Thursday Convention Schedule (UPDATED)

A senior Republican official said in a conference call this morning that tonight’s convention theme will highlight peace and putting country first. McCain will receive a video introduction at 9 CT and then deliver his acceptance speech. Mark Salter, who has been involved in writing McCain’s speech for this evening, said McCain will call on the political establishment in Washington to put country first instead of self. His talking points include how and why he wants to lead the country, his preparedness to lead, how he and Obama differ on issues of policy, his record of reform, his plan to change status quo in Washington, and an appeal for bipartisanship.

The RNC said the new stage design — which extends the stage farther into the audience — will put McCain where he’s most comfortable: in and around people.

Other highlights include remarks by Cindy McCain around 8:30. Mrs. McCain will talk about causes she has been involved in around the world and that Americans have joined together in helping to support.

Tonight’s schedule also includes the nomination of Sarah Palin, since the vice presidential nominee cannot be nominated before the presidential nominee (which happened after Palin’s speech last night).

The new lineup for tonight includes the following:

6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Speaker: U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.)
Speaker: Erik Paulsen
Speaker: Jay Love
Speaker: Charlie Summers
Speaker: Aaron Schock
Speaker: David Cappiello
Speaker: U.S. Sen. John Ensign (Nev.)
Video: “Country First: Peace,” with narration by Robert Duvall
Statement of Rule Regarding Vice Presidential Nomination; Recognition of Delegates Making Motions; and Adoption and Announcement of Nominee: U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.)
Speaker: Maria Cino, President and CEO of the 2008 Republican National Convention
Speaker: U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.)
Speaker: The Honorable Rosario Marin

7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Speaker: Joe Watkins
Speaker: U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez (Fla.)
Speaker: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.)
Speaker with Video: Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.)
Speaker: Lt. Gen. Carol Mutter, USMC (Ret.)
Speaker: U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.)
Speaker: U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin (Okla.)
Video: “World Stood Still”

8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Speaker: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.)
Video: “Vice Presidential Nominee Governor Sarah Palin”
Speaker: Former Gov. Tom Ridge (Penn.)
Video: “America’s Place in the World”
Speaker: Mrs. Cindy McCain

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Video: “Senator John McCain”
Speaker: Presidential Nominee John McCain

10 p.m. to Conclusion
Floor Demonstration, Balloon Drop, McCain and Palin Families on Stage
Introduction of Presiding Officer: U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio)
Benediction: Pastor Dan Yeary
Introduction of Delegate for Motion, Adoption and Adjournment: U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio)

Update: Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (6-7 timeslot), Joe Gibbs and Brian Clay (7-8 timeslot) have been added to program.