September 3rd, 2008
11:48 PM ET
6 years ago

Gergen: Palin delivers

Palin addressed the RNC Wednesday.
Palin addressed the RNC Wednesday.

Republicans got everything they could possibly want from Sarah Palin tonight: she was a large, confident personality - one Democratic friend ruefully wrote that she reminded him of Ann Richards - and she delivered an extremely well crafted speech. Before the speech, Republican strategists told Dana Bash of CNN that they hoped that she would show viewers "a common touch with executive presence", and she definitely succeeded at that.

Three things in particular stood out:

1. She joked that the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is ...lipstick. Clearly, in the next few weeks, she will play the role of a pit bull with lipstick. My sense is that she will very likely connect with blue collar America but may be much less successful in suburban America.

2. Her personal story is also one that will relate well to people. She has a quality of seeming like the girl next door.

3. She showed a lot of confidence in addressing energy toward the end of the speech, which gave her more substantive depth.

Now let us be clear: there will be tons of Democrats and others who will disagree with her and will take sharp exception with her views. Her jabs at Barack Obama and the Democrats were surprisingly personal at times. And she will face tough questioning ahead from the press. After all, there are still some serious questions about what kind of president she might be. We are going to have a rough and tumble race down the home stretch.

soundoff (1,124 Responses)
  1. Paul, Tampa

    She gave a rather mixed speech, impressive when you consider she has never given a speech a crowd bigger than a few thousand people. Unfortunately, she sounded much more like Ann Coulter in her lack of respect for the truth and facts. There was plenty of attack and very little evidence that this VP candidate grasps the intricacies that are part and parcel to the problems facing America. It would have been a great speech if she was in Guliani's slot, but as a VP all I can say OMG, if they get elected we are all in big trouble.

    September 3, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  2. Shirley-Ohio

    I do not know what cubby hole she climbed out of but she needs to go get right back in it. Who in the hell did she think she was coming out and attacking people like. The really turned off the people on the left and I can guarantee you a lot of the people on the right. All they did all night was attack, attack and attack but no one said what they would do for the American people. They constantly said what Obama won't do but never one said what they would do. Listen here Republicans, Obama is turn red states blue, this should scare the hell out of you. People are realizing that the Republican Party is full of lies and scandals as is Palin. The vetting of Palin has only just begun and after attacking so many people in her speech best believe people in Alaska is going to starting telling everything they know about her. Brace yourself.

    September 3, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  3. Anthony

    She brought Michelle Obama in this. They will tear her up.

    September 3, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  4. Stacey

    THINK AGAIN DAVID. I AM INSULTED COMPLETELY. The filth that spewed out of that woman's mouth was VILE. I am appalled that THIS is the "woman" (pit bull) we are stuck with. NOT THIS WOMAN; NOT THIS TIME!!

    September 3, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  5. Robert

    Palin read the sentences written for her. This felt like a series of one liners read off of note cards. I don't think anyone but the already excited extreme right supporters are going to go for this pandering. Her speech was inherently contradictory in its tone and message. She looked unsteadily vicious, if that is possible.

    It is interesting that Palin is claiming a mantle of reform that is hardly supported by what we are all recently learning about her. Her neighbors and political peers are telling everyone how much she bullied those with other opinions and demanded that people stay loyal over staying willing to disagree. Additionally, it turns out she was a huge proponent of pork legislation. Wasilla had a higher pork project to inhabitant ratio than probably 99% of America. John McCain has even publicly opposed by name 3 projects she hired a lobbyist to play games with Sen Stevens to try to lobby.

    Remind you of anyone? (HInt: A less experienced Bush)

    It is scary that she is one heartbeat away from the presidency if we elect her.

    September 3, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  6. Patricia in SF

    Of course the Dems knew she would go for the cheap, pandering attacks. They have 70 pages of opposition research, much of it highlighting her abuses of power dating back to her first days in office of her little hamlet.

    And one of the phrases most often used about her "management style" is "BULLYING".

    Other key phrases, "BACKPEDDLING, WHINING, CANNOT GRASP THE TRUTH".

    Though Peggy Noonan would love to spin it away...
    "It's over".

    September 3, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  7. Yngvai

    I don't want a "girl next door" as a vice president. Most of my next door neighbors would make horrible leaders

    September 3, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  8. common sense

    Isn’t it funny how politicians always start their speeches by trying to relate to small town upbringing and blue collar roots? In Palin, we have the real deal.

    When a Democratic Presidential nominee has to defend his total executive experience (running a campaign) against a Republican VICE Presidential nominee, it makes you wonder how and who got hoodwinked.

    There’s change coming alright…in the form of two Mavericks!

    Yes we will!

    McCain/Palin 2008

    September 3, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  9. Josh

    My brother has severe autism, and the republicans have done nothing to help him. Her using her baby is sick and disgusting.

