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. willowood

    I found her speech to be just okay. Hardly a Vice-Presidential speech, for someone who needed phonetic spelling for the difficult words. Mr. Gergen, doesn't that tell you anything at all? What is the possibility of commenting on mean spirited comments and outright lies from either party? I found her voice to be a bit shrill and difficult to listen to after a while. I think she will be better on the road. There is so much to be done for this country and so little time. The fact that the number of black republican delegates is the lowest it has been in 40 years, is all I need to know. I am becoming ill over this devisive campaign.

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  2. Cindy

    OK, at one point is there a requirement that she say something? Her personal story is fine and I think she needed to tell that since we know nothing about her and still do not. However, so much that she said about Obama was just words. If she stood up and said Zebras had spots, I guess it would be bold, but it would not be true. Let's set some standards here folks.

    Also, she sold the jet, Jerry Brown sold the mansion; she drives herself to work, Biden takes the train. Big deal, why don't you tell me why she is a capable VP?

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  3. lisa moon

    I am a Hillary supporter. After tonight I have jumped ship and gotten onto the Sarah Palin life raft. The media doesn't have a realistic view of what american really is anymore. Sarah Palin understands, and embodies the american dream for women. Barack needs to concede defeat, and get out of the way. Women everywhere are going to be running for local political office in our small towns. She just reset the bar......

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  4. ebony

    I thought she was despicable! Very condescending and smug! There was no reason for that! She is just coming on the scene and we don't even know her and she doesn't know Obama! I just thought she was very disrespectful and I really did not like the speech!

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  5. Wil in L.A.

    Country First??? When did the Republicans drop Family First and Family Values....guess that failed with a divorced pres-canditate and a vp-candidate who preached abstinance-only, but not for her own family.

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  6. Exactly

    Sorry, Gergen. you can't fathom out how I might have reacted with Palin's speech when I'm a voter. i think the GOP should exactly specify their issues rather than just firing arrows at the well prepared Dems

    Obama/Biden08 I repeat!

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  7. jeff

    She seems to have issues remembering some facts. Did Rudy do the fact checking for her?

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  8. TX2Step

    What I found most offensive about the self described pitbull is her lack of grace...Obama could have ripped into your inability to teach abstinence to your own child, but he displayed a maturity sorely lacking in our politics and you come out and remind us all why Republican is a bad brand.

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  9. Robert

    I suppose a community organizer is looked down upon in the Republican Party?

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  10. CV

    And 4. This is a woman who puts a job before her child. We all heard and see that she has a special needs INFANT. Instead of parading your son around at this hour in such a loud atmosphere, mom, maybe next time can you forget about your personal agenda and look out for the needs of your child and keep him home with a BABYSITTER!! And dad, did you not see you little girl wiping her spit and poking at your drugged up, i mean sleeping child. How, dad, do you plan to care for your children while your wife is at work, when you have shown the world that your judgement is a little off to have a little kid watching your special needs infant in such a manner. Can I repeat INFANT. Is there a Child Protective Services in Alaska or is this not considered neglectful parenting. Will the repugs just blow this all off as being cute?!?

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  11. NO hoboma/biden

    People, media and especially CNN; I watched the Republican Convention as well as the Democratic Convention word for word. I never left my seat. And tonight after the Republican Convention I proceed to read CNN's political ticker only to see how quickly the reporter comments were posted and closed out(permalinked). The Democratic Party got everything they deserved. The biased CNN media spoke of how the Republicans attacked the Dems and how the Republicans mocked the Dems. I watched last week as Obama, Biden, both Clinton's and others slammed the Republicans including McCain, Palin and every other Republican they could think of. So the Republicans were unfair. Ohh, you poor babies. I heard one Republican Speaker, I won't mention his name but this goes for me and millions of other Americans as well; I'm not a Republican because I grew up being rich, I'm a Republican because I refuse to have the Government take care of me. Get a job and do something for yourself. Stop waiting for handouts!!!!!!!!!!!! You are a disgrace to America.

