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. Really??????????

    If this girl's a pitbull, then I am a leprechaun. Her speech while spiteful and relatively well crafted was delivered like a challenge from a grade school bully who'd never been hit before . . . shaking underneath such brazen and empty threats. Peace be with her in the coming days.

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  2. Paula S

    While I agree that her delivery was one of confidence, I must object to her manner of denigrating the people who do not necessarily support McCain and his issues. She came across as a very tough, snide, condescending individual. I personally am weary of the nasty, sarcastic, take-anyone-on mentality that we have had to put up with in the last eight years. She definitely is not a person that I would want speaking on my behalf with other leaders of the world during a global crisis.

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  3. Fernando Perez

    Sara Palin’s ignored women’s concerns dealing with child pregnancy and equal pay. She instead chooses to side with right wing America and attack the media without sound reason; calling them left winged, for reporting what little has been procured in this rushed bedding. Her speech presents a number of possible factual errors describing previously held positions as governor of Alaska. For example, she criticizes the opposition for intending to raise certain taxes, when in fact she raised taxes in her State. She also takes credit on voting against the construction of the so many times mentioned bridge, when in fact she initially voted for it, and later voting against it. In what should be one of the most important speeches of this candidate much is avoided. No mention of any social issues, and a clear avoidance of foreign issues. How can this inexperienced candidate, who clearly ignores her most representative constituency be a trusted public figure.

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  4. fred hampel

    once agian CNN got it wrong about the bridse to nowhere. if you hearrd corrctly,shemay have been for the bridge but overrunscausedher to cancel the bridge!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  5. Paul Milton Ham

    Sarah, way to go. You make me proud to be a republican, a Goldwater Republican. Keep it up, we love you , and will work till nov.,and your teams victory. GO GOP.

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  6. Jeannie

    Well, all I have to say is that Palin did deliver and she "dish" it very well she BETTER be prepared to take it as well.....hope she's wearing her armor suit!....GO OBAMA!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  7. Ruth

    As a woman, and after listening to Sarah Palin's speech, I am not inspired to vote for McCain/Palin; however, I'm convinced more than ever that the Democrats made a mistake in not nominating HIllary Clinton for President OR Vice-President. I believe in the power of women, and Hillary Clinton in particular, and she belongs on the Democratic ticket.

    But, for me, this election is about the issues, not personalities or gender, so I support Obama/Biden.

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  8. jack

    She has my vote. If the Democrats can't take a few hits, they have no business running.

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  9. jwilliams

    i will have to say this was a great speech and she did a great job giving it Palin is bring excitement back to this politic race.

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

    That was a mockery, it was a comedy routine, it lacked substance.
    All she did was insult obama on being a community organizer, not putting country first.
    This was a preemptive strike against Obama therefore the Obama ticket needs a nuclear response to this childish speech.

    Compared to Obama speech this was a Yo Mamma Joke.

    September 4, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  11. Obama Nation

    Thanks for your comments, David. You're right. While Democrats are supporting an Obama nation, Republicans are energized like never before, both in contributions and in volunteers. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  12. christian

    Although there were very charming moments in this well written speech,
    I could not help to wonder what place Mrs. Palins' cynicism would have on the World Stage. I do not think that John McCain is the second coming of Bush but after tonight , I do think Palin might be. Anyone in the political arena can have a good night.... but I can't help to think about this "Pitbull with Lipstick " dealing with World Powers like Putin. The world is much larger than the United States and its time we stop thinking of ourselves as individual teams rather than a world community that needs to figure out ways of getting along in diplomatic ways.

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

    And 4. This is a woman who puts a job before her child. We all heard and see that she has a special needs INFANT. Instead of parading your son around at this hour in such a loud atmosphere, mom, maybe next time can you forget about your personal agenda and look out for the needs of your child and keep him home with a BABYSITTER!! And dad, did you not see you little girl wiping her spit and poking at your drugged up, i mean sleeping child. How, dad, do you plan to care for your children while your wife is at work, when you have shown the world that your judgement is a little off to have a little kid watching your special needs infant in such a manner. Can I repeat INFANT. Is there a Child Protective Services in Alaska or is this not considered neglectful parenting. Will the repugs just blow this all off as being cute?!?

    CNN please post my comment!!

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  14. bigirlsneedluvto

    I saw a few tokens in the audience. I think they were told that Tina Turner was performing. Or maybe they were told if they come in they would receive 2 nights at the hotel for free.

