August 29th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Gergen: Talk about a bold gamble!

Palin is making activists on both sides of the aisle smile.
Palin is making activists on both sides of the aisle smile.

John McCain's selection of a running mate represents the first one I can remember that has brought smiles to activists on both sides of the aisle.

Among conservatives, one hears nothing but praise for Governor Sarah Palin - she is strongly pro-life, a long-time member of the NRA, a fiscal hawk, and an interesting combination of charm and toughness. She helps to bring the party back to its conservative roots. With the commitments that McCain made at Saddleback that he would run a pro-life administration, social conservatives - especially evangelicals - can now rally to the McCain-Palin ticket with genuine enthusiasm. McCain seemingly is helping to close the enthusiasm gap on his side.

Yet among Democrats, there is lots of positive acclaim as well. From their perspective, the one argument that McCain has used so effectively against them is that we live in a highly dangerous world - he repeatedly calls terrorism "the transcendent issue of our times" - and Barack Obama has so little national security experience that he represents too much of a risk. Now, say the Dems, here we have a 72-year-old candidate - the oldest to ever seek the office for the first time - and he has asked someone to be a heartbeat away from the presidency who has no national security experience at all - none, nada. Democrats think McCain has completely undercut his strongest argument. They are also relieved that he didn't choose Mitt Romney, who brings a lot of economic understanding and would have been helpful in a big battleground state like Michigan.

So, smiles on both sides. What is uncertain is how uncommitted voters will respond - especially women who might have voted for Hillary Clinton. Clearly, the GOP is betting that Sarah Palin can bring them back. Are they right? Meanwhile, Democrats have told me that a lot of Clinton women will be shooed away by Palin's conservatism - and some will even be insulted. Are they right?

Would love your thoughts.

Read other reaction from Paul Begala and Ed Rollins


Filed under: David Gergen • Sarah Palin
soundoff (145 Responses)
  1. John

    I just do not understand how one can gamble with the important job of the VP.

    I thought McCain wants to put the country first?

    August 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. Rich in Seattle

    Does McCain really think that the Hillary supporters are going to switch over to him because he picked a woman. Being a woman wasn't the only reason they voted for Hillary, she had experience and judgement to be President. McCain should give women more credit than to think they would run to him simply because he picked a woman.

    I find this choice insulting to the Hillary supporters. How shallow do you think they are? It's about substance, not gender.

    McCain and the Republicans simply don't get it.

    August 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Butch

    Unbelievable. Pandering. Insulting. Worthy of George W. on the brilliance curve.

    August 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. NoMcSame

    Just like the maverick that I remember, a crappy old car that was good for nothing that the ownwers even hated. Sounds like mcSame to me. If GWBush is happy about a pick, LOOK OUT.
    Can you say OIL, POW, OIL, POW, OIL, POW.
    Obama08

    August 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  5. Melissa, New York, NY

    I just hope Dems don't feel like they have to pull their punches just because Palin is a woman.

    August 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. JOE KILOZ

    D A V I D,,,,,,,,,,R E A D,,,,,,,,,,, T H E ,,,,,,,,,,,B I O,,,,,,,,,,,,,T H I S,,,,,,,,,,,L A D Y,

    H A S,,,,,,,,,,,,A ,,,,,,,,,,,T E R R I F I C,,,,,,,,,,,,,S T O R Y,,,,,,T O,,,,,,,,,,T E L L,,,,,

    C H I E F ,,,,,,,,,,,,E X E C U T I V E,,,,,,,,,M A V E R I C K,,,,,,,,,,,,,N O T,,,,,,,,,,,

    A F R A I D,,,,,,,,,,T O,,,,,,,,,,,,S H A K E ,,,,,,,,,, U P,,,,,,,,,,,,,E I T H E R,,,,,,,,,,,,

    P A R T Y,,,,,,,,,,,,N O W,,,,,,,,,,I ' M,,,,,,,,,,,,V O T I N G,,,,,,M C C A I N,,,,,,,,,,,,

    P A L I N

    August 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. Scott L

    Nobody is talking about Obama's speech last night. I love it!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. ObamasTheOnlyChoice

    anybody else notice that most of the people in the picture look stunned??? Look like they have absolutly no idea who this women is???? Look like they're thinking "the the heck is McCain thinking??"

    August 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. stacy

    I love Hillary and I can go with this Mrs. Palin, she has guts, looks
    and very intelligent. I am very excited. Has been in Vogue so can
    rank with Michelle Obama on style.

    August 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. UBY

    Bad choice for V.P and I will tell you why:

    McCain needed someone who is an expert on the Economy (someone like Mitt Romney or even Pawlenty would do) but he picked one with little expertise on this crucial issue. The economy will be the key issue in this election.

    McCain and the Republicans have made Obama's inexperience an issue. The question now is – Can Palin step in to be the President God forbid something happens to McCain( McCain is 72 years old) ? I do not think so.

    Palin has only been the Governor of Alaska for 2 years and prior to that was the Mayor of a small town. I wouldn't be critical of this fact had she been the mayor of Los Angeles or even better the Mayor of New York City; these are big cities with big challenges.

