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. mattb

    So, giving Sen. McCain's age, she could very easily be the president of the USA? she's been a gov for 1.5 years and before that mayor of town of 800? Boy, thats kinda frightening!

    August 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    Great choice for the oil industry and corporate elite! Drill here and drill now will be the swan song for the Republican Party. The oil industry knows that renewable energy will only benefit the people and simply can't be tolerated.

    John McCain out did himself on this one. He is now defined!

    August 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Alex

    This is an insult to Hillary supporters in the fact that John McCain thinks we were just attracted to GENDER rather than the substance and issues that Hillary stand for. It was not that Hillary is a WOMAN that attracted her supporters, it was her knowledge and experience in Washington. To suggest that Palin is a Hillary alternative is simply INSULTING to the intelligence of women and Democrats!

    August 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. Desiree

    First, who cares what Clyburn thinks. Second, this is a bold move but I think they needed a bold move just to get some media attention. My first choices would have been Mitt Romney or Condalezza Rice but I'm glad it's a woman.

    August 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. Beau Couer


    This is an awful decision and clearly points to McCain's lack of confidence in his chances of becoming the President. After a week's worth of "poor Hilary" commericals in an attempt to sway unhappy Hilary supporters, McCain has resorted to the next level of dirty politics. How unfair for Palin to be put in this position with 2 months remaining in the race.

    McCain wants so badly to come across as a "Maverick" and a stand-alone republican, he is willing to select someone who is obvious far less qualified than some of the others under consideration. Maybe this gives him an opportunity for a Pygmalion moment and to craft Palin's image according to what he wants Americans to think she is all about. He might as well had picked anyone off the street!

    I was on the fence about my choice and was willing to give the RNC a chance to make their arguments after watching the DNC. However, this is not a risky or bold choice – it is a DESPERATE choice. Shame on you John McCain!

    August 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. Gerald in Georgia

    If this is not a typical George Bush move then what is it. This is so openly a move to divide the women of the Democratic party. I take it that McCain didn't hear the speech Obama gave last night. Would some one play it for him please. ENOUGH!! We have closed ranks dude and you can't seperate us any longer. We are The United States of America!!!

    August 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. MaryJo Bruce Surprise, Ariz

    Well lets see now. Gov Palin has proven shes able to govern, shes been a mayor, very political. Do Dems lets see how you take to this. White America wanted Obama so you cannot say its racial because its the whites that got him this far. So don't be that way about having a woman VP on the Rep side. You had your chance to get Hilary in there.
    A- Obama without much experience politicaly
    B- Gov Palin with much more experience.
    Dems want fairness. Lets see how you will deal fairly with this news.
    Stop the bickering. Lets get down to debating the American way.
    No more speeches, just words like Obama puts out. Lets debate Sen Obama. McCain has asked you multiple times. When are you going to do it. Or do you need more study time.....Just do it...Good pick Sen McCain

    August 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. Haris Siddiqui

    I'm not to sure as to who she is or what is her back ground. But from my first impression, McCain just nailed his own downfall by picking a VP who has far less experience then Senator.Obama. She has only been in the office for less then 2 years now and if any one cares to notice, this poor women will be standing up against Senator. Joe Biden.

    I can already feel for her and so picture her getting ripped apart by Biden. Republican's just Sank the very own ship the build of going after Obama for his Lack of Experience. If i'm not wrong, if God forbid any thing happens to McCain, she will be the Commander in Chief..( Rolles Eyes ).

    As for Hillary supporters, if tht in in fact the catch, then i have to say tht McCain has underestimated the American Public because the Majority or her Supporters are not fool enough to vote for Palin simply because she's a women. Hillary was no just experienced but she was and is a Clinton! I am and was a Die heart supporter Clinton Fan and now i'm a Die heart Fan of Obama and will volunteer for his Campaign from next week.

    No Way, No How, NO George...(um o_O)..McCain!

    August 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. dreamplug

    Let's be honest here. It's great to have a woman on the ticket, but this is a terrible, terrible choice. If McCain's health deteriorates in Office, can Palin replace him as president??

    McCain is pandering to Hillary voters and the pro-"drill-in Alaska" crowd, while at the same time trying to have his own answer to an Obama/Hillary-type candidate. It's almost disgusting what his motives are here.

    This was his FIRST major decision as a prez nominee, and he's shown POOR judgement. I was unsure until this point, but I'm going with Obama/Biden.

    August 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. Alex

    Fortunately for Bush Sr. his choice of Quayle didn't affect him in his initial election because he was still riding the coat tails of Reagan. it would be interesting to see how much impact (if any) Quayle - even more experienced as he was by that time - had on Bush being defeated for a second term. One of the ticker items above mentioned the last time someone with such little experience was chosen to be VP – Agnew. And we all know how well THAT turned out.

