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. Molly Weasley

    She might have come across as authentic, but she certainly wasn't impressive. Because she was a former TV broadcaster, I expected more professionalism. It's very hard to imagine her as a VP, a heartbeat away from a 72-year-old four-time cancer survivor. (It was interesting to see the camera angle of her reading the teleprompter of the speech that the McCain campaign wrote for her.)

    Of course, so much of what she said were outright lies ("thanks but no thanks" to the Bridge to Nowhere, for example, when she ran on that platform in 2006; the "reformer" status even though she hired a lobbyist to seek $27 million in federal funds for a town of 6,000) that I don't think she swayed many voters tonight. The robots of the GOP base loved it, but I don't think too many more will.

    Thanks to the U.S. media for finally doing their jobs and finding out facts about a candidate.

    I agree that the best part of the speech was when she talked about energy.

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  2. Dell

    David I disagree with you about Palin delivering today. She was irritating and sarcastic the whole time. I didn't learn much more about her except the same info I already know. There were the usual talking points of the Republicans: scare tactics, the world is dangerous and everyone else except Republicans don't put their country first. Nothing about the economy that they put into the verge of bankcruptcy because of the wrong judgement about the war and protection of their special interests.

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  3. USMC wife and Vet.

    The speech was GREAT!!! Gov. Palin did wonderful. Jabs are part of the election. It seems like when Republicans tell the black and white version the Dem's say it is slanted but when Dem's talk , it IS slanted and no one says anything.
    I saw riots on the news at the GOP convention, will someone please tell me how destruction of small business windows and park benches looks good for the Dem's?

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  4. Troy Hobbs

    Her speach was horendous. She is not qualified to be a vice president. This upsets me tremendoudly due to the fact that she does not have any expierience, however one of Juliani's and McCain's argument was that Barak is not ready for Presidency neither is she. Michelle Obama's speech was far better than hers. This angers me to no end to how her political attacks on Obama were not well thought out. Not to mention Rudy Juliani's speech was horrid. Im a New Yorker and I was imbarrased. Three words Mr. Juliani: Practice Practice Practice.

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  5. Disgusted

    Since when did "community organizer" become a dirty word? Isn't that what a priest, a man of god, does? Doesn't he organize the community into one unit?

    Aren't kids who volunteer at local shelters to tutor homeless children "community organizers"?

    Aren't the people who put together McCain/Palin political meetings "community organizers?"

    Seriously? What is their problem?? That's a slap in the face of anyone who's VOLUNTEERED, with no PAYMENT, to help people get somewhere or do something in their lives.

    And that's something to *mock*?

    The Republican party no longer understands what it means to be part of a community.

    Only Huckabee seemed to have some shred of humanity and graciousness in him. Watching him denounce racism to a barely clapping hall was the highlight of the night for me.

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  6. JWB

    Of all 18 year old the one who got a 17 year old high school student pregnant deserves to be on the national stage.

    What's wrong with this picture?

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  7. Just wondering....

    Delivered what? "A girl next door" demeanor? This should be insulting to every woman in America if that is what is going to deem her speech a success.

    This is not an election that should be based on PERSONALITY. Its about the issues and I don't think anyone has told the Republicans that...

    Do you honestly think for a second that Palin is in this race for anything else beside her gender? Every Hilary supporter should be feeling really sick right now that this woman is a "heart-beat" away from being president.

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  8. Lillian

    Democrat from Michigan gone Republican. We finally have a candidate. I am on the McCain/ Palin ticket. Don't ever try to take my vote away again Democrats. Small town USA loved everything about Sarah Palin.

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  9. laura

    I'm a republican woman and will be voting for obama. Her speech was full of hate. Was going to vote for McCain/Palin and was excited to hear her speech, but other than hateful words coming out and no solutions to our problems here in america, I've decide to vote for a democrat for the first time in my life. Go OBAMA/BIDEN.

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  10. anne

    WHY

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  11. RapidRay

    What remains to be seen now is whether or not the Republicans will let her take as good as she gets.
    To date, they've demanded the kid gloves only on this candidate, and with all the screaming of sexism they've been throwing at the Dems and the media, after tonight's glib and sarcastic attacks, the y'd better not be asking for those gloves from this point forward. If they do, they will be the sexists.

