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. Independent Observer

    Delivers attacks and hypocrisy like her fellow republicans.

    I thought she was concerned about the issues.

    It's the economy stupid!!!

    September 4, 2008 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  2. Chuck

    Poor Dims. The "nicey nice" approach didn't work. Now, what are they to do?

    HA HA HA.

    September 4, 2008 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  3. Dawn Cain

    I just hope that American voters and swing voters are too
    inteligent to fall for the tactical rhetoric being used by the Republican party. Palin's speech really was not all that great. Not only did she fumble, but she just made a string of insulting punches that were baseless. Unlike speeches made at last week's convention, you could tell that this was written for her. What are these people thinking? at least Obama has been a nationally spoken name for some years. I live in New Jersey, and just heard of her a week ago. Apparently McCain did not know her much longer. This crap about lack of experience is a joke coming from a party that elected an actor, (Reagan) as president. Giuliani's big "leading in time of crisis" came while he was in office, he didn't do anything that anyone else would not have done in the same position. Nobody has experience before they just get in and do it. For all the experience the republicans tout, they have done little with it but make but bad decisions. Palin is in no position to belittle Obama's experience, that makes a rediculous juxtaposition for her. Her political beliefs are contradictory, and that makes her a hypocrite. Rather than trying to serve the country at this juncture in her life, she needs to focus on her family. I am a woman, it's not a matter of questioning a woman about balancing family and work. Her children have only one mother, and she should have been governing her home life, because a 17 year old, daughter who is an unwed mother could have used better governing. Again more hypocricy from the republicans. And by the way, did anyone notice the interesting footage of the Republican Convention of the close ups of the faces of Palin's daughter and her boyfriend? he had that "this is a scam look" all over his face. Also, the glance they gave McCain's wife was interesting everytime she was rubbing the baby's head for the fake "isn't this sweet photo opportunity." Phony is what all of this portrayed, in my opinion. I also noticed the way Palin's husband did not exactly exude that look of "brimming over with joy and pride" on his face either. Their body language and posturing does not portray a unified, loving couple. He is always off in the background just barely cracking a smile, and they just don't seem like a "powerhouse of inteligence" couple in the way that the democratic couples do.The democrats need to take the gloves off, and come to the dinner hungry, with sharp teeth. Yes, Sara Palin often shouted like an angry cheerleader at a pep rally, yes, in a high pitched, shrill voice. I am a woman, and I find her voice to be shrill and annoying. There is no need to find that description to be demeaning to women. Palin's voice is shrill– plain and simple.

    September 4, 2008 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  4. Gerri

    I another divider of Americans,when we need a uniter,sorry lady you lost me fast.

    September 4, 2008 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  5. Benz

    someone actually called in to cnn asing what experience is expected from Palin? Wao Obama have proven national experience that have been recently adopted because they are right eg talking to enemies etc and still experience is an issue on Obama. Waoo. Racism is ignorance and still powerfull.
    A reformer is not devisive. Tonight she proves the same as Bush.
    Obama's mom had him at eighteen and both parents were in love but had to face family crises against race. This boy who no one knew before, 5 months pregnacy no engagement plans. Suddenly he shows up in convention. And people will really fail for this?

    September 4, 2008 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  6. Brian

    I love the speech mike huckabee gave tonight. It was the only uplifting speech that I heard from the rnc tonight. Sarah's speech was well delivered, but not uplifting. I am for obama due to issues in my life.

    September 4, 2008 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  7. Independent voter

    From an independent perspective, and a young voter…I felt like she was waiting for an applause right after each statement. I don't know if I am the only who had notice this pattern where she would somewhat was waiting for affirmation on each statement. It seems like she wanted everyone to pinch her in every statement she made, as if she wasn't even convinced on her own speech. The speech really showed weakness. She should've pinched herself really hard before she walked up the stage…

    September 4, 2008 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  8. Brian Wilson

    Thank you Gergen, for being willing to be honest about Palin. You may be the one guy at CNN who is truly nonpartisan. CNN, why are you reposting anti-Palin comments and never posting mine?

