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

Gergen: Palin delivers

Palin addressed the RNC Wednesday.

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. Latina For Barack

    Can we discuss the lack of diversity within the republican party? Because I am a woman doesnt meen I will vote for her.

    September 4, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  2. Tx woman

    everything she said was written down for her by the same people who writes for Bush and McCain, her speech can never be compared to what Hilary did last tuesday....Pailin. said nothing about healthcare and all the problems Americans are facing. Looking forward to her 1st debate with Biden...that would be so interesting......

    September 4, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  3. yvette

    The republican party is an exclusionary party that is working directly out of the nazi play book. This quote is all I have to say about the republicans.

    “Naturally the common people don’t want war. But after all, it is the
    leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it’s always a
    simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy or a
    fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.
    Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of
    the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are
    being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and
    for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every
    - Hermann Goering, Hitler’s Reich Marshall, at the Nuremberg
    Trials after World War II

    September 4, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  4. EqualBranchesofGovernment

    I don't know about that Mr. Gergen.......forget her daughter's pregnancy, forget the inexperience rap.......her speech while maybe good to those sitting in the Xcel Centre did nothing for me. It wasn't even in the same ballpark as the one Hillary Clinton gave at the DNC in Denver last week........Sorry VP. Palin, I can't see it.

    September 4, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  5. George Bernard

    I find it sad that the McCain attack dog ,was Rudi G. a fellow who himself ,was dating another woman(as McCain) ,while still married.My guess that adultery only applies if your name is Bill Clinton.GOP remakes itself,as it is said,and I hope it is true-What happens in Minneapolis ,stays in Minneapolis.P.S. Why HAVE birth records of Trig Palin,been removed from public reveiw??

    September 4, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  6. Tracey

    She still has not said what "she" will do in an event that something happens to John McCain. The speech was "scripted." She frankly doesn't know about any of the issues we are dealing with, after all, she is an "outsider." The Obama camp was very respectful to her and her family. Now, it's "fair" game! I hope she can really handle the "big boy's club."

    September 4, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  7. Alnita

    As a Democrat that watched the DNC and RNC; I'm disappointed to hear the community organizers are now laughed at; what was Rudy and Sara thinking? As a woman, I would not vote for her because of those comments and sarcasism.

    September 4, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  8. CLaugh

    This was soooo funny. Clear reflection of 4 days with McCain's speechwriters; full of spins and innaccuracies. Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthy. That 2% of the population in America. He wants it back to where it was when Bill Clinton was president (at 38%). Once Bush got in office he lowered it to 33%. I thought Republicans were for country first? at least when it matters to them, right?

    Obama always takes the high road, but now she's got to take on the questions from the reporters she's scolded. Not smart.

    Lastly, when did Republicans become so grand that they talk down to community organizers? They know nothing about the sacrifice, leadership and giving back that people like Obama exemplify. He is a Senator, too. And Remember John McCain has only been a Senator for the past 26 yrs. If anyone's been on TV Sunday's it's John McCain.

    September 4, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  9. C. Marshall

    I really don't know why this is described as a Republican convention. These folks seem to know more about the Dems than those who profess to be Dems. The only thing that impressed, but also saddened, me about Ms. Palin was the speed at which she morphed into the typical politician.

    If the solution to America's ills is bipartisanship, why does the Republican party continue to divide us to win at all cost? Why is America's panacea simply tax cuts and trickle down economics?

    Finally, Mr and Ms Republican, I don't and will never accept your definition of patriotism. Please stop attempting to make me afraid of American who don't agree with me!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  10. RyanD.

    That speech was awful...and boring...and she really shouldn't have let the McCain/Rove team toss her under the bus with the personal attacks on Obama.

    September 4, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  11. Jesus of Nazarath

    all I see is the Republican party demanding the highest morals, for everyone but them selfs. What did hockey moms do to be drug down so low?

