Hayes' speech gets cut, but trip still delivers

Lindale's "great debater" returns from the Republican National Convention, where he was asked to speak. Unfortunately, Hurricane Gustav stole his thunder, and speech had to be cut at the last moment. But as he shares with KLTV 7's Courtney Lane tonight, he still got the trip of a lifetime, and is feeling a bit overwhelmed after meeting some of the Republican party's top leaders.

Mother nature may have stolen his spotlight, but not here on KLTV 7.

Here's a part of the speech Philip Hayes had prepared for the convention, where John McCain is accepting his presidential nomination.

"The world needs an America that is unshakable in this pursuit of liberty and America needs a President who is unwavering in his defense of freedom."

The entire speech was two minutes long.

"I worked with a policy advisor, one of the speech writers for McCain's team and we'd written up a speech had it loaded up in the teleprompter, went to a rehearsal Tuesday afternoon then found out it had been postponed," said Hayes.

Philip says he's still reeling from all the political leaders he got to meet up close and personal.

"Backstage was Bill Frist, the former Senate Majority leader, so I got to meet with him, talk with him a little bit, get my picture with him. That was a lot of fun. Joe Lieberman was backstage...I had breakfast with the Texas Delegation Tuesday morning that Mike Huckabee spoke at," said Hayes.

But the one who left the biggest impression on him was Fred Thompson.

"I had favored him in the primaries and to see him in person and to see the crowd get all enthused, that was fun."

He just got back last night from Minnesota, and is still feeling fired up.

"You can see the energy on the television but when you're actually there you can feel the stadium shake as they chant USA, the enthusiasm that everybody feels. The belief in America and the future of America,"

An opportunity he'll never forget, but for now, it's back to earth and finishing up his senior year.

Phillip was asked to speak at the convention, after winning a national debating contest. He won $150,000 in scholarships for that.

Courtney Lane, reporting. clane@kltv.com