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  15. Alfred Bowie

    Palin's comments are noted and she appears to be a tough executive. My biggest reservation is that all this "tough" talk is lost on her pregnant daughter. Clearly we as taxpayers pick up the slack for unwed and pregnant teen as they have their children and it would be interesting if Sarah had such "tough" talk for her own family members.

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  16. Jatovi, NC

    This is truly bogus. She has free reign to attack anyone yet if you attack her it's sexist. At what point can you say anything about her and it not be considered sexist.

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  17. O'brian, OH

    Not one solution to America's problem. No vision. same old, same old. Tear each other down.

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  18. Barbara Giles

    Palin scares me and I hope people will do their homework. I have read more than several disturbing posts regarding this candidate and I pray people are not shallow enough to vote for her because she looks good and has a family. All of the candidates have families.

    One excerpt relating to Palin: (Speaking before the Pentecostal church, Palin painted the current war in Iraq as a messianic affair in which the United States could act out the will of the Lord.)

    "Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God," she exhorted the congregants. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

    Religion, however, was not strictly a thread in Palin's foreign policy. It was part of her energy proposals as well. Just prior to discussing Iraq, Alaska's governor asked the audience to pray for another matter - a $30 billion national gas pipeline project that she wanted built in the state. "I think God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that," she said.

    I don't see what God has to do with war.

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  19. Harriet

    Palin delivered a rousing speech to a willing audience that was written by McCain operatives. The question is how will she do when she is not scripted, and has to answer questions off the cuff. The next 60 days will tell the tale. I'm sure everyone has the gloves off now.

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  20. Disgusted Woman

    Palin is a joke. Ok so she can read and use a sarcastic and nasty tone. BUT she didn't say one thing about how SHE would help the country. Tearing down Obama isn't a platform.. that's a bad attitude.
    I suppose the one positive thing is that she's offically removed the "whining" and sexism excuse.. so we women can wash our hands of her.

    I hope the Media and Dems let her have it... oh and as Hillary would say "if you can't stand the heat .. get out of the kitchen"

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  21. Corie Mustoe from Kansas City

    Governor Palin's speech was just superb tonight! I am most impressed with her as a woman leader. I listened to every word of her message to America this evening and was moved by the way she made her points perfectly clear. I am a 46 year old mother of a 10 and 7 year old, and can feel her energy and dedication as a mother but also as a political figure that will be perfect for the United States as our Vice President.

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  22. Uma from Liverpool, UK

    There is a problem. She can be snide, schoolma'amish, waving her finger at the naughty Democrats and Press; Sarah Palin can be a shrieking bloody harpy... knowing full well that NOBODY can get away with calling her any such thing... let alone the word that rhymes with 'rich'.

    She is that, she knows it. She's the smiling pit-bull in lipstick, who can't actually be called the b-word, or even anything remotely similar.

    Criticising her back is going to be tricky.

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  23. Judith

    Fasten the seat belts... game is on. The Democrats must forget she is a female. Gender has nothing to do with this unless her position as a mother with an infant with Down's can distrack her. What has to be looked at is whether you believe in a separation of church and state; whether you are environmently conscious; whether you are committed to getting off oil dependence; whether you want the Supreme Court to have some balance; whether women should have choice; whether you believe one part is more tuned into the economy issues; whether there is a belief of a plan to deal with Iraq; whether the costs of healthcare can be contained; and whether your leaders have a leadership vision and have a team to put into place to implement it. So it's the issues. I could care less of the Pres is male or female and VP is male or female.

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  24. Edward

    Did anybody catch the graphics "gaffe" on CNN's part as Arizona gave its delegate votes to put McCain over the top? It announced McCain as the "Democratic Nomination Winner" this not the REPUBLICAN National Convention?? Accidental or on purpose......really??????????? I am so tired of the media's treament of this election. Makes one long for the "good ol' days" when it was just the party's and the candidates' slinging mud and we have to deal with the media as well!!!

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

    Though she did very well, I think there was something cheap and degrading about the speech. Whoever advised her to be sarcastic made a big mistake. It was forced and unappealing . An opponent is fair game, but she spoke in such derogatory terms about Obama that it seemed almost personal. She is a natural communicator, and I felt she was at her best when she spoke about energy. It will be a shame if they use her as a pitbull with lipstick. She's better than that.
    Thank you,
    Mary Talmi

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
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