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. OIF VET

    What a sad day for the GOP when they would perfer the VP to be at the top of the ticket. So let me get this straight, she wanted the bridge to nowhere before she started to run for VP. I have been told that she has stood up to her own party, that like McCain she is a reformer. Those are great talking points but wheres the proof. Putting the outdated state airplane up for sale doesn't make you a reformer, its what the governor of the second smallest state in the union tells McCain to get him to pick her.

    September 4, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  2. Chi-town gurl

    Great stand – up comedy routine, Palin! The Rebublicans found a great puppet to deliver months of frustration and pain they've been carring in her speech tonight at the good ole' boy lynching party. Sadly, she didn't say anything really substantial or take a position....just a lot of jabs and pot shots......This is what happens when you're losing. Hope the Obama camgaign will forget that she's a female and light into her, like a pit bull......send her back to Alaska with her head between her legs......

    September 4, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  3. Cali

    I'm confused by the response to Palin's speech. The media consensus seemed to be that the previous speakers–Romney, Giuliani, and Huckabee–were ugly and offensive in their remarks. I fail to see how Sarah Palin was any less offensive with her comments about community organizers, terrorism, and small town values. Also, as a college student involved in public speaking, I have to say I didn't see a confident, polished speaker standing at the podium tonight. She dulled many of her sharpest lines by bumbling the delivery, and she seemed to be thrown off by appropriate applause. This was a highly anticipated address, but tonight the content crossed the line and her delivery was anticlimactic.

    September 4, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  4. David

    Can someone tell Campbell Brown why she's touting the McCain campaign?

    So let me get this right... Palin can criticize Dems, even PERSONALLY, as much as she wants, and Dems just have to stay silent?

    Get a life Ms .Brown! Obviously, the McCain campaign's intimidation worked. Just because Palin is a woman does not shield her from any criticism. After all, I thought she's a bulldog? IF she can't take the heat, then she needs to get out of the kitchen.

    She can't use her kids as photo ops, including talking at length about her child with down syndrome, but expect no questions on her readiness to be VP.

    September 4, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  5. Marie in CA


    September 4, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  6. interesting


    I guess you are realizing what a JEWEL Governor Palin and why Obama and his campaign is SCARED OUT OF THEIR PANTS.

    PUMA 2008!

    September 4, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  7. Every Wilson

    I just can’t believe the republican's stupidity! I read about a segment with NBC's Chuck Todd ended today, Republican consultant Mike Murphy and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan were caught on a live microphone ridiculing the choice of Sarah Palin. "It's over," said Noonan, and then responded to a question of whether Palin is the most qualified Republican woman McCain could have chosen. I am waiting to see how the republicans will spin this! Now, they are trying to say or spin that Sarah Palin has a better background, more experience than Barack Obama. I just can’t take it anymore! Let’s do a comparison! Barack Obama received a B.A. in political Science from Columbia University, specializing in international relations, J.D. in Law from Harvard University, graduated magna cum laude; President of the Harvard Law Review. Sarah Palin received Bachelor’s in Journalism from University of Idaho. Barack Obama spent 12 years (1992-2004) teaching Constitutional Law, 7 years state Senator (where he sponsored more than 800 bills), 4 years as Senator for Illinois, a state with population of 12.8 million people. Sarah Palin, spent 4 years on Wasilla City council(pop 8000), 6 years as Wasilla Mayor, 1 year as Ethics Commissioner of Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, 20 months as Governor of a state with pop 660,000. Do the Republicans really think we're so stupid that we would believe she is more experienced than Obama? Give me a break! Now, What do we know about Palin’s husband who has been a member of the Alaska Independent Party, he withdrew membership in 2000. I heard their is actual proof republicans cant sweep that under the rug. If you don’t understand what the Alaska Independent Party is in short they are a party that want the United States to be seperated from Alaska! John McCain has a definite judgment problem; so does the republican party! So, you can't say anything about Gov. Palin's family but you can attack Senator Obama's wife. I hope voters aren't fooled by this double standard!
    It is alright to talk about the democratic women but not the republican women! You can talk about African American woman, but you can’t talk about a White woman! This show just how pathetic and desperate the republicans are, they will say or do anything to stay in office or get into the highest office of the land!

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  8. John from Birmingham

    There's a novelty about Sarah Palin that won't wear off for a few more days, but when it does, it should still be very clear that she's a much better communicator than McCain. I still think the main reason Barack didn't choose Hillary as his running mate was because he was afraid the media would be more focused on her throughout his presidency. McCain just might have set himself up for the same outcome.

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  9. Daniel-LA

    She has changed nothing. All i hear is mockery and condescending statements. She is no longer a victim that GOP tried to lael her. The moment of truth is at hand. Her bootcamp coaches better prep her for facing the media and not a prompter.


    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  10. NoMcSame No ReThuglicans

    The sex card is being played even in the press. They are trying to tie the hands of the democrats.

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



    Obama Biden 08/12

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  12. GG

    Great speech...She makes a wonderful choice for the radical right. But, 4 more years of Bush is what they are offering and she can't change that fact.

