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. Suzanne

    Is "executive" experience some new buzz word? Does McCain have it? Who needs it?...the VP or the President?

    And if Palin's list of McCain's qualities (tested by time and endurance) describe what is necessary for a "President", what happens if she (a heartbeat away) does not have the same experience in order to prove her mettle? I do honor McCain's strength of character as a POW, but the election has to focus on a very long laundry list of issues. Sarah needs opportunities to be vetted by the public. She came out with the punches , but the glove belonged to her speechwriters.

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  2. Mercy Castillo

    I just heard Campbell Brown give a critique about Harry Reid saying something about shrill languagea. As a woman I totally disagree that it was inappropriate. I found her to be shrill at times. C

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  3. Barbara

    She was SHRILL – she was also screeching, jeering and quite condescending to a Constitutional Scholar. What is HER degree in?

    She's doing this(exploiting a Down Syndrome Child) for POWER and McCain/Bush/Chency/ROVE are doing it for oil.

    Censor this one out CNN – you CENSOR AMERICAN Viewpoints.

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  4. Mediawatchdog

    Palin may have delivered an overall effective grade form the media critics at large for her rhetoric and her display of an enviable toughness in the face of adversity about her family's shortcoming of morality with a teen pregnancy under the age of consent in most states, especially troubling for a Pentacostal evangelical as the public will come to know who Palin is.

    One key point not to be missed is the demeaning manner that Palin has labeled the good work of community organizers in her viscious attack on Obama's previous work endeavors. Ms. Palin may soon find out what community organizers,–nd those who support their good work– do not cling to–hers and mcCain's candidacy! And let's get out all the facts back home in Alaska on the accusations aplenty on Palin.

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  5. Allan dallas

    every comment in CNN against Democrat, you just mad, angry becouse you hate and afraid the truth. NO Obama No Obama.

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  6. Tom in Delaware

    Gulliani on first, Huckabee on second, and Romney on third...Sarah Palin comes to the's the pitch...

    OMG it's a Grand Slam Home Run!

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  7. chuck

    thank you Paul Begalo for standing up for Hillary against these CNN reporters who are now running away from the truth

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  8. Beverly Hillbillies

    Palin = Trailer TRASH

    For the sake of America, Obama/Biden 08/12

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  9. Lis

    No McBush nor McPal. She should take care of her own business which is her family. Taking leadership of a country is no game and it require 24 hours a day seven days a week. This speech she gave was worked on longer than 72 hours. It was staged and rehearsed all day today!
    ObamaBiden 08

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  10. Anthony Price

    Ok, even the media"CNN" makes the slips of addressing our wonderful Governor by her first name as if they know her, "Sarah" she will touch your heart as she so obviously does ours. The mom next door that attracks the children of the neighborhood. You know you did Wolf!!! Call the rest by their full names or titles.......Sarah we feel so comfortable with....We heard it tonight on CNN, check your tapes.

    PROUD American, PROUD Alaskan

    God bless our country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  11. Sheilah

    As a young mother of a 3mnth old baby, I was hoping to here more about how she would help me face the financial brick wall and the health care nightmare that faces us more than bashing the democrats! I thought super star politics was a taboo in the Republican campaign, I'm literally in tears if this rue works on any woman. She might be a good mother, mayor and even Governor but I hope America sees past the girl next door act in this opera.

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  12. Jay

    I am a registered independent and I am neither black or white,but I strongly feel that Palin touched very sensitive parts of color and culture of Barrack Obama and M.Obama.This type of talk further going to divide our nation and Republicans should encourage and join more eastman/Kodak color in their party and down play racial matters in the public.At this age ,a white lady in Alaska became a Governner and before a Mayor and this does not happen for colored people.I have asked a a latino today whether her salary is above 60K.She replied that she does not have the enough white color in her skin or blue eyes eventhough she posses 10 years of College education.So Palin's talk and her selection definitely a color related not qualification or skills.This simple theory
    of colorism definitely affected Baracks family because it took 20 years
    to become a leaderfor his vision and idealogy .If a white man possess all this quality we could have seen a teenager President for USA and if he is a republican ,defenitely he will be a president by 12 years.After hearing Palins bad comments, my vote is for OBAMA only.

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  13. Marg.

    David I expected to hear you state "she delivered the speech that she was expected to". She is the one that paraded her daughter that is expecting and family with the baby with downs syndrome in front of the nation. She and the McCain camp are the ones that are expoliting her daughter and family. There is no sexism shown in any way towards her just because she is the woman running for the GOP VP. She had no substance in her speech. She just ran against the media and Barack and Michelle. It sounds as if Joe Biden can take of the gloves when he has to confront her in the VP debate. After all although she is a "women" running for VP she should be treated lthe same as Joe Biden. I think that you and the rest of the political panel for CNN need to get out in the real world and listen and see how the average person feels about the last 8 years of the Bush and Republican policies. As for the GOP VP candidate as being down to earth she is no different than myself a hockey mom, administrator, etc. I guess in the long run I am eligible to become the next VP to run with John McCain. I know McCain very well because I live in Tucson, AZ and feel that he is a poor representative for this state. Again, David get out and listen to the real people here in the US. You may think that she made a "homerun", but I think otherwise. John McCain is no "mavrick" that is all made up by yourself and the rest of the media that covered is last campaign.

