ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – Gov. Sarah Palin has been working around the clock on a speech that will focus on introducing herself to voters, proving she has what it takes to handle the economy and making the case for John McCain, two McCain aides told CNN Wednesday.
The Alaska governor has spent most of the past 48 hours working in a hotel room with speechwriter Matt Scully and adviser Nicolle Wallace. On Tuesday, they worked nonstop from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. She also did a read-through with the prompter at 10 p.m. – exactly 24 hours before the real speech, the aides said.
The Republican vice presidential candidate will continue practicing and tweaking all day, working up until the last minute before she leaves for the convention hall.
Palin has been educating Scully and Wallace on her experience and record as they have been helping her put the message into words. The governor has been “co-writing” with Scully, according to a source involved in the process.
According to a senior McCain adviser, the speech has three main goals:
First, Palin wants to leave no question about which ticket has a better hold on the economy.
Palin will emphasize her experience and understanding of the energy economy and talk about how Alaska is the “intersection of global energy markets and domestic production.” Here, she’ll try to combat questions regarding her experience.
Palin will also pit John McCain against Barack Obama, making the case for the Arizona senator on the basis of policy and character.
“After she delivers these lines, McCain’s decision to choose her will be much more obvious,” said the aide who has been working with her on the speech.
Finally, Palin will introduce herself to voters as a likable, funny and smart person.
“Every one in the staff has fallen in love with her,” insisted this aide.
Regarding expectations for the night, another senior adviser said, “The Democrats and the media have done a great job lowering expectations. We’re going to raise some expectations tonight. The elites will never give her her due, or middle America its due.”
“She is going to really going to connect with blue collar voters - illustrate that she has a common touch with an executive presence,” the aide said.