    September 4, 2008 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  9. Jane Goldsmith

    How will she perfom without a script? She will make a good actress, because she knows how to read someone else's script. However, this Nation is deeper and savvier to not see this theatrical charade for what it is. Don't shove a mediocre candidate down our throats by surrounding her with speech writers and coaches, then give her a script with words she barely understands and expect us "foolish" Americans to fall for your shenanigans. What an insult!!

    September 4, 2008 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  10. Texas Voter

    This lady is one big mess! After an entire week of waiting I thought she would come with substance and a thoughtful message. This was attack attack attack. NEWSFLASH: Lady we don't know you! What little we know about you is negative- pregnant teenage daughter, troopergate. Shouldn't you be somewhere explaining yourself first before you attack. You really need to reverse courses on this one because as cute as you think that speech was- it wasn't.

    September 4, 2008 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  11. TonyInKentucky

    Come on Gergen she delivered a blunt hatchet to no effect, other than to introduce herself as a mockery.

    The GOP is no longer a national party.
    No one but the theocrats will still be on board in the end, it's clear there's no room for anyone else. The neocons and even the corporate fascist may have too look elsewhere.

    September 4, 2008 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  12. Maggie VT

    I thought the speech was bad. It showed every evidence of Karl Rove and George Bush. So if she is as tough as she says she is, then it is open season when it comes to debates. Those were her words and like a lady once said, "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." That goes for the rest who are blaming the media and the other campaign. And quite frankly, I am sick of this pow crap. He wasn't the only one who fought that war.

    September 4, 2008 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  13. Curt from Germany

    Shocking – this convention reminds me strongly at old pictures from the "Nazi-Reichsparteitag". In he mood of hate, lies and war-heros.
    America, we are now in the 21century, you and the world deserve better answers.

    September 4, 2008 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  14. Billy, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

    Once again, what we get from the Republican's is a rewriting of history. And not just that, but Ms. Palin's speech was one of lot's of flash, but absolutely NO substance. Her sarcasm was completely unattractive and was a turn-off, despite the adoration she recieved from Wolf Blitzer and other CNN correspondants. They blew the acheivements of this speech completely out of proportion. This speech showed that the bi-partisanship that grid-lock's Washington started with and is perpetuated by the Republican's. There is no desire on their side to work with anyone other than themselves. The Republican's have come to stand for–If you're not a Republican, you're unpatriotic, you're UnAmerican. Well, that is not what our forefather's designed our form of government for, Republican's aren't for more freedom, history bears this out to be true. They want to be in your bedrooms, in your hospital rooms and tell you how to live your life.
    For years they have claimed to be for smaller government and lower taxes, while the last three Republican presidents have seen us through the largest expansion in government and the largest increase in our national debt. The ONLY reason that the current Democratic congress has not got anything done is because they don't have enough of a majority to override a veto and President Bush, who in the first six years of his presidency never used his veto, has vetoed EVERY peice of Democratic legislation that has come across his desk.
    The Republican's are the party of cynic's. They count on American's having short memories or America's "stupidity". They repeat their talking points to death–they use the basic advertising principal that if the average American hears something three times, they believe it to be true, ala the HEAD-ON commercials. We have to show them that we are smarter than that. This nation cannot withstand another 4 to 8 years of Republican rule, they don't govern, they rule. The most prosperous time in the last twenty years came with a Democratic President who balanced our budget and curtailed the building of our national debt. And that is not revisionist history!

    September 4, 2008 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  15. Carrington Ward

    More of the same.

    September 4, 2008 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  16. Don

    I agree that she will have strong appeal to rural voters and her bravado will serve to rally the conservative base. However, her references to executive experience and understanding energy issues don't really move me. It'd be one thing if she was governor of California or Texas, but Alaska's economic and political dynamic is so far removed from the rest of the country, that the same fundamentals don't hold.