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  14. Trish

    What a breath of fresh air. She delivered almost like Hillary and belive me, that's saying a mouth full. The Dems need to face the fact that Obama made a terrible mistake in not vetting – nor picking Hillary as VP. It was a crazy strategic mistake and he may pay the price for that. I hope Hillary's home laughing her toosh off.

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  15. paul Revere

    Nothing like snappy quips to keep Putin from bombing the snot out of Poland

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  16. Brian

    Nothing but more nastiness from the same party that brought us an illegal war, a sinking economy, and a less well educated population. Is there no end to their gall? Talk about a lack of judgment; this whole VP pick by McCain was the most hap-hazard, thoughtless choice in presidential history. This is the same woman that voted against funding sex education in high school and preached abstinence only programs, yet her unwed 17 year old high school aged daughter is 5 months pregnant. This Sarah Palin woman didn't even have the wherwithal to stop procreating past a certain age regardless of the increased health risk factors to herself and her potential child for women over 38 having children. The American people are to smart to be bamboozled again.

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |

    Republican party will put our country first "Down to the drain with their policy, Do we want to do this?"

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  18. More of the Same

    This lady is tough and smart. I can see her appeal to blue collar workers (white folks). Hopefully, the Dems won't underestimate her and think she's a pushover.

    As a black person, I was insulted by her speech. It's one thing to disagree with someone on policy; it's another to attack them personally. She alluded to and condescended to the Obamas several times during her speech, but mentioned Barack once or twice by name. She shows that she has nothing but contempt for the Obamas; black folks in particular.

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  19. Milton

    I'm guessing well-crafted means fear-mongering and personal attacks on the character of the Democratic ticket and the potential first lady. I don't condone any type of personal attacks, Democrat and Republican alike. With the exception of her reiteration of McCain's military service, maverick abilities, and his POW story, and her own personal story, the rest of her speech was a direct, personal hit to Obama, Biden, and Michelle Obama. No policies to direct the economy in the right direction, no policy to end the Iraq war responsibly, no serious energy policy to get us off foreign oil. That's all the American people wanted to hear. Not the reasons why we shouldn't vote for Obama, but the reason why we should vote the McCain-Palin ticket. We just didn't hear that tonight.

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  20. Jennifer A.

    WOW!!! Sarah Palin is a Spitfire. I love her "telling it like it is" attitude and standing up for the small town people. There is only one thing that needs to be said, "Watch out Democrats. Because there is no stopping her!!!"

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  21. Erin

    Sarah Palin is real. I was very much on the fence until tonight, but if she continues through the campaign to show the person that she was tonight, she'll win me over to their side. I'm tired of politicians and BS from Washington that may or may not be true. One never knows. She seems very real and much more like us real people.

    September 4, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  22. Independent Joe

    Palin offered nothing of substance. Instead of taking the time to provide substanitive credentials of what she could contribute to "serve the people" she wasted millions of folks time with Lame rhetoric and slants using her strongest point ... experience??? Com'on Get Real!

    Btw: the commander of the her state guard? Yes that is true by virtue of position. I've been proudly serving for 16 years in the military... what she did is take credit when the hard working/talented military leaders make the tough decisions... she's nothing more than a rubber stamp. If she can illustrate 1 decision she personally made, I'd be impressed.

    Women... Please don't fall for the gender card BS.... Yes I'd vote for a women... but not one who brings little to the fight.

    September 4, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  23. Tesa

    I think she did a remarkable speech yes, An even threw some hard punches at Obama (with some not true statements),But not enuff to make me change my mind even as a single mother with 5 children, An my youngest is a speical needs child. She dont belong in the white house, She belongs where she is now an thats a gov. I dont think she has got what it takes to be in the white house as a V.P. I am a first time voter! I want CHANGE for the United States. I want my kids to have the American Dream. I dont think they are offering that to the younger generation. How can she say Obama is'nt about change, he just talks it, She just came in the picture. She needs to come at the Democrates, independant voters plus the first time voters another way... Cause that is not going to take it.

    September 4, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  24. Mrs. Cook

    I agree with Paul in terms of the media being able to say what they think and not hold back because they have been ridiculed by the Republicans. And, I do felt the Wolf was persuading the other commentators to thinking carefully about what they were saying. Wolf don't punk out on us now...up until now, you were doing a great job! We need you...your peers have said and done what they thought was right and have stood behind it. I was very proud of go girl! Come on...let's report and be honest...say what you see!

    September 4, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  25. Tish,NC

    This is laughable!! Her speech sounded so read!!! Game on!! She thinks shes tough! She better get ready!!


    September 4, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
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