August 29th, 2008
02:25 PM ET
12 years ago

Dems say Palin is 'risky,' could be a disaster

Clyburn said the choice of Palin is risky.

Clyburn said the choice of Palin is risky.

(CNN) - A leading House Democrat said Friday John McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is a "risky" move that could ultimately prove disastrous to the Republican prospects in November.

Meanwhile, a top Senate Democrat said the pick is a "Hail Mary pass" and a "roll of the dice," in what is the initial reactions from McCain's rival party.

Watch: Palin accepts VP offer

Speaking to South Carolina ETV Radio, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn likened the choice of Palin to Walter Mondale's choice of Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and George H.W. Bush's pick of Dan Quayle in 1988. Both picks - relatively unknown political figures at the time - generated initial excitement but were ultimately deemed poor choices by many political observers.

"I think (her selection) would be something similar to Dan Quayle - Dan Quayle proved to be sort of an embarrassment as a campaigner, being thrust on a national stage like that could be very tough," Clyburn said. "Now Mondale tried to shake things up by going with Geraldine Ferraro, she proved to be a disaster as a running mate. And as a campaigner, she was absolutely awful."

"And so I just think that it is very risky for McCain to do this, but it may be all he has left," Clyburn also said.

In an issued statement, Sen. Chuck Schumer said Palin is significantly mismatched to Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden and said the prospect of her becoming president is "troubling."

"It is a real role of the dice and shows how John McCain, Karl Rove et al realize what a strong position the Obama-Biden team and Democrats in general are in in this election," Schumer said. "Certainly the choice of Palin puts to rest any argument about inexperience on the Democratic team and while Palin is a fine person, her lack of experience makes the thought of her assuming the presidency troubling. I particularly look forward to the Biden-Palin debate in Missouri.”

The Obama campaign also told CNN Friday the choice of Palin takes the question of experience "off the table."

"Experience is being taken off the table considering you're putting someone within a heartbeat of the presidency with the thinnest foreign policy experience in history," spokesman Bill Burton said.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the 4th ranking House Democrat, said in a statement the choice of Palin "shows political panic."

"Is this really who the Republican Party wants to be one heartbeat away from the Presidency? Given Sarah Palin's lack of experience on every front and on nearly every issue, this Vice Presidential pick doesn't show judgment: it shows political panic," he said.

Filed under: John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (312 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    this sarah person is a joke, right???

    August 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. Sistah

    Just as Obama stated in his speech last night....John McCain doesn't get it. In politics...key word "policy". Obama is a change in policies in all areas of government. McCain is more of the Bush policies....that's the main debate. Yes, the canidate themselves play a role... but again it has to do with policies. McCain isn't going to do anything different than the past 8 years under a failed administration other than give more tax breaks to big corporations and the wealthy....More of the same.

    Chosing a female is not going to change the McCain platform, it just proves what Obama has been saying. This election is about "us" the people of the USA not the canidates themselves. So whether McCain picks a male or in this case a female doesn't change anything.

    Let's not lose the big picture....this election has to do with "POLICIES" and not so much the canidates themselves. McCain is trying to run interference to distract from the main issue.....Change in policies and direction....not change in "Gender"

    August 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Ed Stack

    I take one look at Jim Clyburn and I must ask myself if this gentleman also is a beacon of leadership.....take a good look folks and also listen to him.....would you follow this fellow into a precarious situation or environment and hope to come out alive? Obama had his chance to select Hillary...he did not.....he picked "Jaws" Biden........I voted for Hillary initially and now I WILL vote for is about time we had a LADY in the White House to monitor all of these corrupt gentlemen we usually call..."leaders"......they have led us into the poorhouse........they have ABUSED our children's prospects of a decent life in the future....they have squandered OUR money...they have ABUSED their is time for a LADY....she and McCain have my vote! Maybe SHE can help to balance the budget!

    August 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Dianne

    Palin is no Hillary Clinton. If that was the reason McCain did this to get Hillary supporters they are sadly wrong. No one is going to fall for this. I can't believe McCain would not think about the American people more. What is going to happen to our country if something happens to McCain. think what will happen to our country under someone who does not have 1 1/2 years experiece as Governor to a small state. Unbelievable McCain would do this to his country.

    August 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. obamabiNLAden

    go McCain, go!

    August 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |


    August 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. chris

    the lemmings know nothing about obama and yet they chose him over the best candidate for the job, Senator Clinton....

    August 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. J.D.

    When Obama chose Biden, most people thought he displayed great judgment, picking an experienced statesman. Meanwhile McCain picks a nobody with 2 years experience to be a heartbeat from the Presidency. Unbelievable. Does he think Palin can go toe-to-toe with the Putin and the leader of Iran? This is pandering, it's insulting, and it's another example of his bad judgment. Are you telling me that there were not more qualified Republicans to choose from? Unbelievable! This election is OVER.

