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. fred

    I would have did great to if someone told me what to say to. She has no clue what she is doing. She is a puppit for the republican party. The amercian people isn't dum.They no the racist republican party is doing this just to win. The only reason mcCain pick her is because the party said they wouln't bag him if he didn't. McCain wanted the other guy, This just shows u that he's no leader he's a follower. Also look a the convention how many black, mexican, indians,and latinos did u see. (NONE) It just shows u who is the racist party is. It look more like a kkk rally then a political rally. You can't compare here to Obama, you match her up with biden thats the vp canidate. Biden will chew her up. If u are under investagation by the FBI that lets people no you are corrupt already.

    September 4, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  2. Eric

    Please oh please. Boring speech, she looked confused at time, not fully understanding what she was talking about, incredibly divisive and unlikable. Americans will see though it. But I do admit she looks confident, the kind of confidence that allows you, as soon as you get power, to fire whoever at will.

    September 4, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  3. Leaving the Republicans for sure not

    She delivered nothing but hatred. That is why this country is so divided and hateful to each other. McCain would never get my vote now.

    September 4, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  4. Vik

    David,
    I was an avid Hillary supporter, not because I thought Obama was not good enough, but because Hillary was much better. Since her withdrawal from the race, I have tried to be objective in discerning what Obama's message really is – but failed.
    He is a very effective orator, but you don't run the country through speeches. One thing in one of the primary debates that stood out for me, was his admission of lack of organization. That is the bane of most brilliant but unsuccessful men that I know of personally. If you are disorganized you are more often than not, incapable of timely action. Having said all that, I listened apprehensively to Sarah Palin tonight. She is impressive! I sincerely believe she would be a lot more effective as President than perhaps Obama would. She is a multitasker, just given the task of juggling 5 kids with her job surely. She is a lady that has tremendous energy and substance. I am almost certain that my vote may be leaning McCain after her performance.

    September 4, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  5. Tracy-Oakley

    This was not a good speech...i can't believe you all are saying she delivered the speech. Why didn't she talk about what they will do once in office that will help the 95% of people that George isn't helping now...Do they have to be sooo negative. This was awful!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  6. Gail

    Palin is a one trick pony and the press sets the bar so low for all Republicans that if they show up they are considered to have actually done something. David you know very well that this person is not qualified. She did not address the economy,the war in Iraq, or foreign policy. You should be as hard in analyzing her speech as you were Barack's especially on the subject of substance.

    September 4, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  7. Michael

    With all due respect to Democrats who thought this was mean and nasty and ugly. I frankly loved it. All the more so because when I watched the Democrat convention I heard mean and nasty and ugly.
    I heard McCain called if not directly then via being another Bush as corrupt, a disaster, don't get it, war monger, cronyism, distortion of Bush tax cut as if it was only for the rich, Republicans don't care about peoples needs, only want war. Pretty much called Republicans stupid and a joke.
    By the way Republicans do get the economy. You don't create jobs by increasing taxes on business. Obama does want to raise taxes on business. America already has the second higest business tax rate in the world. American business if competing with foreign business that has lower taxes and cheaper wages and less government regulations. And Americans want the cheaper foreign goods. McCain gets it the we need to make American business a stronger competer in the world economy to protect and create jobs. Obama's tax plan will cost America jobs. Disagree if you will, but I fear for my job if Obama becomes President.

    September 4, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  8. martins

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!! The speech was terrible. This is a national audience she was addressing, not just the rural woman with 5 children. I thought she had no substance, no plans for how the team of her and Mccain were going to gain respect in the world and no plans to how to fix the domestic issues. Yes, she attacked Obama, big deal, that's all they have. Give us something to move me. Same old boring stuff. We'll see what McCain will bring tomorrow. Hope not any more attack. This has been a wasted week. They need to get some more young republicans to start being involved in this party. All I see are the same old folks that are set in their ways. No reflection of the true America with diversity.

    September 4, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  9. G.B.

    trashy teens yukkk!.....was she even an adult when having sex with that rapist? It will now make having teen sex a popular pastime for the christian rights children. Good!

    September 4, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  10. john Gravenkemper

    Does she have experience as you all keep asking? She answered that tonight when she told us she was going to Washington to represent the people. Our system is broken and we continue to send "highly educated" elitists to DC. Let's try something different for once and she is the one to go. McCain is not going to die tomorrow. I trust her more than Obama to make the correct international decisions after listening to both. She has a son going to Iraq & is well educated in natural resources. I am actually excited to go vote for the first time since Reagan. She's not perfect, but sure beats the past 30 years of *^&^&%^$ I've seen in Washington.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  11. The Calculator

    I don't know who writes speeches for George W Bush but you could see that person's hands all over this speech. Same old tired stuff.