    Palin is NOT a Hillary Clinton who for 35 years has been a champion on women issues. I don't see die hard Clinton supporters (women) enthusiastically want to support a McCainTicket because of his pick.

    Democrats all over this great Nation must be rejoicing today. McCain you have made some good choices in the past but this is definitely not one of them.

    August 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Katherine H.

    Yes, it's insulting. It's so completely transparent what McCain has attempted to do here. It won't work. Independent-minded women like me will not fall for this trick. I will either not vote in November or I will start listening more closely to what Obama offers. Either way, John McCain has lost my vote.

    August 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. mk

    The idea that Mcain thinks Hillary supporters will vote for any woman he can dredge up is what makes this so insulting.
    She may be a wonderful mother and a really nice person but she is NOT HILLARY.

    August 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. TRICIA

    Social conservatives are thrilled? Have they not heard the reports suggesting her 5 month old is actually the child of her 16 year old, unwed daughter? Credible reports, mind you, from her home state, dating back to her announcement that she was 7 months pregnant–and even her own staff found it hard to believe. Meanwhile, her daughter had not been in school for months due to a long bout of "mono", they said.

    What happened to abstinence first?

    Hypocrites.

    August 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Population of Chicago IL – 2,896,016
    Population of the entire State of Alaska – 670,053

    So much for 'executive experience'

    Palin is anti-choice, anti-environment, and under investigation for abuse of power. It is folly to think that Hillary's true supporters will flock to a McCain/Palin ticket.

    August 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. Jim

    I am curious to see what the next round of polling looks like. A part of me hope's it's close so Dem's will come full force in November and not get lazy, but another hope's we get a huge bump for abvious reasons.

    August 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. Pat Riot

    The move to select Palin wasn't to retain Clinton supporters....IT WAS TO RALLY CONSERVATIVES! As a conservative I have never been more excited. John McCain has secured my vote. These are the actions of a maverick. I would gladly vote for Palin as president if given the opportunity. I have always admired her for her unwaivering principled integrity. She very much reminds me of a Goldwater, Taft or Reagan!

    August 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. CONCERNED CITIZEN

    this should confirm that the republicans have no plans for this country but business as usual. He picks a woman only to try to win the so-called disafrenchised women Hillary supporters. He hasn't said one word about his plans for this country. Whether you agree or disagree with Sen. Obama's plans, at least he put his out there to be accepted or criticized. I look at this and see the old tactic of when a discrimination or sexual harrasment is filed against a company, you can always bet that the representative who comes on television is a black person (discrimination) or a woman (sexual harrasment). DON'T FALL FOR IT FOLKS, THIS GUY COULD CARE LESS ABOUT WOMEN.

    August 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. Greg, NY

    Hillary supporters that rally around Palin might be possible until Hillary comes out and slams her on the issues.

    Palin is the exact opposite of Hillary on every single issue. Hillary has 35 years of public service, what does Palin have?

    She was mayor of a town with a population of what 7,000? And now is the governor of a state with a population of 700,000.

    Great, me being from NY, the mayor of NYC is more experienced than that, since NYC has a population of over 8 million.

    August 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. Dan J

    It's a bigger gamble to have an inexperienced President than an inexperienced Vice President.

    This shows that McCain is not going to be a lame duck President. He is willing to make bold decisions. America needs that.

    August 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. Kjetil

    If a woman that liked Hillary vote for a old grumpy man and Palin when both are against gay rights, both are against that woman can chose, both are against that normal folks should get tax-cut and both are against health care. So why should a woman go against Hillary on issue and issue. If Clinton should be a President she might be it in 2016. Why do the Hillary supporters want a woman from Alska to be president before Hillary? And that is even against everything Clinton stands for.

    August 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. Ryan in NC

    Awesome. Who needs Hillary! We got a better female!
    This pick will bring all of the women voters over to the winning Republican side. McCain really made the decision of the election with this superior VP pick. Even our president GW Bush says this is a great idea! Obama and Biden don't stand a snowballs chance in July against this team. Wait until the debates. It won't even be close. The Clinton dynasty is over!
    McCain/Palin in 08

    August 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. Mormon

    Is this woman a mormon? What a dumb move by the GOP. Shameless pandering, anything to get McCain in the whitehouse, he should have picked someone with an economic background or meat on her resume, something, not another GOP puppet.

    August 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  23. THANK YOU JOHN MCCAIN!!!

    Runner Up---------–MRS. ALASKA!!! BEAUTY CONTEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. NotFallingInLine.org

    Sarah Palin for Vice President is no more a bold gamble than Barack Obama for President.

    Face it. McCain has chosen someone who fits him well AND has managed to get everyone talking about the importance of experience, which Obama does not have.

    Checkmate.

    I wish the leaders of my party would have thought through the implications of their choices. They've totally failed us.

    August 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  25. internet_winter

    McCain is not only gambling with his campaign, he's now gambling with the future of this nation should he win.

    Sarah Pallin hasn't even made it through a complete budget cycle as governor, how is she going to manage the largest economy in the world if she has to succeed McCain?

    August 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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