    August 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. JW

    Finally the Doom and gloom Club can see "Real Hope and change" Not the same Ol' Bama-Biden Politics all dressed up in Britiney Outfit!

    August 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. Franky

    And for the record guys, she ain't no Hillary but you know what? That's O.K!! I hope some of Hillary supporters vote for McCain!! LOL!!!

    August 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. jc

    OH mama..Obama gonna be a fight now.

    August 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. Peter from Michigan

    come on CNN, now it is your time time to find ANYTHING negative you can pick on – with this woman I see an ocean of risks and negative factors:
    – she's too young
    – she strongly opposes abortion
    – her politics in Alaska are to characterized as shady as best
    – she supports the NRA
    the list goes on...

    August 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  13. Inexperienced Vice Pres. pick

    I also foresee that this could completely backfire in McCain's face because Palin will probably garner much more attention on McCain's ticket than McCain himself.

    McCain will have to work hard to capture more of the public's interest than Palin.

    Like Obama, she may become a celebrity too.

    August 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |


    Obama WAS a community organizer...

    he was also a state senator for 8 years BEFORE coming to washington.

    this chick has held a statewide office for ONE and a HALF years...

    is today OPPOSITE day in your world?

    August 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. Nathan

    In '88 Dukakis was running. Obama is far superior to Dukakis. Biden will destroy Palin in debates. While Biden was talking to world leaders Palin was? Exactly.

    August 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Gee, Alabama

    I think the question of readiness to be Commander in Chief is legitimate for every VP hopeful. Even more so on the John McCain ticket and here I would have real concerns with Mrs Palin. I guess the press and the world will keep a close watch on his health even more.

    Is she really prepared for the job after being thrust from small town politics into national politics in just a few years? Or are we looking at a re-incarnartion of the "Great Job' Michael Brown.

    August 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. natalie

    I think adding Palin to the ticket by mccain is so interesting and took guts. Obama's decision to partner with Biden was a big disappointment. Clyburn's comments in this article smack of sexism. Palin is no more inexperienced than Obama who is at the top of the dem ticket. Didn't Obama just proclaim last night we need to bring change to Washington-from the outside! I am a pretty unhappy clinton democrat who feels my party does not care at all about us 50+ women at all. We should just get over it says the obama folks. We are just idiots as Charles Barkley says or we are racists. These are the same Obama people who overwhelmingly told pollsters during the primary that if Hillary got the nod they would sit it out. Do The only thing keeping me in obama's corner [for now] is the prospect of what mccain and palin will do to the supreme court. Mccain made an interesting choice. Obama did not.

    August 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. Ern

    This does even more to highlight Obama's inexperience.

    August 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. James

    I thought Gov. Palin was being investigated for abuse of power and coruption. Does this show a lack of judgement on McCain's part to pick someone who could bring the entire ticket down if convicted?

    August 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Open Eyes

    I couldn't agree with Clyburn more!

    To me this seems a CLEAR attempt to play politics and prey on women who voted for Hillary, because clearly Palin is not the next most qualified person on the Republican side....

    But I worry that some women may not see it this way...

    Did the majority of women voters just vote for Clinton BECAUSE she was a woman???

    McCain is rolling the dice that they were...

    August 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. Brian from San Diego

    Correction to "Dave C – NJ":

    Obama never served in the House, as you imply by stating that he "...served in congress for 8 years in the House..."

    Obama was a Illinois State Senator serving in the Illinois State government, NOT the U.S. House of Representatives. His three years in the U.S. Senate is the first time he has held anything more than a local office. Also, he was elected to the Illinois State Senate UNOPPOSED because he used legal maneuvering to get his opponents off the ballot. In reality, his election to the U.S. Senate was his first time facing any opposition, and that came after his celebrity-making speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

    August 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. Sara

    Beauty queen?

    Does Alaska have any oil to "exploit"?

    Just ANY WOMAN to get the women's vote?

    August 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. KED

    Wow, there's a lot of hate out there. Let's see, a peanut farmer did it in 76, and an actor in 80. Experience? Please. Palin will be awsome.

    August 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. NY4Obama

    Did the Repugnicans pull her name out of a hat ??? Isn't she under investigation?

    August 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. Obama / Ayers 08 ~ wave of destruction!!

    Oh please. Will the blacks finallyt shut up! Its time for a woman to come to the White House. Women have always stood aside. Not anymore. Get out of the way. Here comes Mc Cain / Palin '08

    August 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
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