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. Alex

    Delivered? This was the meanest speech by a woman I ever heard. She reminds me of a teacher everyone hated in school.

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  2. chris

    I don't give a rip how well she relates. Remember how well George Bush related before each election. I want a person who deals effectively with foreign policy, our national economy and health care. I do not want us to vote for someone based on their popularity but how who is knowledgable about the issues and intelligent to boot. American, why do we insist on electing Presidents just like us, the common man/woman??? A president should be smarter than most of us. After all, he/she is running for the highest job in the land? Why do some Americans look down on intelligence? Do we really want a clueless president? I don't care how well Obama or McCain relate to us, I care about HOW they handle and solve important issues.

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  3. baffled

    Palin delivered alright, she delivered the most arrogant and smug toned speech so far. Her negative attacks against the Obamas' out shined the information about her and her family. After hearing this speech I feel as if, the families who are struggling to pay their bills, the single parent with no healthcare for her child, our troops, and our nation are own their own. I refuse to vote for a hockey mom who mocks "community organizers" who work hard to help their local communities. She has mocked all those small town workers and those people who work in their local communities to make them better. It will be a sad day if this woman is a heartbeat away from the presidency.

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  4. John McShame, Obama Is Going to Tax You & Cindy, but Not Me & 95% Americans Making < $250,000/Yr


    Former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan showed copies of the e-mails to The Washington Post. He didn't provide copies to the newspaper, but said he has turned copies over to an investigator probing the firing for the Legislature.

    The Post reported on its Web site that the e-mails were sent from Palin's personal Yahoo account. In one, dated Feb. 7, 2007, it says of the investigation of Wooten: "This trooper is still out on the street, in fact he's been promoted."

    "It was a joke, the whole long 'investigation' of him," says the e-mail, sent giving Monegan permission to speak before a bill being heard by the Legislature. "This is the same trooper who's out there today telling people the new administration is going to destroy the trooper organization, and that he'd 'never work for that b '," Palin'.)"

    The second e-mail was sent July 17, 2007, discussing a bill before lawmakers that would prevent the mentally ill from having guns.

    The e-mail says the first thought "went to my ex-brother-in-law, the trooper, who threatened to kill my dad yet was not even reprimanded by his bosses and still to this day carried a gun, of course."

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  5. Robert

    Palin Delivers? What did she deliver? She lied about Obama's proposed policies. She did not detail (nor will McCain) what they will do to fix the problems 8 years of Republican rule has caused.. She delivered a propaganda commercial, essentially.

    The nastiness she employed against Obama might have displayed to folks that she is tough.. Well, after he has been such a gentleman to her regarding her daughter and all, it was just plain shameful. She could have explained the differences of what they will do as opposed to what he wants to do. Instead, she offered one liner insults.

    People are tired of the routine and archaic bashing of 'liberals.' They are trying to tell us they are the agents of the change we so badly need, when they have been the architects of all that is wrong in this country for the last 8 years. People aren't going to buy it.

    When she is in a debate with Biden, and doesn't have a prepared speech that she spent two days memorizing... or a teleprompter... let's see how confident she is then.

    September 4, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  6. Toni

    Wow! Community organizers can't bring about a change! I guess leaders like Martin L. King did not bring about any changes in our country. Get realllll.

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  7. ex-republican for obama / biden

    blah blah blah.

    cobert nation and daily show were to the point and hilarious.

    absolutely entertaining and informative at once.

    who needs neo-con spin doctirs parading as mainstream corporate news media?

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  8. What is the big deal????

    I cannot believe that people are excited about this woman!!!! She read a scripted speech that bored me to death. I am not impressed at all with her.

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  9. Bush-Whacked

    The only reason McCain had to choose Palin is that he could not find anyone smaller than himself. He needed to boost his Napoleaonic complex and actually have someone that would have to look up to him.

    I guess that is what happens to old war heros. No wonder he is itching to get into another conflict. Trying to relive your wonder years ain't gonna fix this country Johnny!

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

    Community organizers have responsibilities. They are directly impacting and helping people save their homes, get jobs, anything necessary to keep the community moving. How dare she refer to community organizer do not have responsibilities. A community organizer helped my family keep my house.

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

    Gergen, How can you call such a hate-filled speech that is more about Obama than the real issues that face America positive??? Have you lost your mind??

    You journalists have lost your mind...people are suffering in this country and all you can do is say who was best at attacking Obama??? Where is your sense of decency?

    Clearly, due to your negligent reporting, you keep steering this election towards you really understand the consequences of McCain as president???

    Censor this if you want...that is what you can do best...bask in the divisive politics of the republicans.

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  12. Janice

    Ms. Palin is everything the Democrats have been claiming Obama is and more.

    She is authentic.

    She is honest.

    She is an average American.

    Obama doesn't stand a chance.

    McCain/ Palin '08

    Palin 2012

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  13. Sue in MI

    Did anyone else noticed that she AGAIN mentioned her son's unit and when they were deploying? Would someone please tell her that this endangers him and his unit? Is she that stupid? You didn't hear Biden even mention that his son is also leaving soon. Experience or blind ambition? Intelligence or just the abiltiy to read a canned speech from a prompter (didn't they also rip Obama for that?) So much for McCain's civil campaign. he has lost control of the party, which means the party will run him should he be elected. Pray God no.