    And as far as "seeming like the girl next door," am I the only one that wants someone above average? As much as I like my neighbors, I'm not sure I want them running the country...

    September 4, 2008 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  17. Bobby in Beaverton

    Oh come on. Sure the community organizer mention was a low blow, but she was comparing office titles. Obama doesn't really have any executive experience and she does. That was the point of her comment, but she could have gone about it a different way. I think we need to see how she does out from under the writers and talking points. I think she did a bang up job. Its a whole new ball game as on pundit said....

    September 4, 2008 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  18. Toni

    What...what did she deliver?

    A solid plan th fix the ecomony?
    Jobs to replace the millions that have been lost on Bush's watch?
    Healthcare for the millions of American's without it.

    SHE DIDN'T DELIVER A THING.

    No one at the GOP, and I certainly don't expect McCain to. These people failed us for eight years, and they failed us tonight.

    This Independent just hopped the fence; I'll be voting for Obama.

    September 4, 2008 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  19. Theory

    Gergen...this is a bar room speech..how is this ooh ahh speech gonna help ME ! HUH ! Where was my children in this... HUH ! I thought you had more substance Gergen ! This ain't nothing but a game too you all ! People are dying ! from ILL leadership and world policy . What did she deliver, RED MEAT ? NO. a speech that i could here at the barbershop ! Ben Stein is floored , I'm floored that he is so SHALLOW in intellect, if he is floored from that, he would be in Hell if he heard the truth ! Sadly I could never defend this place if this is what we stand for. Nor could we grow any hire .

    September 4, 2008 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  20. Jean

    I started voting Republican since Ronald Regan – I wanted to hear smething that would cause me to stay Republican – I did not hear it – All I heard was a lot of negative, childish beating up of the Democrats and a lot of over 50 people with wide grins – clapping for speeches that had no substance. McCain's plan for the next 4 years, well I've stayed the course since the '70's, time for change now.
    Sorry, but I will be voting for Obama.

    September 4, 2008 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  21. James

    Please, half these comments are senseless. Seriously, the dig on being a community organizer, what else are they going to point out on Sen. Obama's resume? That's really all he has ever done, except a very brief period as a law professor. His activist experience is the one thing that he keeps drawing on to talk about his vision of hope for the future. But, what record of activism does he really have? Does anyone know what he did in those Chicago neighborhoods? All I know is that he helped run a publicly-funded education program that was chaired by Ayres (previous member of the domestic terrorist group the Weather Underground) that spent millions and supplied no significant results. An all too common outcome for most liberal programs.

    When Sen. Obama was asked what executive experience he had to show in his resume, he pointed out that he has ran his Presidential Campaign. First, do we really believe that he is the mastermind of his political campaign; especially with the list of Democratic campaign veterans on his staff? Also, should a presidential contender's only executive experience be actually running for Executive office? The fact that Republicans have actually centered on Sen. Obama's past stint as a community organizer should really tell us more about how little...well...of anything to speak-of he has in his resume to mention, much-less criticize.

    By-the-way, the comment about writing two memoirs, but no legislative accomplishments in either the State Senate or the US Senate, was a pretty good observation. I guess it is hard to be a leader when you are too busy on the campaign trail how great a leader you are....huh...will be.

    September 4, 2008 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  22. Proud American

    The GOP were pathetic today, I was not moved a bit by any of their speeches, is this what they want our young generation to inherit. Shame on you GOP.

    September 4, 2008 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  23. Ernie

    Joycean, what on earth do you mean about giving her the rights to knock on Obama's experience?? Have you been listening to Obama's campaign at all over the past week? That is all they have been doing is knocking Palin's experience!

    September 4, 2008 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  24. FAK Palin

    I have a very bad feeling that Palin is going to PWN Obama and Biden so bad that she will single handedly give the election to McCain on a silver platter.

    I fear this woman being president. I'm about ready to barf!

    September 4, 2008 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  25. Love the palin speach

    Man O man. The truth hunts, don't it. The way you guys are squalling means she hit a home run.

    September 4, 2008 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
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