September 3rd, 2008
11:48 PM ET
13 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. Jatovi, NC

    After tonight, I do not want to hear anything about sexism.

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  2. renee

    Palin needs to stop trying to be Hillary Clinton and go back to Alaska. I am a retired military member. I raised a family while serving in the military. I did not have the help of family or friends. I am proud of my children even through the tough deployments and two wars. I take issue with someone using their family to gain votes. There are many women who are doing extraordinary things and raising a family. She is not an exception but the norm. Also, I am sick of John McCain using his military experience as a resume. Just because you served in the military does not mean you are qualified to be president. He is not capable of running this country. I think the country is in big trouble if we keep picking people who are power hunger rather than people who are sincerely concerned with making things better for their neighbor. Obama has a real concern for people. He understands that it is about empowerment not imprisonment.

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  3. bob in LA

    Paula Poundstone watch out! Sarah Palin delivered a biting, sarcastic misinformation speech- perfectly!
    We all expected her to be timid and uneasy. Instead we got a lineman that ran through the litney of Republican jargon that at best, is entertaining.
    To give her her due, for those un nformed, undecided voter, she may have swayed a few!
    Gentlemen- the guantlet has been thrown, the Republicans may not be using Rove, but they did read his playbook!

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  4. Jerry

    she has a nice story, but she is just another nasty republican who's goal of leading the country is to destroy the other side. One of the most personal nasty speeches I have ever heard. She obviously wasn't taught manners by her parents.

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  5. 4 more years of GWB

    This woman didn't talk about any things to help us. Crying, I need help.. I need a job, home, healthcare, food,
    This woman is a joke! All she is concerned about is her family, and bashing Obama. I can't vote for her, she is only about bashing. I need some to stand up for the little people.

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  6. randy


    Trot out a flawed candidate. So flawed that the opponents play nice. Hide that candidate. Then make that candidate the attack dog.

    I'm not so sure that anyone outside of the base of the republican party will buy the fact that Palin is who this speech is, considering that she's not said anything about this campaign to the nation until now.

    All of the speakers tonight, with the exception of Huckabee, had one over-riding message. Fear. War.

    Brilliant....for the base.


    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  7. Jeronimo!

    "PALIN DELIVERS" alright...... it's called junkmail. Pure trash. I see more than ever the danger of allowing the right to make decisions that affect our lives...

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  8. R.I.F.

    Biden's somewhere licking his chops. They tried to play nice with Palin but now she's going to start feeling the wrath of a real VP attack dog. I though her and Rudy were very ugly in the way that they mocked Obama. Pointing out differences on issues is one thing but mocking someone who was trying to make a difference in the community is another. Funny how they skip the part where he's been a US Senator for four years who sits on various foreign reltaions committees.

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  9. Cris-Just went Democrat

    The first half of the speech I almost fell asleep, boring, boring... Thank God they spiced it up with Bristol and the chewing hard boyfriend. The second half, I felt a slimy thing on my skin and wished desperately for a shower. Is this it? What exactly makes her an energy expert? Did she provide expert testimony and we do not know about it yet? Is she an energy consultant? I've thought she had a bachelors in journalism, no graduate school in anything, really. On top of that, she may want to consider becoming BFF's with Jamie's Spears mother....We all need BS protectors to cover our ears in the months to come.

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  10. Melanie, Tampa FL

    The only thing she showed me was that she is out of touch with Americans. And , as far as her comment about community organizers, who does she think is going to help organize votes for her? This wasn't a success for the Republicans, it was someone with no experience bashing those that don't deserve it. The pubs should just remember that she took the gloves off tonight. It's on now!

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  11. Heather Taylor

    I find it completely insulting that a nominee for Vice President does not know the correct way to refer to her son with a disability. As Palin stated tonight as a self-proclaimed advocate, I must wonder, has she ever heard of person-first language? That means person-first, disability second. For example, when trying to appeal to Americans that have children with disabilities, rather than saying "special needs children", she should really join the 21st century and say "children with special needs".

