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. Stacy from Beautiful Loudoun, VA

    David, same old tired Republican message in a pretty wrapper.

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  2. Hillary 2012

    Today is the first day for her
    Wait and see its going fire up soon
    Obama dream is he can win easy
    Now the dream is in ?

    To late for Obama he missed Hillary , if he would choose Hillary he would be president by this time

    Hillary 2012 /Mc Cain/Palin2008

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  3. Jerod

    I will not question her experience; I am just wondering how McCain can now argue that Obama is not prepared to be President and his first 'Presidential choice' is a VP that has less experience than Obama.

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  4. Tony C

    Overall Mrs Palin delivered an excellent speech. I'm a independent and the tone I continue to recieve from the Republicans is just like the one President Bush and the administration used to lead us to war in Iraq. At that time they used Colin Powell to pitch the product and sell the goods to the American people. I cant believe that the electorate in this country still continues to fall for this . We need to see past the snake oil salesmen from the Republican party and understand the will of the people

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  5. Tim

    She gave a good speech but with no substance at all. She gave a bunch of one liners that did nothing but push independents away from this ticket. She didnt answer any of the questions I had about her.

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  6. Nick

    I have to say i agree on this one with you david.
    However I wish there were more Meg Whitmans in both parties. I'm an independent but i liked the way she addressed the economy.
    Hopefully future conventions speakers can talk to voters and tell them what they can do for them instead of always bashing the opponent ( Trying to equate a Mc Cain Win to Bush's third Term or painting Senator Obama as someone not patriotic enough ).
    My main issues with Mc Cain are he hasn't really said anything note worthy about how he would create jobs or boost the economy. and on the other side senator Obama's foreign policy approach make me feel anxious as to how he would deal with Vladimir Putin.
    People tend to think economy so much that they forget national security.
    I hope the candidates will help ease my concerns on these matters by election day.

    Nick, Ottawa

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  7. minnehaha

    What is wrong with your news staff. I've heard better speeches from students in speech 101. No one noticed the woo glad this is over from Ms. Palin. She was a joke, get real.

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  8. Michelle

    I say Palin speak and she gave a nice speech. I however don't feel like she was talking to me.. the single mother with a Master's degree and living paycheck to paycheck. The cost of living is rising faster than my income and it is becoming more difficult to make ends meet.

    Also, Rudy said that the moment Palin became Mayor she had more experience than Obama who has no executive experience and has been "just" a community organizer. What executive position has McCain held? Was he mayor or governor of Arizona? Nope! So, it seems to me that she has more experience than anyone on either ticket if you use Rudy's analogy.

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  9. greg N.C.

    Great Woman, Great Speech

    I believe she will do a great job as the V.P.

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  10. Extremely Discouraged Independent

    I disagree. I think the speech was well written – but as the first speech she gave to a national audience, this was a pretty bad move. She came across as an extreme right wing, harsh, sarcastic candidate that independents (myself included) and some republicans are very much turned off by.
    This speech was so scripted she could not fill in/ad lib anything that was lost when the video was skipped. Given that very little is known about her other than the negative information that has come out over the last few days the video was a really important piece of information that the GOP should not have cut out of the program.
    Additionally, after Obama paid her the courtesy of stating that family is off limits her jab at his wife was anything but respectful of his attempt to protect her family. In fact, if she doesn't want the media to focus on her family...stop parading them in front of the country and using them as talking points.
    I was really discouraged by the whole night, Palin's speech included. I do not see how the group of people that are in that audience can ever think they will reach across party lines and accomplish anything with the Democrats if they continue down this road.

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  11. ATUL SHAH

    A replacement of pretty face of Ann Colter with pretty face of sarah Palin but differance is Ann colter is a wild pitbull dog and sarah palin with John Mccain's neck band pitt bull dog.

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  12. Double_Helix

    The audience's response seemed very insincere. Where will they begin tearing her speech apart. She bragged up so many aspects that she had very little to do with or had made bad decisions on. I would also like to see the Republicans talk about what they're going to do instead of what Obama isn't going to do. The speech was ugly and a nasty hit against one of the only people to come pout in defense of Palin, Obama. The fact is that anytime a discussion about Palin begins it ends with talking about Obama. She has no substance therefore there is nothing to discuss.

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  13. JCox

    David I'm sorry but seriously, what speech were you watching, it was incredibly boring.

