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Miller: Democrats' thinking is 'warped'

Democratic Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia explains why he plans to vote for President George Bush in November.
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Keynote speaker Senator Zell Miller addresses the RNC.
Miller address (part 2)

Miller may burn some bridges by speaking at the GOP convention.

• Transcript: Miller speech
Day Four: Thursday

Theme: 'A Safer World, a More Hopeful America'

7:45 to 11:15 p.m. ET: Those appearing include Mary Lou Retton, Dorothy Hamill, Lynn Swann, Cardinal Egan, George Pataki, and George W. Bush, speaking in acceptance of the Republican nomination for president
America Votes 2004
Zell Miller
Republican National Convention

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Democratic Sen. Zell Miller, saying that "family is more important than my party," told delegates to the Republican National Convention that he is proud to stand up for President Bush.

"What has happened to the party I've spent my life working in?" Miller asked.

"Time after time in our history, in the face of great danger, Democrats and Republicans worked together to ensure that freedom would not falter. But not today.

"Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator."

Miller gave a keynote speech at the Democratic convention in 1992, also in New York. At that time, he called his "a party of hope" and said Republicans "dealt in cynicism and skepticism."

"They have mastered the art of division and diversion, and they have robbed us of our hope."

Wednesday night, Miller said Democrats lacked good judgment, not patriotism.

"In their warped way of thinking, America is the problem, not the solution," Miller said. "They don't believe there is any real danger in the world except that which America brings upon itself through our clumsy and misguided foreign policy."

Miller also went after Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Miller, a former Marine, said Kerry has weakened the military through his votes as a senator.

"This is the man who wants to be the commander in chief of our U.S. Armed Forces?" he asked "U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?"

The crowd then jumped to its feet, roaring with applause.

Referring to the Senate record of his Senate colleague from Massachusetts, Miller said "20 years of votes can tell you much more about a man than 20 weeks of campaign rhetoric."

"Campaign talk tells people who you want them to think you are. How you vote tells people who you really are deep inside."

Miller said he supports George Bush because the president has "a good heart and a spine of tempered steel." The two met when both were governors and the Georgian appreciated the Texan for his religious beliefs and his straightforward manner.

"I like the fact that he's the same man on Saturday night that he is on Sunday morning," Miller said. (Transcript)

The Georgian, who is not seeking re-election, had sharp criticisms of his party. Democrats have said Miller is a member of the party in name only.

Miller, who was appointed and then elected in 2000 to fill the term of the late Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell, will retire when the term ends in January.

He also wrote a scathing book about what he sees as the Democrats' drift into irrelevancy, called "A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat."

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, a frequent target of Miller's crusty Appalachian wit, went so far Wednesday as to accuse the senator of attacking his own party to sell books.

"If he were just another Republican with a book, he wouldn't sell any. But a Democrat out whacking Democrats sells books," McAuliffe told CNN, urging Miller to switch parties.

Democratic National Committee spokesman Jano Cabrera released a statement afterward, saying Miller sounded like an "angry, rabid elephant."

"His speech was nothing more than a series of irrational and inconsistent political attacks cobbled together by his Republican handlers," Cabrera said. "And though three years ago, he called John Kerry a friend, one of the greatest leaders of our time and an authentic hero, tonight, for political and personal gain, he adopted the smear tactic refrains of the Bush administration."

CNN's Richard Shumate in New York contributed to this report.

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