A birthday to be remembered

Sen. John McCain on Wednesday celebrated his 76th birthday with several thousand of his closest friends.

Born Aug. 29, 1936, McCain spent his big day addressing the Republican National Convention and making the case that soon-to-be presidential nominee Mitt Romney would make a strong commander in chief.

As the 2008 Republican nominee and longtime senator from Arizona spoke, convention delegates were waving signs that said, "Happy Birthday Sen. McCain."

NRA cheers "Catholic deer hunter" Ryan

It's been able to temper even the small efforts by the Obama administration to target guns, but the National Rifle Association is rallying its members and officials at the Republican National Convention around worries that President Obama will use a second term to unleash a rash of gun control laws.

"We see him as the most anti-gun president in modern times," NRA President David Keene told The Washington Examiner.

Keene said the only reason Obama hasn't succeeded in imposing new gun restrictions is the Republican opposition. But he cited reports that Obama has told Russia's president and an anti-gun lobby that he plans to push secret initiatives in a second term. "We're fearful of a second administration," Keene said.

Defeating Obama is a top priority for the NRA, Keene said. But it wasn't until Mitt Romney chose Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate that the NRA got excited about the Republican ticket.

"It will be doubly enjoyable to have a vice president who describes himself as a Catholic deer hunter," he said.

Shecky Cruz will be here all week

Texas Republican Senate candidate Ted Cruz spoke at the Patriots for Romney rally Wednesday afternoon, and proved that if this whole politics thing doesn't work out, he may have a future in stand-up comedy.

Late in his speech Cruz started to say that "Barack Obama is the most radical..." only to have a sharp blast of feedback hit the sound system. Without missing a beat, he joked: "And he's taking over the sound system!"

Cruz re-told the story of how his father was imprisoned and tortured in Cuba and survived to come to America, adding: "I cannot tell you how many conservatives... have told me 'Ted, we like you fine, but we love your dad.'" He concluded his remarks by praising the effort and determination of the Republican activists in the room. "I want to salute each and everyone of you," Cruz said. "Here are a group of people who gathered in airplanes and flew towards the hurricane."

Trace Adkins offers GOP theme: 'Tough People Do'

Ann Romney had just finished her Republican National Convention speech Tuesday night when blue-collar country star Trace Adkins unveiled a new song that could easily become Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's campaign theme song: "Tough People Do."

Performing at Liberty Plaza next to the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the top-selling baritone poured out the new song, which rivals the post-9/11 Toby Keith hit "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)."

"Tough people pull themselves up by the bootstraps when they get hit," the lyrics go. "Tough times don't last, tough people do."

Adkins hoped the song would provide a theme for Americans upset with politicians and the mainstream media, who he says have given up hope for an economic recovery. His song is likely to become a red, white and blue theme song to the blue-collar class.

In a slap at the media, Adkins sings, "Those talking heads on CNN say we'll never get out of this hole we're in. Well I'd interrupt that program with a little headline of my own. This just in from the old red, white, and blue: Tough times don't last, tough people do."

Sanford completes 'a real journey'

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford was spotted on the floor of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night.

"The delegation was kind enough to say, 'Come on by,' " Sanford told The Washington Examiner.

The now-divorced former governor was recently engaged to his Argentine mistress, the woman he was with when he snuck away from state capital for six days in 2009. His staff incorrectly told reporters that Sanford was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

As he roamed the convention floor, Sanford could be heard telling people, "It's been a real journey."

By Sean Higgins, Paul Bedard and Philip Klein