    Welcome to the election, Sarah. You are about to be vetted....by EVERYONE!

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  12. Justin

    If the point of tonight's speeches was to highlight everything that is wrong with American politics, Giuliani and Palin indeed hit this one out of the park. No substance, no debate on the issues, just attack, attack, attack. If I didn't know any better, I would swear that Giuliani's speech was written by Daily Show writers as biting parody/satire. As far as Palin, they can doll this woman up all they want. They can spin her "experience" into a black hole of logic and reason. It doesn't change the fact that she is a right wing extremist outside of the American mainstream. Former Hilary supporters who are now supporting McCain/Palin because they are "energized" by Palin's nomination are disgusting, worthless slabs of meat. Hilary and Obama are aligned on about 90% of the issues. The only thing Hilary and this woman align on is what type of genitalia they possess. She represents everything Hilary has spent her entire adult life fighting against.

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  13. Nick from OH

    Palin is good looking but that's about it. She has no foreign policy experience or knowledge. She didn't even say anything about health care. She's clearly not qualified. How dare she make fun of Barack's service as a community organizer! He chose it instead of making millions at wall street. I think that alone shows a lot about his character. John McBush should have picked Tom Ridge or Mitt Romney. On the foreign policy front, I'm as qualified as Palin!

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  14. Pamela

    I didn't like her sneering. Do they think that makes her tough?

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  15. Andrew Dzeguze

    I didn't here anything that would make me want to listen to her long term. Her delivery was flat and unprofessional. The audience didn't seem to know how or when to react. She actually stepped on the punchline about community organizing by giving the hockey mom joke – which was the only funny line in the whole speech.

    Also, how junior high is it to call Obama "our opponent" over and over again?

    Then again, I'm a parent of a special needs kid who knows John McCain doesn't give a crap about them, so maybe I'm just p.o.'d she pimped out her baby with Down Syndrome tonight.

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  16. cilla

    the republicans are counting on the women in this country to act irrationally and vote for this person based solely on gender. The irony in this is that by electing McCain, the appointments he makes to the supreme court will set women's rights back 40 years. There was a time when I really liked John McCain, but he sold his soul when he started pandering to the right wing establishment and taking advice from Karl Rove.

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  17. Sue

    CNN Be warned don't start this bee's nest of SEXISM.

    It is ridiculous!! Don't start parsing words.

    ENOUGH

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08 & 12

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  18. valerie adams

    You must be joking!! The Demonuts are surprised at her getting personal!!! Have you missed the liberal media hysteria for the past three days? Another typical case of the dems dishing out what they can' take.
    HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA-you libs must be trembling in your boots!!
    You're so done!!! Great job Sarah!!! She's my symphony !!!

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  19. John Jay

    Dear CNN Editorial people. You held my comment of 7:30am this morning under editorial advisement for over eight hours, and I don't know if you ever released it. In between, you published the comments of 120 others. Unfortunately, mine supported McCain. I am sorry that you disagreed with the way I wrote it. It was not nasty, vicious, or uneducated. Perhaps you did not like the reference to energy policy. Governor Palin seems to have made my point this evening.

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  20. rhoward

    Just remember pit bulls are also known to turn on their masters.

    I don't understand the pundits incessant praise of this speech. It was strident, sarcastic, and had no real substance. The usual Republican party BS that appeals to the right wing evangelicals. To heck with the rest of the country when you have them in your corner.

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  21. Randy Smythe

    Game on! The VP Debates are going to great.

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  22. CV

    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 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  23. Joy

    SORRY GERGEN, I DISAGREE. SHE DIDN'T DELIVER, IN FACT SHE JUST HELPED ME MAKE MY DECISION ONCE AND FOR ALL- OBAMA/BIDEN 08!

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  24. Arin

    Too much sarcasm tarnished her charm. She came off more like a comedian at a roast then "Presidential". I think the speech writers put one to many zingers. And is it just me, but how do you put a 4 month old baby in a crowd of 20,000 people roaring and screaming. Not good maternal instincts if you ask me.

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  25. Erik

    That was the most hateful night of convention coverage I've ever seen. It was bitter, divisive and straight out of the Dick Cheney playbook. We've had enough of that.

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
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