September 3rd, 2008
11:48 PM ET
12 years ago

Gergen: Palin delivers

Palin addressed the RNC Wednesday.

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. Tim

    That was terrible Gergen. You have lost my respect. All she talked about were the little gotcha politics that you talking heads love to discuss. She did nothing on the issues or for the independent voter. She is a sarcastic shrew that needs to go take care of her family.

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  2. Matt

    Let the comments by the obamites about her being some out of touch hick begin. I'm just guessing but this will be their first reaction to attacks that hit home to someone who's biggest qualification is a "Community Organizer".

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  3. DeeAnn Anderson

    I have always been a democrat, but I find such a negative tone to their campaign, compared to the republicans. I loved Gov. Palin's speech, and I will feel confident with her working beside Sen. McCain for our country.

    Sen. McCain won't be Bush's twin, and I believe he has the welfare of all Americans as his top priority. It won't surprise me if a lot of other democrats arrive at the same conclusion.

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  4. Ron L

    The fact she deliveried a powerful speech is no surprise...
    The fact she attacked Barack is no surprise...
    The fact she praised Sen McCain is no surprise....
    But this event is nothing but window dressing...
    The REAL TEST will come when she does One on One interviews on the Sunday Morning talk shows when she has to explain why she was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it, and why she asked for the pork-barrel project funding when she was mayor and now acts like she is totally against it.
    Some of what she has said will be a VERY HARD to defend!!
    This is just the beginning...

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  5. Donald from SC

    One thing I must say about this whole situation with Gov Palin and her VERY irresponsible husband.

    How do you let a child of six years handle a baby for over tens minutes? No real parent would let a child hold a baby unsupervised! Irresponsibility seems to run in your family.


    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  6. Clinton

    Wolfe, Campbell & Gergen, are u guys serious??? It seems like you guys are flipflopping. This was a utter attack on Obama through every speech with no rhetoric on the issues...are you serious??? This country is not looking for vicious attacks but solutions to the problems that the McBush/Cheney administration has put us in. And oh Sarah Falin, please do not complain now. I am disgusted with the Republican party, this is a disgrace.

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  7. will

    Palin told us what she think of any community organizers. She lied about pork, bridge to nowhere, she support Obama energy plan, as mayor she left the town in debt and women do not have a right of choice about there body. Look at her spitirual belief

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  8. Bulldog

    I personally thought she was more of the same once again. All she did was attack the other side and not give any solutions how she will be any different than George Bush and Dick Cheney. Matter of fact, her attack style and name calling reminded me of a combination of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  9. june

    Same old ,same old.Nasty politics as usual. Please talk about issues and not each other. Tired of it.

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  10. Amy, Kazoo

    Her condescension, sarcasm, and insults just aligned her even MORE with typical, old, tired, conservative Washington. Isn't that the tone that has been present at almost every past republican convention? How is that change?
    The McCain campaign had the audacity to demand the media and AMERICA stop investigating Palin's BACKGROUND and her family. I'm 100% on board with not talking about her daughter. But to suggest that the VP nom's BACKGROUND is off limits is something straight out of the Karl Rove playbook. It's very much GWB and the untouchables.
    For a campaign that calls for an end to attacking FAMILY or, even TALKING about family, she had NO problem going after Michelle Obama. So I guess Cindy McCain is fair game then, huh? Hypocrites. you can't demand that the press and other candidates back off your family and then go for the throat of a potential first lady in the same day and expect it to go unnoticed. Sarah Palin may say she's not out to win the good opinions of the media, but she better not forget the very media she scorns are the taxpaying citizens she says she's fighting for.

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  11. Women for change - Tina

    What a breath of fresh air. I hope others see the truth. We do not want bigger goverment. I wanted Clinton, but now I want McCain/Palin. Thanks Obama for making me change my vote to McCain.

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  12. Vet from TX

    So, she can read insults but please do fact check on her rhetoric. She has told some outright lies!

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  13. Paris

    Thank you Sarah Palin.
    I am proud of you as a women and as an American.

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  14. laDy8A5737

    I really respect David Gergen, but watching CNN makes me wonder if I was watching the same speech... it was, well, vicious! She had an attitude about her that wasn't enduring to me in the least. She reminds me of the snob in high school who looked down on someone wearing shoes that are "so not this year's look." I didn't get the feel of a family woman in the least. She was nasty and not warm. She isn't the victim that's for sure!

    ...her makeup looked good though. =P

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  15. john

    Are we American that hungry for power that we are so angry, I am so disgust that this night was full of so much hate

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

    Sarah Palin tone and delivery was on the sarcastic side. To me she represents the old ways of politics. She made verbal attacks like a high school coach to me.

    The contrast is that Obama has built his campaign without hard sarcastic, child-like remarks to win a battle. He is above all that.

    If something happened to McCain, Sarah Palin would need another Cheny to be her vice president. She is not ready to be president. I feel she is too naive and her approach is somewhat immature.

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

    Shrill ? The Democrat's just haven't learned yet have they? We're in a new era now! Sen. Harry Reid just doesn't get it! The sexist Sen. Harry Reid is in a state of panic. And so is Paul Begala!

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  18. Bob Sierra - San Deigo

    Wow! After seeing The RNC coverage tonight, its more obvious than ever that flash-in-the-pan "Barack-o-rama" is out of his league by getting in dangerous waters with "Sara-cuda" ...

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  19. wilson charles

    I think by watching the rcn tonite is a disgrace this people have the audacity face to talk about change, honestly voting republican in this election is a disaster for america mcain + palin=katrina


    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  20. Tasha

    It appears to me that all gloves are off and she's ready to do battle. I say, give Biden full reign and if I hear another "sexist" comment come out of another Republicans mouth I'll scream. If she has the gumptipon to make harsh cristicisms and inaccurate statements about the Democratic party than I say, give it back to her (respectfully of course), just as well as she can give it. She stepped on alot of toes (it's America, freedom of speech) but you have to back it up, she threw alot of punches but left herself open for quite a bit of retaliation. If she expects to be handled with kid gloves now, because she's a "I'm a hockey-mom-PTA-fishing-going" speech, go back to Alaska, because she's playing in the big league now. OBAMA 08!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  21. Obamas are Nice, but My Vote with McCain

    Following Hillary's fiasco, I am undecided. When Palin was announced, I had many questions and still do. However, she hit all the points in a way that was confident, convincing and congenial. The fact that she has a large family is a plus. It makes her larger than life. It makes her better than many of us. She has so much to give and be part of. And she does not let it hold her back. This is an achievement. I still want to see her speak in a real debate and can't wait to see how that experience tests her wits, her stamina and her knowledge.
    I like Obama and Biden. However, I must say with Palin, McCain is not a weak opponent.

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  22. Remus

    Six words: Democrats-will-pile-drive-her-now

    I cannot wait for the Democrat response...she is fair game now...just remember she likes to shoot animals.....heckuva role model for kids.

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  23. Robert

    She sure did! And I may say – she did very well. I think she's a perfect match for McCain. I like her speech and for those who think she was negative, let me ask them to watch the DNC again. Their convention was full of attacks on the republicans and specifically, John MCcain. I just think we need to understand the saying – what goes around, comes around. The DNC had their turn, now it's the RNC – get over it!

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  24. Linda Smith

    She delivered?!? Mercifully, she delivered the end of a horrible evening of mean-spirited speeches by mean-spirited people, with mindless, chanting delagates urging them on.

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  25. Dema

    The McCain campaign plans to dump her. If they were keeping her, they would have made her look credibly presidential. Instead they used her as an attack dog and cheerleader. The Republican cynicism runneth over.

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
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