    Plus – She tried to ban books at public libraries, wants to make abortion a crime (even for rape victims), vetoed a bill that supported teen moms and a long list of misconceptions that are inconsistent with what the campaign has promoted palin as being.

    My 2 cents

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  13. Machiavelli, Baton Rouge, LA

    Yes, all of that would have been nice if it had been crafted in her own words; however that was not the case. Reports show that every part of her speech was written by McCain speechwriters who took her through the process of memorizing and practicing her speaking abilities before an audiance. Moreover, she, as well as John McCain, has a lot of nerves to criticize the media for vetting this woman better than what he should have. I think the media has done a fine job of covering Palin. McCain doesn't like the fact that the information that he is learning about his VP is unflattering; therefore, he blames the "liberal" media for picking on her. Furthermore, stop with this notion about people being sexist because they expose the truth about a candidate. Not once has Obama accused the media of racial bias when he has gotten unflattering press. McCain should take a page from Obama's book. McCain picked this woman for that same reason: to use as a scapegoat to keep the media from criticizing him or his policies. Many out-of-touch, out-of-the-mainstream, right-wingers will fall for this ploy, but the majority of the informed voters will not.

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  14. Bulldog

    Was this the White People National Convention?

    I tried to locate any person of color in the crowd and located 3 in about an hour. That is a disgrace.

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  15. tiffany

    OMG!!!!!!! I was so set in my mind to be proud but go against her so bad full hearted. BUT TONIGHT!!! she got this independent fired up about what women can do with families. I'm proud for just women not for the ticket. OBAMA 08

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  16. Michael Zander

    Community Organizers have responsiblities. They are fighting for AMERICAN CITIZENS LIVES



    She fought for disabled children YOU -man im not even going to there. She is just a pitbull with lipstick, no brain!!!!

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

    Sorry madam you are been used to try to capture women's votes. It's a pity.
    For Mcbush you are just an object like his money to grab votes!
    You really need a re-think.
    Should Mcbush become president expect to play his secretary and house mate

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  18. Diane Peterson

    What does Sarah Palin have to say about health care and the high cost of college tuition? Anyone can read from a teleprompter and make sarcastic comments about the other candidate. Educated women are more concerned about substance and not impressed by a woman who stoops to that level. Sarah Palin is being used by the McCain campaign.

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  19. Constantine

    The democrats talked about real issues during their convention. All I have seen to date during the republican convention is fear mongering, personal attacks on Obama and misleading economic policies scenarios. For example high gas prices in the United States and elsewhere are directly related to republican policies i.e., supporting the oil and gas lobby, supporting Saudi Arabia, and making a small handful of Americans and Arabs extremely wealthy. The more I watch the republican convention the more I feel that people on the right are highly unintelligent and are the reason that there is such a polarization in wealth and prosperity in the US. Feeding peoples fears and is good for big business and bad for people. Would you rather put your future in the hands of elected politicians (where there is some level of accountability) or that of the corporate big wigs whose only drive is that of profit?

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  20. Anna

    She delivered well and acted out the speech well. She appeared confident and appeared as if she was trained by watching Hillary's speech movements. She did however get Obama's policy facts wrong and released strategic military information concerning her son's deployment a commander in chief should not have. She has potential. She is nearly there. Not just now. She did open Pandora's box.

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  21. G. Robertson

    I'm not impressed because she played the Mom card. At all. She can read a speech – yay. This says nothing about her abilities or qualifications as a leader; rather the disingenuous remarks about the Bridge to Nowhere and the sarcasm and mockery were not attractive and not the 'leadership qualities' one would hope for in a Veep.

    She only looked good tonight in contrast with the horrible, mocking, divisive, and dreadful speeches of those who spoke before her.

    They have all blown any pretense that theirs is the party of unity; rather they are intent on forcing Americans apart and creating animosity. Palin is part of that gang. I'd be impressed if she distanced herself from what happened at this convention and withdrew from the fray.

    I think the water cooler talk tomorrow will be about how hateful the speeches at this convention were. Watching all that left me depressed – and seeing the wild hoots and jeers of the revved-up audience, frankly, creeped me out.

    All in all, a dreadful night.

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  22. D

    A great speech by great VP candidate. She showed that she is a strong real woman who has what it takes to bring real change to Washington.

    McCain/Palin 08

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  23. JET

    What Palin delivered was a vacuous speech filled with border line mockery and half-truths. Where was the substance? Where was the discussion about the economy? And why should I feel any better now about her possibly being second in command?

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  24. Donovan

    Sarah Palin is Shrill, Shrill, Shrill. Get over it. She used harshed words that are disgraceful and offensive. If she wants to play with the big boys and can dish it out, She should be able to take it.

    Campbell Browns comment about sexism is totally uncalled for, thats something we would expect out of Nancy Grace. People watch you guys b/c you are the best on tv.

    Please stay true.

    Thank you

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  25. Rick

    You know what is interesting when you look at the GOP convention? Everyone looks like your Grandmother or Grandfather. What new thinking, this same old GOP it has been in the last 30 years. It is time for a new generation of leaders and that is why I am supporting Barack.

    September 4, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
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