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. RJ Koch

    I am a conservative Republican that supports John McCain although I don't agree with all of his positions. I am very impressed with both Sarah Palin's speech and her conservative values. She has inspired me politically in a way that I have not felt since the days of Ronald Regan. I am very excited to see the McCain/Palin ticket win the general election and place the United States back in the driver seat as the worlds sole super power.

    September 4, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  2. Anna

    She can bring home the bacon..fry it up in a pan...and never...well never mind, David.
    Yes, she was impressive and showed she is not afraid to take on the Media, Washington, her opponents in the race, her enemies around the world...makes one wonder if it's confidence, naivete or an intriguing combination.
    She will appeal to blue collar, and many women I believe (Gallup says only 13% of women say their candidate must agree with them on the Choice issue).
    I have always been a Dem...but I can't get past Obama's dismal voting record. Just being 'present' won't cut it in the White House.
    thx for letting me share a thought.

    September 4, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  3. Chris Gaddy

    SHRILL- So I need to be careful huh when using that word if I describe the "Shrill" Governor Palin in her deliverance of tonights speech?

    If I am to take the use of the word SHRILL as condescending in describing her sarcastic stand-up comedy routine of a should I take the buttons worn in the background by her supporters at the convention that state "Hoosiers for the Hot Chick"?

    Yep that is what I saw. I am sure I can roll back my dvr and show you if you like. Seriously, sexism? Let's move past that and get to the real issues.

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

    Mrs Palin gave a good speech. I wonder if she really believe that oil overseas is very important to her party? She took a page from the other side's book and throwing their own words back at them. Bring something new to the board. The people of America is suffering and needs help, CHANGE, bashing is out and is out of style, not the same political games. The people need help and serious help. All over America people are on the streets homeless, job-less and sick and need good health care it is simple as that. These are the issues you need to impress on Americans because they will donate their money but wants results.

    September 4, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  5. DMF

    She was superb, authentic and a true reformer.

    The press tears her apart, and then they expect her to come in and smile sweetly and say a few gratuitous, mealy-mounthed words.

    She is one of the rare "straight-talking" sincere, and true reformers ever to arise on the political scene in my lifetime.

    This country is faced with one of the gravest moral, economic and administrative crisis in its history.....we aren't going anywhere fast with Obama, who just wants to suffocate us with more government and more taxes.

    What Palin did in Alaska, she will strive to do in this country. She is no one's fool, and she is fearless.

    She is fully qualified with her depth of perception, fearlessness, mental acuity and executive competence to step into the office of President if need be....I have no doubts about that after tonight.

    In fact, I think McCain did the same thing with this choice that he did when he supported the surge.....he was his own man and took an unpopular decision because he is convinced it it the best choice for this country.

    History will prove him right again if Americans are wise enough to elect him.

    September 4, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  6. Tanya


    September 4, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  7. Don Johnson

    We need someone in office that can recognize the importance of those people that work to bring people together, we need someone that is "capable" of putting people "first". Who is Palin to suggest that organizers mean nothing when many organizers do so for FREE for the purpose of helping our great citizens of the US. She and McCain are so far out of touch that it is sad. She needs to stay in Alaska and stay out of the White house, 18 million people really do not want her or McCain in there. 8 more years? I say "No way, No how, NO MCCAIN"!!

    September 4, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  8. CJB in CA

    By ALL accounts,

    PALIN hit a GRAND SLAM !!


    NObama's Experience / Qualification to be President – "NADA"

    No Way, NO HOW – NADABAMA!!!
    No Way, NO HOW – NADABAMA!!!

    Hillary Democrat for McCAIN / PALIN '08 !!!

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  9. Bill

    Where was the WOW factor?

    She talked about her family, tried to make the case that being the mayor of a town of 6000 and the governor of a state of less then 700,000 qualifies her for being on the ticket and drug up the POW issue again.

    No WOW, nothing really jumped out at me as having true substance.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  10. keith

    Palin's job are twofold.
    1. Drag Obama down by comparing experience with him making Mccain superior even when she is not directly Obama's opponent.
    They know she does not match a thouroughly vetted Oama.
    2. Set a trap for Joe Biden to take on her personal stand on conservative issues which she is against but now says are 'personal and private' because the hypocrisy is out to the public. GOP is banking on Biden to make a mistake so that they would whip emotions and win especially women's vote.
    GOP knows she does not have the criteria to be in the race.
    She is going to be very aggressive in drawing democrats out as a trap.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  11. Will - OKC

    I don't think Sarah Palin delivered anything but an uninspired, negative and often childish speech.

    Americans are tired of the negative, snide and immature rhetoric that the Republicans are so good at. The truly horrible thing is that these people are being put forth as examples for our children. While we strive to teach them the value of tolerance, maturity and respect for others these so-called leaders get up and spout childish attacks against the Democrats with all of the gusto of a twelve year old.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  12. Hershell

    I am tired of the republicans playing politics with my country. Palin is grossly unqualified for vice president of the U.S. McCain has less than a 50/50 chance of making through a first term. For the GOP to rally around this pick knowing that our country will be in her hands is so frustrating. When will someone stand up and say this is stupid!! Have we really fallen this far that a PTA president is nominated for the most powerful position in the world. This is a joke. There are teenage mayors of town bigger than the one she led. There were more people in the stadium watching Obama's speech than she was responsible for as mayor. Give me a break!!