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  12. Justin from CT

    Palin is just a younger, newer Dick Cheney. Out of touch with real Americans, but can fire up the Republican base. I am not worried at all. Biden will skewer Palin on everything: issues, personality, experience, records, readiness to lead.

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  13. AnnCT

    I thought this speech was smug and sarcastic. Great first impression!

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  14. VJ from Ohio

    Ugh! That snarky, sarcastic, sneering hatefest of a speech Palin is certainly not presidential or even professional.

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  15. SolvayGirl

    I watched both conventions. What I see is two very different versions of America and it saddens and terrifies me. I see one group that is clinging to a very white, Christian, fearful of the world view. The other is striving for a broader view and a more optimistic reality. It is "Drill, baby drill" vs New Solutions - only I see no hope because no matter which party wins, close to half of the country will be unhappy and blind to the others' reality. If our differences could be drawn more geographically we'd be on the brink of Civil War. I believe the United States is united no longer, and may never be again.

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  16. Independent Voter

    Well I hope Senator Obama and Senator Joe Biden was watching and learn from their mistakes to know whether Sara Palin is a woman they must response as there is no fair game in Politics the Republicans are playing games with the American people no respect for anyone else but they friends and family

    Obama was the one who foolish advice the American Public that Family is off Limits he never though they would trash Michelle Obama like loser and Sara Palin is a better person
    Wake up Senator Obama if you want to see the Oval Office stop me such a push over its is time to get the ball rolling at the Republicans cause family is not limits believe or not
    What happen to the Africans American at these conventions I guess they don’t put country First only old white people do?

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  17. Joseph

    A pitbull with a lipstick is still a pitbull. We'll see if her bite is as loud as her bark.

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  18. Rosie

    How can you think she delivered?
    The speech was very bad.
    It sounded like a rerun of her speech the other day!
    Her voice is very monotone too.

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  19. Ezra A. Johnson

    Well, she succeeded in convincing this die-hard Hillary supporter to contribute to the Obama/Biden campaign. All I heard was mockery and condescension, not solutions for solving the country's problems (unless drilling for oil & gas will solve all of our problems).

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  20. Cory

    This speech delivered absolutely nothing, it was simply jabs and one-liners not even suitable for a 30 second ad, not to mention an VP nomination acceptance speech. I am even more appalled that she would deliver such vicious words that weren't even her own. It's been well noted who really wrote the speech and if she can't be trusted to even give her own words, how can she be this anointed "beltway outsider" who's going to deliver such great change? The rights can swing it however they like, but just read the reactions from the independents and undecideds, it's the beginning of the end for this campaign.

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  21. Mike

    For the record I am an Independent and prefer to decide on the issues. That being said I have been watching the conventions closely to be a more educated voter. After tonight I leaning towards Obama. I am having a hard time with Palin's line about her opponent would rather read rights to a terrorist. Our country and constitution is based on the fact that people are innocent until proven guilty. The reading of rights gives the system a chance to work to make sure that the correct person is being charged with a crime. Anyone that supports removing a person's rights for any reason cannot have my vote.

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  22. Kay from Texas

    Yes, she can read, and read well. But this is the person who'd be VP? Who could even end up being president? This speech didn't help me to see that.

    I also wanted to hear what she and John McCain would DO. And I didn't hear that, either.

    Wolf Blitzer said she "hit it out of the park." I don't think we were watching the same speech!

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  23. Ed

    Too bad she:

    • lied about her support for the "Bridge to Nowhere"

    • "boldly" condemned Americans who believe in that the Bill of Rights isn't dismissable for political purposes

    and ignored the Republican vagrancies & economic malfeasance of past 8 years.

    Too bad, so sad, head back to Alaska.

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  24. AIB

    I am truly disappointing. This is the best that the republicanscan offer!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  25. Rich

    A Lesson in Hypocrisy – Brought to you by the RNC.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
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