    September 3, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  10. Peter - Denver

    John McCain has ZERO executive experience. ZERO!

    September 3, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  11. lisa

    Will the 'liberal media' please take McShame to task on his less than stellar voting record on VETS ISSUES? He'll milk his POW experience to no end, but when it comes to supporting veterans he opposes the GI bill and funding, DOESN'T THAT SAY IT ALL ABOUT WHAT KIND OF PERSON MCSHAME IS??!!
    WHY IS NO ONE, INCLUDING THE 'LIBERAL MEDIA' , CALLING HIM ON HIS CRAP?!!
    THE MEDIA IS GIVING MCSHAME A FREE RIDE.

    tonight made me sick and sad and scared. To go from Obama's integrity and the high road and actually speaking to the people- I guess 'community organizer' that the republicans disparage so much doesn't count. Only war counts. The republicans stooped to every low blow they could, fearmongering and manipulation and outright lies. It's the end of this country if we fall for this ugly nonsense again.

    As for the sexism, it's really weird when Palin calls Hillary a whiner for complaining about sexism, when HIllary worked her butt off to get where she did. Where as Palin was chosen by a man....

    why is criticism of Palin sexist but criticism of Obama isn't racist?

    September 3, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  12. Oleg

    She is scary in every way. She lied a lot in her speech, and her attacks were too ugly. I think it will backfire, because people can compare facts with what she just told. Democrats have enormous advantage both on issues and on personalities. There was nothing new in Palin speech on issues, and she has just widen gap on personalities.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    September 3, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  13. Ari

    I listened to her speech. It made me wish that I had Smirnoff in the house. This woman is more annoing than Dana Perino and has no ideas of her own. Barack Obama has been very clear about his platform. Also, if Palin is a corruption fighter than why is she under investigation for it by her republican controlled legislature? She cannot claim to stand up to the interests of big oil when her husband is an oil executive and she believes in drill here, drill now.

    September 3, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  14. Shirley-Ohio

    PALIN DELIVERED NOTHING BUT A SPEECH AND ATTACKED PEOPLE SHE KNEW NOTHING ABOUT. THE MEDIA IS NOT DONE WITH HE YET. THERE WAS A STORY IN THE NATIONAL INQUIRY THAT SHE HAD AN EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIR AND THE MCCAIN CAMP IS THREATENING A LAW SUIT. IT ONLY JUST BEGUN, ITS ONLY JUST BEGUN

    September 3, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  15. Moderate

    Has anyone noticed the hypocrits that have been posting on these articles tonight? They attack the Republicans for attacking Obama. The very things they are yelling about are the very things they are doing. Come on people. Use logic, reason, and common sense to make important decisions. Not emotion and misinterpreted facts. It doesn't matter if you're Democrat or Republican. Listen, educate yourselves, and stop the hypocrisy.

    September 3, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  16. PJ

    Kudos to the person who wrote Palin's speech. Now, can she write her own speech?

    September 3, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  17. Angelina

    So she established herself as an attack dog. Fine. But apart from taking cheap shots at Obama, what did she say about the direction that she and McCain will take the country?

    Nothing.

    September 3, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  18. jaguar

    This was an empty speech. Definitely unpresidential. Lacked taste for the most part. The democrats have the white house in their sights. The elections this fall is theirs......

    September 3, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  19. Alan Boyer

    OK...you can't throw punches and then run and hide by hide grandpa. You can't have it both ways. She delivered a speech. Let's see what the answers to the questions about her decisions and behaviors in office.

    September 3, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  20. Hillary Supporter

    This woman is a bully, She does not have reform, she abused her powers, her husband want to separate from the United States, and she makes excuses for her own behavior by saying the elite are attacking her. And you called Hillary a whiner? Game on

    September 3, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  21. Karen

    Palin might actually be the real deal. A genuine, gritty, get the job done woman who is not a puppet of the Washington establishment. Not even Hillary can claim that! Hmmm. I like her.

    September 3, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  22. george

    way to go cnn!! you finally allowed someone who wasn't a complete obamabot (whoever this "schneider" guy was) to finally post a ticker article. too bad you let some clown named "schneider" post a DOZEN articles in a row and IMMEDIATELY closed the comments to keep anyone from disagreeing.
    let's see if your moderators even let this comment get through.

    September 3, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  23. kescia

    Mean spirited.

    September 3, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  24. AOA

    it's easy when you are not talking to a particularly bright crowd....are we forgetting they still think Bush is a genius?!

    September 3, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  25. carl

    palin sounded like a angry sarcastic woman.
    she doesn't represent the america i know.

    mccain an palin only represent the republican party.

    we don't need another 4 years like the last 8 we've had
    they don't get it .

    mcain an bush the same.

    vote obama an biden 2008. change for all america not just their party.

    September 3, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
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