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  13. Didi

    I can't imagine my comments will be published, but I will say this. The Republicans crossed the line and they may regret. I've never seen so many people fired up and ready to take them on. If it's a scrap they want, they might be shocked. This is not John Kerry's democratic party. It's Barack Obamas.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  14. mary j

    The democrats will have a run for their money in the closing days of this race.

    Their sleazy, rude statements about Sarah Palin are simply a sign of their gross insecurity.

    Shame on them for their sexist, baseless rumors and mean spirited comments about a women they wish they had, or should I say, COULD HAVE HAD (in Hillary), on their ticket.

    The Dems have been caught completely flat footed in on the road to progress for women and for America.

    Just listen to the talking heads in the liberal media...they are simply half crazed idots shooting from their hips...firing off all sorts of ridiculous, irrelevant nonsense.

    What a pack shallow, spineless, arogant fools!

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  15. RC

    Cheney in sheep's clothing...

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  16. Jeffrey

    So, this is the VP of the Republican party...a female Joe Biden..someone who can dish it with a smile. We'll find out if she can take it.

    No pushover, but did she have to be so nasty?

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  17. cevaughn

    I was completely rivted to the television. Sarah Palin was amazing, very intelligent, well spoken and really has a pulse on the American People. I will definitely vote for McCain/Palin .. I think the democrats have good reason to be concerned.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  18. Winston

    Palin speach shows what is wrong with the republican party. They spend too much energy tearing down a persons character and not enough time on presenting solutions. I think Palin speach did what the republicans wanted it to do, but also highlights the whole reason why they are going to lose this election. This whole convention is about beating a democrat for the White House and not about correcting the economy, ending the war on Iraq, creating jobs, and better the lives of the American people.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  19. Bob

    Gergen – Does 25 miles north of Boston count for suburban America...I thought she was great. Bostonians have never been afraid of tough...she spoke to America and not at America...priceless.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  20. Sachin

    Insults after insults...What was the solution? I am a republican that was considering voting for McCain....regretfully i am ashamed of my party tonight! Will there ever be a Reagan again? What happened to moderate republicans....are we a dying breed?

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  21. Dawn in MN

    Too bad she had to struggle with the hard words when she was talking about the unfamiliar things surrounding national security. She should really try to learn how to say "Iraq" instead of eye-rack. Did she give away secret information about where and when her son was being deployed to eye-rack. If she doesn't want the press to do there job when investigating her background, maybe she should try telling the truth instead of lies. Come on, everyone in the world knows her lie about the bridge to nowhere. Of course, as usual, she had to use sarcastic attacks against Senator Obama because the republicans don't have anything to be for. But, she will have great appeal to the extreme right wing nuts who wear republican hats instead of American hats.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  22. Jason Kendy

    I was most grossed out by the parading of her family, babies, and that poor, poor teenage boy. Will the Republicans stop at nothing in their pandering, their cynicism?

    Wow, did Obama and Biden look high road-not just in tone but in actual thought--compared to this evening of base insults, lack of ideas, and old thinking. These people are freaking me out completely. I am an American abroad-last 22 years-and plan to keep it that way. "Wingnuts" doesn't come close to explaining the vile hatred these people spew.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  23. T. Franco

    Oh my gosh! She was horrible! We had such a refreshing hopeful speech in Obama who so intelligently told McSame off, and here we had a woman spewing cliches and tired, canned insults. CNN, of coursed, gushed, but I don't know why! Olbermann called her a mix of Tracey Flick from Election and Anne Richards. More like Tracey Flick and Anne Coulter. I am unimpressed and sooooo psyched about Obama. Now I know he'll win. YES WE CAN!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  24. BCD

    I think it is absurd and insulting to one’s intelligence when Palin is talking about her son being deployed into Iraq. This beautiful mise en scene is fascinating to me. It is as if her son is going to be in the field where the real actions and the real dangers are. They are hidden somewhere safe, the same areas where the McCains, the Obamas and the Joseph Bidens step foot on their trips to Iraq. Do not tell me that they are putting their lives on the line for their country. Please can someone tell me the name of one son or daughter of one of these influential politicians who even get hit during a war. Educate me please!

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  25. Palin Is No Hillary

    I was very dissapointed by the spectacle. The GOP wants to continue dividing this country and my fear is that people are going to fall for it once again. The end result is that we will end up doing deeper into debt, lose more jobs, lose more lives in Iraq, continue to torture people, lose more freedoms (e.g., spy on citizens) and become more isolated. The GOP likes to claim patriotism yet they continue to lie, spread fear and cater to big oil and bash fellow Americans who fight for this country and come from all backgrounds. The GOP also likes to keep religion in a pidgeon hold but GOD belongs to no political party. I think that they should be ashamed of themselves and pray for forgiveness because the Lord knows all and has the last say.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
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