September 3rd, 2008
11:48 PM ET
15 years ago

Gergen: Palin delivers

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Mrs. Independent

    Thanks Palin, I'm voting for Obama!

    September 4, 2008 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  2. steven

    David –

    She delivered the Hillary voters to Barack.
    She delivered the Barack voters to work volunteer.
    She delivered independents and moderates into Barack's camp.

    And she delivered the right wing social conservative red meat they want.
    Fortunately there aren't enough of them to win a Presidential election

    September 4, 2008 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
  3. PoliticoMike

    You baffle me sometimes. You can be so smart and then so, well you know. This was a horrible speech filled with hate and anger. I think you're the only one who like it.
    Guess that's a great first impression if you are Republican!
    Also, when has being a community organizer and helper of people been a bad thing? I guess when you are a rich fool, who cares about organizing and helping the poor, right? Nice first impression, Lady!

    September 4, 2008 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
  4. Paul

    You all should be scared! McPalin is on the way to the White House!!!


    September 4, 2008 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  5. gods-help-us

    horrible ! i am shamed that i was a republican until bush2 showed his true self. LOL! (sort of): pit bulls are the worst dogs on the planet and people who know anything about dogs would not ever, ever, ever want to describe themselves as such.

    September 4, 2008 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  6. Stephen

    I think we must realize that if you have the conservatives spending several days preparing for a speech to help their candidate it will be good. But lets be clear, does she have command presence, which is what will be need to face the tyrant leaders of world. No! No Way! As my mom always use to say you can put a suit on a donkey but it is still a donkey.

    September 4, 2008 04:11 am at 4:11 am |
  7. cheerstopher

    To : Bill Schneider

    Just want to add that Palin already proposed solutions to your country's economic issues on her speech : lowering the cost of gasoline through offshore drilling and lowering taxes.

    By the way, what is the community organizer ?

    September 4, 2008 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  8. Ruby

    Mr. Gergen, I must respectfully disagree with your positive analysis of her speech. I am shocked, actually, by how well received her speech was with the media pundits. Personally, I found her speech and presentation to only reinforce my perceptions of her-PTA president from small town America and a self-serving, hypocritical leader. References that she made during her speech such as hockey moms are like pit bulls, but with lipstick are, I think are sexist. You cannot scream sexism, and make comments that promote it, just as you cannot expect family privacy of sensitive matters when you parade your children into the spotlight as she has done in her last 2 speeches to the American people. Overall, I was not only umimpressed by her speech, but truly sickened by it.

    September 4, 2008 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  9. Poor sour liberals

    She hit Obama hard. Now the media, including CNN, will have to come to Obama's defense! Obama is a handsome, smooth talker who has accomplished anything anywhere. Too bad he doesn't have real solutions to combat her attack.

    September 4, 2008 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  10. Poor sour liberals

    She hit Obama hard. Now the media, including CNN, will have to come to Obama's defense! Obama is a handsome, smooth talker who has NOT accomplished anything anywhere. Too bad he doesn't have real solutions to combat her attack.

    September 4, 2008 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  11. Foreign observer

    She has hidden her main views. She is a creationist, an activist for abstinence, an animals killer in Alaska. She is not ready to deal with the details of international politics. She will need 2-3 years in office until she understands the job of a VP.

    September 4, 2008 04:17 am at 4:17 am |
  12. Moon Maiden from Lake Michigan



    September 4, 2008 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
  13. Rebecca

    Is the debate still on – REALLY???? Obama hasn't conceded???? Experience – What I really need that to run for President of the Free World?????

    When did it become alright for the Democratic Party to contradict everything they stand for? So it is alright to elect a minority male candidate but not a woman and mother? When did it become common place for woman to turn on each other and reject one of our own? How is it that American Women are still satisfied with playing second fiddle to men in the political arena? I ask these questions because as I sit here, I'm appauled at how critical we have clearly become on our own sex. How can one woman's reach for the White House ignite such a fierce response by other woman? I'm in awww and sick to my stomach on how people have attacked and tried to defile Sarah Palin's caracter as a woman and individual. I am a Liberal Independent who will now vote Republican, not so much because of McCain but because of Palin. The Democrats repedidly talk about service to the Government have served little to the American people. When Obama serves the American people then maybe I will listen.

    September 4, 2008 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  14. John Air Force Vet

    Obama deserves to be respected for being a community organizer on the SOUTH side of CHICAGO! He was the president of the Harvard Review and could have taken a high powered job. But he chose to help workers who were layed off and low income citizens. His organizational skills built the most revered presidential champaign in political history. She was rude and distasteful while he has treated her with resect.

    September 4, 2008 04:24 am at 4:24 am |
  15. Janis Wallace

    She's hardly Ann Richards, for goodness sake. Ann was an original thinker, and her wit was original. And Sarah was hardly "large"! Instead, her pathetic attempts to snipe at Obama made her much smaller than I expected she would be.

