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GOP Runners-Up Appearing Tonight

Tonight could be dubbed “Runner-Up Night” at the Republican National Convention, with defeated presidential primary candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee all slated to give speeches hailing their vanquisher, presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), and slamming his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.). The trio will serve as part of the warm-up act for the highly anticipated appearance of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to accept the vice presidential nomination.

On a procedural note, Palin will be accepting a nomination she hasn’t actually been given — delegates will vote on the vice presidential nomination on Thursday. Tonight will be the traditional roll-call vote that will nominate McCain for president.

The official theme tonight is “Reform and Prosperity,” with remarks focusing on trade, the economy and small business, with “a special emphasis” on energy and the environment, according to campaign and convention officials who briefed reporters today. A nod will also be made to diversity within the GOP, with several minority speakers appearing.

In comments to reporters, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis attacked some of the coverage of Palin, saying some stories have “inappropriate” and “not factual” information. “I think they have started looking at the balance of their coverage,” Davis said of the media.