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. JGermaine

    I was sadly disappointed at Giuliani's immature and disgusting attacks on Obama and the Democratic party. I guess this is where McCain constantly says "have a sense of humor". Giulaiani laughing at his own jokes about Obama? What this to fill time because Palin was so late coming out on stage?

    Unfortunately, humor does not save our country. The stakes are just too high for that type of speaking.

    Then I was so much more sadly disappointed hearing the same tiresome
    attacks from Sarah Palin. It was more like a bad comedy hour with one dig after another.

    Is this the best they could do?

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  2. female

    People say that it was good,but I think that it was very hateful... She still has to much yet to be released about her to be so arrogant. She reminded me of Rudy Gialliani and they really didn't talk about the issues. It should have been an introduction, but all she did was bash Obama and Michelle. Really disgusting.

    Maybe it's just me, but I still don't see how a journalism major can have more experience than a Harvard law magna cum laude grad. She really set herself up to truly be confronted and vetted. Obama was nice to her and her family considering all the issues, preg teen daughter, 5 month old baby, ethics issue, bridge to nowhere.... I think they should go at her full force.

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  3. christin

    This convention is very negative, and combative, not attractive to this female indenpendant voter.

    And frankly I was offended that people were laughing at being a community organizer. How is it funny to work in poor and under represented areas to help families and laid off workers get back on their feet. VERY RUDE!

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  4. Dominique Louis

    Watching the RNC and Sarah Palin's speech was as disturbing to me as watching a KKK rally. The only difference is that there were no mask and instead of holding signs that said "White Power" the signs held Palin Power.

    At a time when Americas is trying to unite, it appears that this pit bull is more like a mut.

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  5. IL voter

    A tremendous personality, to be sure, but her far right stance on the ISSUES should trump her ability to "connect" with moderates. This is not a beauty pageant. Given all of the criticism Obama has received due to his personal ability to connect with voters, I would think that the GOP should give us something a little more substantial. Her speech was rhetorically great, but it was misleading and stretched the truth (or ignored it completely, in some cases). I find it interesting that Repubs bashed Biden for saying she was "good-looking" when I saw a number of "Hottie" buttons at the convention tonight. Talk about sexism!

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  6. Gloria

    I think Governor Palin speech was too pitchy and attacking. She were trying to hard to make a name for herself. She talked a lots about Senator Obama, leaving out what matter the most, " the economy".
    Do the candidates really takes American's in consideration, or are they only fishing for votes just to win the White House?

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  7. Jeff Craig

    Wow... I never expected to see such an outpouring of negative comments about Palin's speech. One thing is more than clear from the outrage.... Obama backers are scared and they should be. Thou who protest to much....

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  8. LANCE

    please hold the main question the main question, are you and now the country better off now than they were 8 – 4 years ago?

    September 4, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  9. jane

    it was hard to watch her struggle through reading the teleprompter.
    It was clear this woman was over her head..
    I hope they can coach her before the debates.

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  10. Andrea in TX

    And they called Senator Obama arrogant?!? Govenor Palin really turned me off as a woman and a voter. I don't want anymore insults; I want solutions. Gas is still high, we are still at war, and people are still losing their homes and Govenor Palin chooses to issue insults. This from a woman who wants to be protected from the Democrats and the media.

    I will vote Democrat for the 1st & most likely not the last time.

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  11. Ivette

    She may have delivered, but clearly only for those at the convention. I wonder if any of you are reading the blogs on your website. Most of us watching the Convention on TV feel empty and repulsed by the smuggness, ill-willed, and exclusionary tone of her speech. Not only has she opened a pandora's box with her attacks, but is was clear that she did not have ownership of that speech...a.k.a. she did not write nor did she have input in it. They had better pray that she calls in sick for the debates. Furthermore, she didn't address any of the important questions..what a surprise. It's also insulting that Ms. Brown speculates on national TV that women will be moved because of Palin's family shots. How demeaning to women! We won't simply vote for her because it's cute to see her with all her kids. Women are people who think, analyze, question, and raise expectations for candidates. Besides, it's not only about's about McCain and what he and she stand for. God help us all if they get elected. "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!"