    I wonder who she really is and what she really has to say? It'll be interesting to see if the Republicans allow any real reporters to get within 100 feet of her.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  12. The Bush Twins : George and John

    I just can't help but think, if something were to happen to McCain, and Palin had to step up to lead the country, her "soccer mom" experience just isn't going to get it when facing off with the likes of Putin and Ahmadinejahd. And being Governor of Alaska for a yr. and a half just isn't enough either. Nope she ain't Hillary !!.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  13. Dante in Madison

    Points for having a well crafted Republican propaganda speech: 10
    Points for sticking to standard Republican misdirection and talking points: 10
    Points for having tons of ad hominems: 10

    Points for substance: -10
    Points for credibility: -10
    Points for addressing real issues: -10

    Sarah Palin's credibility and qualification for the position of Vice President of the United States is much like 7-Up's relationship to caffeine: Never had it, never will.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  14. Keisha

    The Republicans are good at one thing, taking the focus away from the REAL issues.

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  15. appalled

    no, no, and another no- Gergen, you're a thoughtful man, pahleeease, think! There was no substance to this woman's snyde rant- no mention of things that actually matter to those blue collar workers- nothing about education, health care, the ending of a ridiculous and unbearably costly war, the failings in the economy, the foeclosures- NOTHING, it was like watching a peppy PTA mom rally the house-wives to a bake-sale. Sorry, this, as leader of the free world? Energy? Confidence? Sure, but without substance or rationale...blah blah blah LIPSTICK blah blah blah FEAR balh blah blah BAD OBAMA blah blah blah 'I'-RAN blah blah snore................................

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  16. Gregory Thompson

    Sarah Palin just said that community organizers don't have real responsibilities. Is no one bothered by this? Community organizers have helped revive and restore communities for years particularly in black america. Maybe for Sarah Palin that's not significant but there's a lot of people who would disagree. She came as very arrogant and she needs to get her facts straight.

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  17. Mrs. Cook

    Let's give cudos where they're due...Sarah Palin gave a great speech in terms of presentation. I'm not sure about the intergrity piece, especially since she promised to live these values if the Republican Party is elected. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if she's done her own homework..She may want to before quoting what others tell her to say...this will impact her integrity! As far as Americans, I'm not sure who the Republican Party is referring too...they must not be familiar with the "browning" of America. Who do they make-up American. It's definitely not whose sitting at the Republican National Convention. I'm really concerned in today's global environment when I hear leaders refer to America and they're only talking to and about a small portion of the world. Based on what I saw of Sarah Palin tonight, she really loves the limelight, and now I understand why she would sacrifice her family, her young infant child and her daughter. She is still chasng a dream that unfortunately due to getting married too soon, having 5 children and never really leaving Alaska has finally found her spotlight. Evidently, beauty pageants, time as a sports reporter, and mayor/governor weren't enough. I just hope its worth it. As she said, "we're just a normal family and believe her normal family problems are getting ready to get even bigger. The media talked about her holding her young baby after her speech...I'm not sure who was watching but she also threw the baby to the father. I'm sure that's going to get old...

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  18. Brenda Kirk

    In speaking about the women that have ran for President of the U.S., Let us remind Govenor Palin in some 101 history; that Shirley Chisholm was the first woman to bid for Democratic President in 1972. It would be nice for CNN and others to remember and acknowledge this moment of history.

    Thank You!
    Mrs. Brenda Kirk

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  19. GC

    Listening to the mockery party of the Republican Party, I couldn't help but cry in my spirit of how divisive this party can be. Remember what they did to John Kerry in 04 ;someone who served this country with distinction. They are at it again, but this time chose to see themselves as patrotic only. First watching Guliany speak just make me wanner puke. All that came out of that man's mouth is ridicule, hate and hate. What he forgot is that Obama could have chosen to become a millionaire right out of school, but instead chose to start out as a community organizer to help ordinary people out there who had no body to speak for them. America, please wake up...don't let this happen again. Enough of this trashing meant for you to forget about the last eight years!

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  20. steve dumford, Scotts valley ca.

    She hit it out of the park and all the Obamabotic piranha bloggers are really gonna be mad now. Turns out she DOES have substance, she DOES have intelligence,she IS more qualified than the lemmings idol and she's more than willing to stand up for herself and her ideals. Lets see how much more hate the piranha bloggers can come up with now. READY. ...SET......., HATE!

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  21. adm

    obama elevated the tone of the campaign with his speech. she brought it right back down to the same old personal attacks and empty rhetoric. she discussed almost no issues. liberal media, elite politicians, "forfeit" the war. same old straw men arguments. she did a good job giving the speech, but the speech itself was petty.

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  22. sempdog

    BFD, Palin is just another right-wing attack dog. When things calm down after the RNC convention and independents look carefully at their choices for November, an old warrior and his intern skirt won't stand muster.
    Obama will be up by 20 points come November first.

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  23. Mrs. Cook

    Can someone answer the question? Who represents America in John McCain's and Sarah Palin's mind? I'm not sure because whom they're talking to does not...do they know the real makeup of America....

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  24. stone

    Palin is a great mother and a great leader!

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  25. oscar

    Palin should go home and take care of her baby. the governance of this great nation is not for nursing mothers and people who cannot yet take care of their immediate family.per adventure the leadership of this country falls into her hand-courtesy of being the v.p how is she going to run the country with her lots of EXPERIENCES,EXPOSURES ON FOREIGN POLICIES and exhibit the best of her family values and love for her children especially the very last one. Let's not deceive ourselves. Americans think twice, What will take us a second to spoil will definetly take us years to fix,

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
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