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. Kevin

    She was so negative and full of contempt. I don't recall the Dems being so nasty and disrespectful.

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  2. e.p.

    disappointed with the smug, rude, sarcastic condesending style, she doesn't get it ....we are sick of this style of politics. stop this now!

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  3. Andrea in TX

    What was extremely disappointing were the chants of "USA" as if anyone other than the Republicans are Americans. Again, I'm ashamed of my parties leadership to allow & support that behavior.

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  4. Barbara Ellenwwod

    As a Black American Woman I was very offended. What kind of America is she promoting DIVIDED. All I heard was support for rule American. I had not made my mind up until tonight. I will be voting for OBAMA

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  5. tuff Col. Oh

    she sucked, she sounded like a bitter angry white woman, if michele attacked mccain like she attacked obama they would say she was a angry black woman, why all the praise of that speech she had her sript in front of her, obama and biden wrote there own speeches, why can't they write theres

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  6. christine

    Sarah Palin, nothing but a school yard bully!!!!!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  7. Greg

    I thought her (Palin's) speech was quite immature and redundant. She made too many jokes and attacks against the oppenents while our economy suffers greatly. God help us if she is elected VP. This so called "hockey-mom" only governs a State with a population of only one metropolitan city and I personally don't think she would be up to the challenge of "second-in-line" to govern a Country. Additionally, I believe she was chosen only to collect the womens votes and thus would not put "Country first, but politics first. I hope people can see through these motives.

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  8. Sandi

    Yes she delivered a hate speech which offended small time Americans that are not from Alaska. Listen, a community organizer is not a job to be belittled. It is not an elitist job it is a job of pride and respect for the least of us. It is a job for the humble and hopeful at heart. Come on this is even nasty and degrading for even George Bush. I am ashamed of America tonight. I felt like Boss Hog was rallying the crowd and the KKK was attending and applauding. This is 2008 not 1950. I am disgusted literally. Throw the hate mongers out!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  9. sarah B....Durham,NC

    Mr. Gergen......def. a rough n tumble 67 days ahead....!!....though i believe that she was grinding her pit teeth down beneath her grin!!.....she seems to be a Very likable person....and connect ....sure...But....can she actually Lead our Nation??>>.......i think she is still detached from the Heart's of our Nation....and i think she drove a rusty nail in with ALL the Victory can you call over 4k causalities and wants to continue more that Could be avoided, to obtain a Victory??>>....

    Energy......ohh....she has been breathing the Tundra Air TOOO long!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  10. Yolanda from California

    Sarah Palin speaks to all Americans, the truth that needs to be heard!

    One of your CNN commentaters went after her comment about community leaders. He stated that these community leaders are helping Americans save their homes...quite the contrary. Alot of these so called community leaders are using "non-profit dollars" to fatten their pockets! Promising to help the struggling home-owner save their home, taking money from them and not delivering!

    I know about this first hand, as I have been in the lending industry for 26 years.


    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  11. John from Swainsboro

    Obviously she has gotten far in a very short time, undoubtedly helped by people underestimating her. While the speech may have been effective from the standpoint of exciting the base, it is clear that the McCain campaign has solidly embraced the politics of the past. Given the course of the campaign since last Friday, it is hard to envision a more polarizing choice than Gov. Palin for vice president. She has gone far to validate the claims of the Obama campaign that a McCain administration would be an extension of the Bush administration-much more than I would have thought possible. Though it worked the last two cycles, I pray that it wont now.

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  12. Nicole

    I hated her speech, to me she is not well spoken. And to me as a mother I am insulted, I am not a female dog with lipstick. To me she attacked to much and since she followed rude Rudy it made her look worse. When someone is kind and gracious as Obama was with her daughter being pregnant, she has caused herself a huge disservice. She is about to be attacked by the best attacker HRC. If she was kind they could not attacked her, since she was not "It's on".

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  13. Solomon Oduh

    To be honest with you, she didn't clarify the audience how she and McCain plans to tackle the energy issue. She is not specified on what she's saying

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  14. Debbie

    I cannot believe that they had that poor newborn baby at that convention with the sound level. What were they thinking. Sarah it proves you are no mother!!!! Self first.

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  15. NYS

    Horrible speech by Sarah

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  16. Mary

    The Republicans are making a serious mistake with the ugly tone and overall mockery of Democrats. That played well to the conservatives who were at the convention, it will not play well in most of America. Nor did Palin do herself any favors by going after Obama on experience as it only highlights her own.

    Republican voters didn't pick Palin, they picked McCain. The party leadership would wise to remember that.

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  17. David

    The Republicans have thrown down the gauntlet and the Democrats must respond in kind. It was a vile night for the American people to see a party reduced, maybe even diminished, to such lows.

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  18. Molly

    Nothing, NOTHING in that speech tonight indicated at any point how exactly she is fit to lead anything more than the local PTA. Oh, wow. She can throw punches and lie with the best of them. But she has no knowledge or ability to articulate what exactly she would DO in any capacity in the White House. She is a frightening and cynical joke played on the American people during very desperate times. Don't let the tabloid freak show distract from the truth – they have no plan and no answers for our country's problems. The choice has never been more stark. Hate vs. Hope.

    Obama/Biden '08 – One Spouse, One House

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  19. ann

    Candy Crowley – Sarah Palin is what American women have been
    waiting for in this country. You think she was too critical – no way!!!
    Thank heaven for a WOMAN who can stand up, speak clearly, and
    deliver a message to all of America. I couldn't be prouder of a
    woman. Thank you Sarah Palin!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  20. Molly


    EVEN CNN said you did GREAT
    Campbell Brown even said how "precious" your baby is –
    far different tone than last night!

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  21. Dem in San Diego

    How can we take her and the Republican party seriously when during her speech they showed several people wearing buttons that referred to her as the "Hot Chick"?

    The Republicans are being sexist toward their own candidate!

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  22. Kermit

    I wonder if any one could miss how Palin said she and McCain were going to take on the Washington establishment, while, as I see it, 26 years in the Senate makes McCain a part of the Washington establishment. But, toward the end of her speech, she stated that some people use change to promote their careers, while others use their careers to promote change...i.e. only a Washington insider can change the Washington establishment. What a joke

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 4, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  23. Dem

    This Dem is voting for McCain/Palin as are many others. The "other guy" blew it on so many levels. NOBama NOBiden NOWay.

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  24. Nik

    She's a tough woman. So when Americans demand answers about who she is, fact check of her record, criticism of her politics, I don't want to hear *!$& about sexism. The McCain/Palin campaign has already over-played the gender card. Biden can be himself in the VP debate and shouldn't have to wear gloves.

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  25. Dwight

    I felt like I was listening to a privledged prom queen. Her speech did not move me at all.

    September 4, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
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