    September 4, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  12. jimmy ward

    I believe that Roland Martin missed the point. I thought that Sarah Palin was making a statement that Obama was basing his leadership and qualifications for President on something as small as a community organizer. She did NOT make fun of community organizers. Isn't a mayor or governor a sort of community organizer? She noted Obama's lack of experience in a leadership role.

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  13. ricardo williams

    Palin looked like a woman with a gun held to her head. She sounded very amateur and nervous and the words didn't sound like hers.
    She is saying nothing new that we didn't know. Why should risk 4 more years of the same. Why are you giving us the guy who got beaten by the man who screwed up the nation. I'm not hearing solutions to the issues that will make me vote republican. The republicans don't get it, off-shore drilling is not a solution. It is a diversion just like the war in Iraq was a diversion from the actual war in Afghanistan.

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  14. No Way, No How, No McCain/Palin

    She was out of line as well as many who spoke tonight. The swipes at Michelle Obama were out of line and hypocritical. She complained about families being off limits, but she, Mittens, VerbNOUN911, went beyond common decency. She offered no substance and no reason to believe anything that she stated about being a reformer when much of her record has been refuted by reports on her record.

    Attacking community organizers – people who work on behalf of communities to initiate change within areas not addressed or met by the nations mayors. She was a disgrace.

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  15. Matt Quagliara

    I knew a little about Governor Palin before last week and knew that she would be able to come out swinging in her speech tonight. Unfortunately for her, her party...and the nation, she had much less to say about what she and McCain plan to do to address America's pressing problems than about Barak Obama's time as a community organizer. Let's be honest, both Obama and Palin are short on experience, but let's remember too what this election is about–what their tickets plan to do for America in the next four or eight years. If Sarah Palin's speech is any indication, the answer for her ticket is: not much. Also, implying that Obama intends to raise the tax burden for all Americans is false. If she watched Obama's speech–and I'm sure she did, she knows that Obama plans to cut taxes for 95% of all households. Yet, her take on this is not unexpected. After eight years of unbroken failures on virtually every front, the Republicans certainly cannot stand by their failed ideas and ideology.

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  16. Military Spouse for Obama/Biden

    David you're exactly right, Gov. Palin did deliver a good speech; however, since she went below the belt at times on Obama, (not once mentioning the REAL issues we face, even while being stationed in Japan, OUR ECONOMY, healthcare, etc...). She'd better be tough enough to handle whatever comes swinging her way. I hope the Obama/Biden ripps her a new –

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  17. Kit

    She sure delivered! A divisive and mean speech that left me completely disgusted. I was expecting a lot more from this woman who was portrayed as someone who has worked across party lines...all she succeeded in doing with her entirely canned speech was spread hate and lies. It was inflammatory and rude and didn't answer ANY of the questions we all have about her ability to serve.

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  18. Jorge

    I am a democrat and I agree this was a strong speech. She came off extremely likable and more confident then what I was expecting. What she did not come off as is presidential (or vice presidential I guess). She seems like someone that it would be great to have a beer with, but as G. W. has shown, that is not what makes a good president. At any rate it will be interesting to see is she is able to retain her composure and confidence when not in such a controlled environment.

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  19. PL

    I don't think I would refer to myself as a hockey mom and my teenage daugther is knocked up by the star player. McCain must be suffering from dementia.

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  20. a jackson

    were is her experience in dealing with urban issues. dealing with people of color. were is the vetting on these issues...

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  21. Texas

    OK she is fair game now. If she wants to run with the big dogs don't scream sexism!. Go get her Joe. Joe will eat her alive in the VP debate.


    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  22. mr h

    Nice job with the screw up on cnn live coverage of the RNC stating "McCain wins Democratic Nomination." This was no accident.

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  23. Jose Vazquez

    Mr. Gergen,

    Why do you put on the facade of being a "JOURNALIST" you are a Democratic operative it comes across clear and true over the TV.

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  24. Frank in Pittsburgh

    I am glad that she a Rudy made it clear that be a community organizer is a total joke. If only he instead had her background of being a sportscaster.

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  25. independent now


    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
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