    McCain/Palin '08 – Change I can Believe In!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  12. joe

    where are the issues, is this the best they can do? i should of watched some cartoons if i had known

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  13. Medee

    I know FOX news was in all its glory tonight after hearing that speech.....But can someone please remind Palin that the one issue of this election is the ECONOMY!!!!! SHOW ME THE BEEF PALIN, SHOW ME THE BEEF!!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  14. LA

    This girl is disgusting and not worthy of any national attention. After Obama defends her family, she actually has the nerve to belittle Michelle. Obama was right about one thing, more of the same.

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  15. neil reid

    What did the left wing American press and democrats expect after their shameless attacks on a 17 year old. Way to go Mrs. Palin

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  16. C. Nyhan

    Should American discourse be conducted at the pit bull level? This, from a prospective heartbeat away from the President? I am disappointed David Gergen did not address the general nastiness of her remarks. Truly shocking. Giuliana, of course, was beyond the pale.

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  17. Stewart Cumbo

    Where are the Black Americans in the audience at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night. I counted only 9. It looked like a CLan Rally. Is this the Republican Party – No Diversity – All White!
    Scary!!

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  18. tedious898

    Boy ...This lady can get downright ugly. Well tomorrow with the head of the ticket (McCain) its going to get worse.

    I didn't know that being a community organizer was such a useless undertaking. And they call Obama an elitest – who – by the way – has done nothing.

    This Palin chick is one nasty little something or other. What does Obama do? I don't think there is a response. Imagine if he says anything....SEE THAT MEAN BLACK RACIST IS ATTACKING A GOOD AMERICAN, SOCCER MOM. THE GOOD WHITE PEOPLE WILL NEVER STAND FOR THAT.

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  19. DanBuffalo

    The RNC convention was stunningly negative and over the top in personal attacks. The GOP managed to deal psychological fear into the American viewers with tired rhetoric. Sarah Palin put the media on notice hoping they would not pose tough questions or appear too hard on her. All of the speakers twisted facts, distorted Democratic messages to keep the fear and doubt just like Bush and Rove have done for eight years now. The truth is George Bush has been in office almost eight years and for six years it was a Republican congress. I hope the media sees these points and does not let up on asking hard questions of everyone. Sarah Palin does not impress me and her sarcasm is apparent with her facial expressions. She is really shrill and very negative. In addition, the GOP attacks Obama for his community service while earlier in the convention the GOP talked up in service to America.

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  20. You're nuts

    How can a speech be "well crafted" when it provides no specifics and vision and only cheap shots that make her sound like she's running for high school vice president? The idea that this vapid platitude spouting woman could have her hand on the red phone during a nuclear crisis is blood chilling.

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  21. Enough of the Insanity

    This was no reformer nor maverick in that speech..Who is she trying to fool? Dig deeper folks.. More of the same I'm afraid.

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  22. Bruce

    Superb! Many liberals without a clue are hating this. You should because a real leader has emerged to back up the leadership of John McCain. We have a choice that has the track record of providing change that is GOOD for their constituency.

    Obama – no track record of any effective leadership. No plans just speaches and promises.
    Biden – same old same old since the 1970's.

    John McCain – a proven record of doing the right thing and making the right decisions – with or without the GOP.
    Sarah Palin – a track record of taking on the establishment, big oil, and her own party to do the right thing.

    Sahe has the right answer on energy – even if you missed it.

    Say what you want. The GOP has 2 real leaders and won over two independant voters in my state tonight. I might even be tempted to campaign for them – this from a voter so fiercely independant that I have never even considered a bumper sticker for either party in the last 30 years. Finally, a REAL ticket.

    September 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  23. Spencer

    And 4th, she successfully made her party look like a bunch of angry, out of touch, hateful people who care none for the world around them, only the budweiser can in their palm.

    September 4, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  24. Put Off

    She didn't deliver for me. While her family story that they have talked about is very compelling, I found her delivery to be quite smug and at times nasty. I will not be voting for this ticket.

    September 4, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  25. christin

    This convention is very negative, and combative, not attracktive to this female indenpendant voter.

    And frankly I was offended that people were laughing at being a community organizer. How is it funny to work in poor and under represented areas to help families and laid off workers get back on their feet. VERY RUDE!

    September 4, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
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