    Those who simply cannot be convinced of any political affiliation other than Republican will put a positive spin on this. But the fact remains McCain just destroyed his major weapon against Obama because rather than chosing a Biden-calibre candidate to overwhelm the experience question, all he's done is level the playing field, except that Obama has more experience in federal politics and his prior experience involved communities with larger populations than the one Palin ran. I'm from Saskatchewan where communities can become cities with only 5,000 people; Palin's stomping grounds would barely qualify.

    August 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. John--Nebraska

    Palin was an awesome choice.

    Democrats are scared and desperate. Already using scare tactics and junior high name-calling.

    Palin has more Executive Experience than Obama.

    Palin would be a better president than Obama.

    She WILL be a better VP than Biden could ever hope to be.

    McCain/ Palin '08!!

    August 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Bryan, Michigan

    What exactly is she being investigated for by the State of Alaska?

    McCain threw out his only argument. A person that has one and a half years as a politcian outside of a small town city council member.

    McCain certainly does not show good judgement. Does he really think Clinton supporters will jump on this? She stands on the opposite side of policies that Clinton does.

    August 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Reptilicans must think women are pretty gullible. Two words, baby: Gerry Ferraro.

    August 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. CW4Barack

    McBush, you are such a should have brought the fire with Romney or even Juiliani.....shoo, even Huckabee would have a been better pick. But a woman who was mayor of a city with 5000 people....I have more people living on my block!

    You just showed the American people you have absolutely no judgement and not fit to be Commander in Chief!

    August 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. Flipper

    At least the Dems are consistent when it comes to slamming women.

    I also find it hilarious how the Dems are criticizing Palin's lack of political & foreign policy experience. Their #1 guy is sadly lacking in both yet they have to gall to level the same criticism. I thought Obama & his minions thought having "political experience" was BAD.

    At least Palin has some executive experience. Obama has none.

    If people thought the Dems were sexist before, just wait until after the RNC convention.

    August 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. george

    palin also carries 80-90% approval ratings
    that must infuriate and scare all the democrats who would be joyous to get back into the double digits and break 10% ratings in their controlled congress, that did such worthwhile things as declaring a national watermelon month this year, while the country went down the tubes

    August 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. judy, Wisconsin

    How ridiculous!!!! She was the mayor of a town in Alaska 3 yrs ago-governor for 18 months!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought he had dementia before but now I'm certain he has it. How dumb do they think women are-McCain's opinion of women is pretty low anyway.

    August 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. JackieInCA

    Sarah Palin, a political rookie with virtually no resume, isn't even ready to be Vice President, let alone a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

    August 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Obama-Junkie, IL

    At least this is consistent with McCain's overall thought process. By picking Palin he will win the news cycle over the next 21 days, however he will lose the general election by a large margin. So like McCain's adamant support of the surge but after 4,000+ dead Americans and $1 trillion US dollars spent, the original decision to go into Iraq was wrong. Picking Palin is like McCain picking the surge, he wins the short term but loses in long term, i.e. the general election.

    August 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. Joe

    Thats it. Insult Mrs Ferraro, That should help with the women vote.

    August 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Irene

    Just goes to show you...... John McCain STILL DOESN'T GET IT !!!

    OBAMA / BIDEN 08

    August 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. California Gold

    I'm clearing my schedule so I can enjoy the Vice President candidate debates.

    Can you see this piece of inexperienced fluff debating Joe Biden on anything! LMBO!!!


    August 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. Melissa W.

    Does the word pandering mean anything? My female friends who were Hillary supporters are insulted that John McCain thinks so little of them that he would think "pick a woman – any woman" will snag their votes. At least it takes away McCain and the Republican party's right to argue about experience being necessary. I ,as an Obama supporter, am thrilled with his choice.

    August 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. Earl

    This is amazing.....let's pick a woman so we can try and get Hillary's

    voters.......that says a lot what he thinks of women.....USE HER then

    send her back to Alaska in Nov. ....that a boy McWar

    HE'S USING what will Hillary's gals say about that?

    He couldn't give a rats butt about her......only him and Cindy.

    She's under investigation, plus her husband works for BP.....

    SOUND FAMILIAR?...I have to say one thing for McWar!!!!


    WOMAN USER....YOU'LL DO ANYTHING .....Is Cindy happy?....Not

    Remember...."A BRIDGE TO NOWHERE?.....DUH

    August 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  25. M. Winners, Mesa, AZ

    "Risky" – Beyond a doubt. "Pandering?" – Absolute. "Poor Judgement? – Beyond a doubt.
    This pick as Veep just reinforces the "old and senile" aspect of McCain's many liabilities that's for sure...

    August 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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