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  12. Luontheweb

    Are you kidding yourself? Her sense of humor comes from the same school with Karl Rove and Steve Schmidt. Her speech was nothing more than mockey, disrespect, lack of grace and integrity. Who are you trying to fool here? I did not hear a word of substance from her speech other than attacks and some lies. She has lost her style and grace within a short 6 days of public scrutiny. The American people deserve to know more secrets that she's hiding.

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  13. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Good evening,

    I agree with your last part of your text. Tonight was great live theater from the girl next door! But her real problem will be to deal with the dilemma of every woman in politics to decide when are you going to be tough and when are you going to be sensitive! I have my own view on that subject. The country is not in the mode of attack dogs! But she will have to question to very specifics and her tone of voice was how dare you question my qualifications...yes we dare and we should because she could be in one of the most important position in the world! So in fact, she is applying for two jobs!

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  14. Chanel

    Yes Palin is a mother that can relate to other mothers with special needs children....but..can she relate to mothers that are facing foreclosure, healthcare problems, and economic issues...CAN SHE RELATE TO THESE ISSUES..These are the issues that Americans are facing. Nothing was discussed reguarding these issues..only war experience..what about what we are facing here?

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  15. Susan, Pennsylvania

    The speech was interesting, to be sure. I am not quite sure I have ever seen anything like it.

    I look forward to the vp debate.

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  16. hick

    she brought more attacks.

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  17. Michael

    Great speech, strong woman that average Americans can identify with and this is the Republican! Obama/Democrats missed the boat again by not at least choosing Hillary as VP. She would have cancelled Palin out.

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  18. Child of the 50s

    NOT! I was watching and had to turn it off! Mean remarks! Also had to turn off Guiliani before that too. This is going to backfire on them both. After turning off the TV, I went on to and donated $. I hope others do the same. The Repubs have no platform so all they can do is attack. Poor Palin! They wrote her speech & just propped her up there. Perhaps she can move n to a new career – comedienne!

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  19. Wayne

    As usual..., Gergen will believe anything the Republicans say.
    It's time for Gergen to get a job at Fox News...,
    or should I say "Faux: News

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  20. Meko

    I think that she delivered a good speech. I do have issues with the dissing of "community organizers". I don't think that will play well with people whom lives have been changed by community organizers and the like. I do however think that it was a little nasty! But I wasn't suprised!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  21. Stumped.

    With a lot of coaching and speech writers she delivered a speech. So what?

    I'm absolutely stumped as to how this "hockey mom" is on the VP ticket. I'm absolutely stumped as to how easily Americans buy into the propaganda machine. I'm absolutely stumped as to why women are putting up with this tactic of McCain's that women are interchangeable.

    Why isn't every woman in America protesting this blatant sexism?

    How is this happening? Stumped.

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  22. Donald from SC

    Overall this speech was a 7. It started as a 10 but suffered some problems (minus 3 points):

    1) Too much war – Is that really all John McCain knows (now Sarah Palin)?

    2) Too much oil – One minute she is fighting big oil, the next she is for big oil. At the end, the future be d*****ed.

    3) From the start you can tell that she did not write the speech. She knows far too little to come up with those well-placed jabs.

    In the end Sarah Palin will have to stand on her own without the speech writers and coaches. Then we will see if she can truly hold her own.

    Obama will still win.

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  23. Jamie,Hattiesburg

    Sarah Palin delivered the speech that her speech writers of the republican party delivered to her, nothing more!

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  24. Emily

    For those who know nothing other than cowboy governance, Wikipedia defines Community Organizing as follows:


    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  25. tigerakabj

    She does not know what a pitbull is. If she thinks she can do that to Biden and Obama, she has another thing coming.

    And I love it how the Repubs are still so seriously underestimating Barack. Barack came from Chicago which is known for its extremely tough politics. Ask the Daley machine how soft Barack is. Ask the mighty Clinton machine how soft Barack is.

    This lady is in over her head. Barack has a way of making his opponents self-destruct.

    Sarah Palin, get ready to rumble.

    Obama/Biden 2008/2012.

    September 4, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
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