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  14. NWadoptee

    I heard nothing positive from her - only attacks on Obama, sound-bites and tired clichés. Extremely short on substance. I didn't hear anything about what she & McCain plan to do to "change" what's not working in the USA. They seem so venomous about what the Democrats have supposed done to bring down the country, but seem to forget that their party has been in charge of the White House for 8 years and Congress for 8 of the past 10 years... Talk about accountability.

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

    I personally thought she was more of the same once again. All she did was attack the other side and not give any solutions how she will be any different than George Bush and Dick Cheney. Matter of fact, her attack style and name calling reminded me of a combination of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  16. values

    THE GLOVES ARE OFF, BET SHE WILL GO HOME PACKING.

    OBAMA........08

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  17. I miss Hillary

    I am a strong supporter of Mrs. Hillary Clinton and was one who said no to Obama however with all the B.S. with greek temple and parting waters
    I have had a change of heart... I will be voting for Obama Sarah also gives a great speech however she has hidden secrets within the closet so be afraid be very afraid..Mccain thinks because he selected a women I and so many other women will vote for him. No Way No How Not Never Not Now!! I am in Arizona and cannot stand Mccain

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  18. susie

    I'm a woman and Sarah Palin was shrill, insidious, and extremely sarcastic. And she is echoing Carl Rove....sounds like more of the same 8 years to me.

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  19. Amanda

    Wow CNN, can you pander to the Palin any more. I can't believe you are actually trying to find something sexist here with Harry Reeds response.

    Remember when reporters actually reported without having to have everyone like them?

    If Obama had given such a condesending hateful speech, you would have been all over him.

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  20. Gerry

    I dont know where to post this, but Campbell is making an issue of nothing.
    Sarah Palin made a nasty speech and she can't hide behind being a woman

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  21. Ty

    I think she stood out as a condescending person with no ideas of her own....Kind of like the person in the White House now.

    Very Anne Coulter like and it will play well with her and Rush's audience

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  22. Amy

    No she didn't...she just read the tele-prompter like she was told. You must admit, she obeys well, and Republican's love that!

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  23. DB

    If I need to get a good laugh, I watch comedy central. I do not want country's leaders to provide me with comic relief.

    I have nothing against her or her background or her family or that she is from a small town or from Alaska.. But her platform is completely hollow. There is no substance. I am not looking for a leader with beautiful family, or small time roots etc. etc. I am not looking for a picture frame to put on my wall and admire. I want a leader who can fix the problems that has been created by 8 years of hell.

    What policy/ideas did she offer? Nada. Zip. Zilch.

    The devil is in the details. If she accuses Barack for rhetoric, her speech had the same rhetoric.

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  24. Don Mitchell

    As I so often do, Mr. Gergen, I have to agree with you...much though I'd rather not on this particular issue! Frankly, I think Sarah Palin has bigger "cojones" than John McCain! I found it quite amusing, however, that she showed those "cojones" by playing the experience card in comparing herself to Barack Obama. Ballsy? Yes. Smart? No. Well, I hope it's not smart but then everything about this election continues to amaze me...the fact that it's still so close being at the top of the list. John "Maverick" McCain seems to be anything but...the GOP's are trotting out all the same, tired rhetoric they always do and that's going to "change" Washington how, exactly? The politics of fear just should NOT be working anymore...period. McCain rolled the dice big time in choosing Sarah Palin and I truly do not think it's going to pay off. At least, I pray to God it doesn't. This is one Canadian who'll wash his hands of the lot of you if you put McCain and Palin in the White House. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will truly turn you away from the disastrous collision course you've been on the last eight years and help you regain the respect of the world. McCain and Palin will bring more of the same and you may finally crash and burn. I sure hope not. Canadians overwhelmingly want Obama and Biden in the White House...we can't, however, help put them there. If only we could........

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  25. Erick

    Man I watch that speech and she couldnt stop repeating the same thing over and over and over. Thank the camera man that showed the teleprompter so the Americans can really know how she speaks. Here is the real question everyone should ask her. Was she going to vote for Hillary or Mccain. And does the McCain Kennedy story fit with her change? Oh yea thanks for bragging how you fired the american cook, and airplane pilots. The plane was Tax payers money and you sold it for less then what it was purchase for. Your the change all right. The other 5 pennies McCain cant come up with. Ask your future son inlaw who he would vote for? He's a Obama supporter controlled by the McCain campaign. That speech needs lots of work. I went to sleep.

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
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