(CNN) – Hillary Clinton praised the historic nature of John McCain's vice presidential selection in a brief statement released Friday that was eagerly anticipated by both presidential campaigns.
“We should all be proud of Governor Sarah Palin's historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Senator McCain," Clinton, the first woman to win a presidential primary, said in the statement. "While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Governor Palin will add an important new voice to the debate.”
The McCain campaign has made little secret of the fact the selection of Palin - the first woman to appear on a Republican presidential ticket - was in part designed to court supporters of Clinton's White house bid, some of whom feel the New York senator was treated unfairly during the primaries because of her gender and remain wary of supporting Obama.
Palin directly mentioned Clinton by name in her acceptance speech earlier Friday, saying, "Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all."
Clinton's statement reacting to Palin is markedly different than the Obama campaign's initial reaction which made no mention of the historic nature of the Alaska Republican's VP candidacy - instead painting her as woefully inexperienced to be commander-in-chief. The Obama campaign later released a joint statement from both the Illinois senator and his running mate, Joe Biden, praising Palin for making history.
It remains unclear just how many former Clinton supporters Palin may attract, but California Sen. Barbara Boxer said Friday that McCain is "badly mistaken" if he expects backers of the New York senator to break ranks with the Democratic party because of Palin.