    I'll take Obama/Biden over these mean-spirited clowns. Obama has been a true gentleman regarding her family, and she repays him by taking a swipe at Michelle (I'm always proud to be an American) and many lies about Obama. He HAS reached across the aisle and sponsored some important legislation. The GOP might try FactCheck if indeed they cared about the truth. But if they did, she'd have to stop claiming that she stopped the bridge. What she did was take the money and run!
    Maybe this will come out at the debate, cause she isn't shooting straight.

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  14. Linda K.

    She's a pit bull, but I don't think that makes her a good leader. She came off as fake to me, like the popular girl who never loses. Her speech would be better suited for student council or maybe even school board. And don't say my comments are sexist because I'm a woman who has seen too many of these Barbie cheerleader types. They generally crash and burn in the end–all polish and no substance.

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

    I'm disappointed in your take. I've always been impressed by your insightful analysis, but you and many of your colleagues seem to be reacting to the McCain campaign's harsh critique of your Palin pursuit. I think you missed objectivity on this one.
    You've (CNN) been fawning over a hateful and snarky high school speech.
    Step back, take a deep breath, clear your head, and read the transcript. All hate, no substance.
    Palin had a chance to endear herself to middle America. Instead, she pandered to the base and spewed the same vitriol this Country has endured for too many elections.

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  16. Vickie

    I am an Alaskan resident and I will commend Sarah Palin for a fine speech. A speech that was all about slashing Obama and the Democratic Party. I am proud to be an independent that will continue to support my candidate, Barack Obama, a man that will not stoop the low depths of the Republican Party. This election is not about hard hits, it is about the future of our nation and it is clear the Republicans only care about winning their votes with fear and absolutely no real change defined.

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  17. Nick

    You are so bias David.
    You can't stand the fact that this women is much more than your "community organizer". She is the new power and she is going to get a lot of Hillary voters.
    McCain 2008
    Hillary 2012

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  18. Nick from OH

    The McCain camp better not pull the gender card constantly. The former CEO of HP already is doing that along with Michelle Bachman congress woman. If you sell a jet on ebay, I guess that means you are qualified for president. Bologna.

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  19. Pat

    Well presented speech. No substance. I'm not one of the women that is carried away because her family is on stage. The republicans are playing games while our country , our environment and way of life are in peril. I don't like the idea of someone trying to handle me through lies and scare tactics. Can we please hear about the issues and stop with the POW rhetoric.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  20. Roger from CA

    What's with this "shrill" business from Campbell Brown????? Why are you deliberately trying to generate an issue by parsing out the meaning of Harry Reid's comment????


    This is why people hate the press.

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  21. sue

    Campbell Brown-no wonder no one could take you seriously.

    They were shrill attacks-you cannot stand there and take aim at everone in the crowd, like a sniper-and then bat your eyes and say "how dare you".
    How dare you Campbell Brown...This woman can tell the difference!
    I guess that would only anger the beauty queens.
    To think that any woman with half a brain would be insulted by that term is basicly ignorant!

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  22. Joseph from Jersey

    Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani is a delusional speaker to say Sarah Palin is one of the “most successful and most popular mayors ever.” What an absolute joke and insulting to the intelligence of the people of these United States of America! I didn’t know being the former mayor of 8,000 qualifies as being successful. My neighborhood has more people than that. LOL. You can’t ignore the fact that she maybe become the second most powerful person of the free world and I’m sure that Americans are smart enough to know that she is not even close to being qualified to run my beloved country. I consider myself an average American and you can poll the average American and I’d say that at least 95% of us have never heard of Sarah Palin until McCain made his announcement and that number is being generous! Is the Republican Party that weak and desperate that they do not have a more qualified Republican to represent them than the governor of a state that’s not even more populated than our smallest state, Rhode Island? The people of America deserve better than this! Cheap attacks will not work in this campaign and I can not wait to have Barack Obama and Joe Biden to represent this great country so that the people of America can breathe easier once again with hopes of making our country the proud country it should be and will be once again!!! I just watched Sarah Palin speak and I am not one bit impressed with cheap biting rhetoric and can not see her being my vice president of these United States! This only has made my decision that much easier for me to vote for the Obama/Biden ticket and hope you do to. Joseph

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  23. Hogdaddee

    That journalism degree and stints as an on-air sports announcer seems to have benefited Sarah Palin. Her delivery of the red-meat speech crafted for her by the McCain brain trust was a pretty good serving of smarmy, dismissive and mocking rhetoric – the perfect republican dish – complimented by the cherry red GOP kool-aid served up by Mitt, Huck and Rudy.

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  24. Cathy

    The game is now on! Since she is able to dish out attacks, she better be able to take them. Again, the Repubs have wasted another night of not talking about how they will help this economy. Remember Bush was a governor with so call "experience" and see where he has led us. When we start attacking her, and we will, the whinners better not holler that we are beating up on a woman. I am a woman myself and if I am going to play with the "Big Boys" I better be able to take the licks. The Repubs think they can use her as an attack dog and holler when she is attacked. Well it will not work! Dems, do not allow McSame to use this woman to attack and not attack her back. Hit her just as hard as you hit McSame.

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  25. patrick

    I think Palin was way out of her league to say Obama has not done nothing and to basically belittle his historic accomplishments. I think she came out a little strong.

    Nonetheless, its Obama/Biden2008

    September 4, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
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