    September 4, 2008 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  16. Hillary mom for Obama now

    Obama told the media to back off of her and her family, and she came out of her mouth and attacked him like this!!!? Watch as more republicans go over to Obama's side now. Her speech really did hurt her campaign.

    September 4, 2008 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  17. Lee

    "I want an experienced and knowledgeable person that can interact with heads of states and act like a head of state here at home."

    That rules out Obama...

    September 4, 2008 04:27 am at 4:27 am |
  18. Aaron WV

    No one doubted that a journalism major with tv experience would be able to give a speech. What we were loking for was substance, and words to alleviate any fears about lack of experience.
    Instead, all we got was undeserved insults aimed at hard working community workers, and press bashing. The same tired Republican swill.
    Do the Republicans have any agenda other than making the rich richer? If so, I've failed to ever see it.

    September 4, 2008 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
  19. Sharon, TX

    Her speech was pathetic and lacked substance, period - which obviously would appeal to the Republican party. These are the very same people who brought us President George W. but are too ashamed to acknowledge or even comment on his horrendous presidency. Do they really expect America to follow their lead on who our next Pres/VP will be? Ha, as if... they really do" take pride in their ignorance." The MSM (or as someone aptly put it Mainstream Corporate Media (MCM)) needs to make amends to this country for their disservice over the past 8 years and stick to investigating and reporting on the issues and the FACTS! Keep your opinions to yourself because you also don't get it.

    Post this CNN and not leave in indefinite "awaiting moderation" mode.

    September 4, 2008 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  20. jon

    Her energy policy gave her depth? It was pretty worthless. There isn't enough oil in Alaska to get us independent of anything, even in the short run. And by suggesting that, she seems to think that there's a domestic oil market independent of the global oil market. Unless she's going to say we need to limit oil trading?

    She may have confidence in herself on energy, but her lone policy idea (basically "drill now, and we'll see if we find alternatives in the meantime") is every bit as solid as her opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere. You know, the bridge she supported until after it was clear Congress found it laughable.

    September 4, 2008 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  21. C in Texas

    WOW.....knew she would be tough

    Sorry guys she didn't knock the "community organizing", she used it to show that Obama doesn't have any experience, and guess what, he doesn't. Go ahead and spin it like the Dems do most people can see through you guys and the media.

    Watch Obama numbers start dropping around Monday of next week.

    Course you can keep calling us all racist but you know it takes one to know one.

    McCain/Palin '08

    September 4, 2008 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  22. Doug Miller

    This was an excellent speech and showed Palin's strength as a leader. As a right of center independent, I am very excited about both tickets. For the first time in the past 20 years, we will not have a Clinton or Bush in the white house! Both tickets offer a historical breaking of barriers and a new dirrection for this country.

    Unfortunately, even with all the historical aspects of both tickets, much of the American public is still caught up with the partisan politics that come with EVERY election. Then participate in the very behavior they claim to hate (see above: VOTE SMART…. NOT SENILE!!!!). Sigh.

    Lets grow up people and realize that these tickets are the closest thing to a win win we have had for a long time. Lets remember that dems/repubs will never agree on all the issues. Obama and McCain will both offer many changes from the Bush/Clinton era and both tickets will put a new face on America. And for me, that is the most important part of this election is fresh leadership (policies and conflicts will always be debated and never fully agreed on...see our current senate).

    September 4, 2008 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  23. Bud

    It amazes me how out of touch the political analysts are at CNN. The majority seem to think Palin 'hit it out of the park'! Are you all really that out of touch with regular American folks?

    I liken her 'speech' to a mean, obnoxious drunk who makes a complete idiot out of himself (pardon the gender bias) and realizes the following morning the full impact of what he's done.

    That speech was painful to watch.

    September 4, 2008 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
  24. Michael

    Clearly the only people responding to CNN are liberals and it is remarkable to me how divisive our opinions are.

    It seems very apparent that the minds of people are already made up and they sit back waiting anxiously to lash out against anything said in opposition to their party. The Obama followers want change – but not Sarah Palin's change. They want reform – but not John McCain's reform. They urn for the promise of this magical word "change", but they do not know exactly what that is. Obama is like the new boyfriend/girlfriend, who is utterly dreamy and full of perfection and hope and the promise of a new dawn – and that is only because you dont truly know him yet. Be careful what you wish for democrats – the change you get, you will have to live with.

    And finally, as a 911 victim it seems to me that this country suffers from 911 amnesia, similiar to hurricane amnesia until it hits you again after ten years. I dont know about you, but I would much rather have a pit bull with lipstick ready to defend my country and a decorated military hero rather than a community organizer.

    Be careful what you wish for

    September 4, 2008 05:07 am at 5:07 am |
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