, excuse me, senator: The firefighters and cops who ran into those burning towers and died on Sept. 11th didn't want to go to war, they were heroes in a war they didn't even know existed," he said.
Pataki said Al Qaeda (search) badly miscalculated. "There's only one thing they didn't bank on. They didn't bank on George W. Bush," he said.
He repeatedly emphasized Bush as a determined leader who fulfilled his pledges to lower taxes, improve schools, and bring the fight to the terrorists.
"On Sept. 11, we had a president who didn't wring his hands and wonder what America had done wrong to deserve this attack," Pataki said.