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. megan

    I have to admit that i'm a bit surprised by Palin's personal jabs at the Democratic party, I feel at a time where her 17 year old daughter admits to being 5 months pregnant, herself having been a young- if not teenage mother herself, and her lack of experience, that she is in no place to criticize Senator Obama or Biden, and is certainly not in a place to incite a character debate. In fact, I find it insulting that she stooped to personal attacks when Obama has taken a strong stance against using family as an attack point, when other candidates or politicians would not shy away from using that against her

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  2. EX -Democrat now for McCain

    Mrs. Palin's Speech was excellent!!!! Palin's speech put Biden's speech to shame! We now know who were voting for Mr. McCain and Mrs. Palin all the way !!! We Sick of Obama and his hater supporters!!

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  3. Sandra Glover

    I want to say that until I heard Palin's speech, I was very undecided about McCain's VP choice. I now know that she will be a positive choice. To address one of your female reporter's (Donna's) comments about not addressing single mothers problems – let me answer that for her – you do what most of us do – you get out and work two or three jobs while continuing your education funded by personal loans because you don't qualify for loans based on race, sex, marital status, and income. I have worked towards my goals with NO help from the government – do not expect help from the government. Every man, woman, and child needs to realize that it is not our government's responsibility to fund or solve our personal problems and choices that we have made in life. For that reporter and those that feel the way she does – grow up and face your own problems and solve them yourself. I will be 50 years old tomorrow and have reached the top of my nursing profession by struggling as a single mother, working up to three jobs at a time, by pursuing and achieving my educational goals on my own. STOP looking for your government to drag you out of the circumstances that you are in. You are responsible for your own destiny. Palin demonstrates this! I am the leader of a healthcare facility and there are many great female leaders in every walk of life – regardless of their titles or education. Everyone needs to realize that women can get the job done!
    Thank you,

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  4. CH


    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  5. Ralph

    anyone who votes Republican this election is voting for hatred, bigotry, and baseless insults.

    This night has been truly offensive. What has happened to the party of Reagan?

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  6. Alexa

    I actually really liked that she came out strong. She won't be easy to put down. The media has attacked her badly, especially after we learned her daughter is pregnant, but I am happy she stood up for herself and showed us what she's made of.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  7. James

    If she doesn't want sharp, deeply personal attacks on her, she ought to be careful not to pull punches herself. She would do better to stick to arguments about the issues.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  8. JUAN

    I just heard Sarah Palin speech at the NRC. It just convinced me Barack Obama made the worse mistake of his campaign by not choosing Hilary for VP. If he is such a uniter why couldnt he work out his diferences with the Clinton campaign?? I think Pailing just prooved she is as qualified, if not more, to bew VP than Biden.
    I just made up mt mond im voting Mc Cain/Palin and the main reason is Mc Cain showed better judgment in choosing his VP....

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  9. sam

    Palin is a tough cookie. A deceptive Nazi-esque manipulative cookie. I really hope Obama is putting his gloves on. It is time to fight back.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  10. Mary

    What kind of woman would compare herself to a dog? I can see why she caught McCain's eye, she has no morals.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  11. Hoping

    I just watched the Republican convention speeches.
    I have never seen anything so disturbing. Grown men and women who want to run the country (and they have been) acting like a high school click. Laughing at and making fun of the other party. The only thing they did not say was na, na, na, na, na. I just have to ask, do they really misunderstand what Democrats say or do they mean to twist things, take things out of context, and basically lie. Listening to them I would have thought that it was the Democratic party that has messed things up so terribly these last eight years. Now that is spin. As for McCain/Palin in power, they would be a magnified Bush/Cheney. He is impulsive and reckless and everything about her screams a bullying sense of abuse of power.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  12. Tom

    Palin delivers seems like a shocking over statement. It seems almost humorous that she was trying to paint Obama as inexperienced. If that's not the pot calling the kettle black then I don't know what is.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  13. Rob indetroit

    I cant wait untill Barack sic's HRC on Palin, she's scarier than a pitbull.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  14. Caitlin Durham

    Gov. Palin was terrible. Yes, her personal story was very touching BUT her facts are terribly incorrect. She is the Gov. of Alaska. How can she talk about a surplus and tax cuts when she is the Gov. of ALASKA, where there are more animals then people. I am sorry but she has little to no experince, she can't even touch Obama. It is so silly for her to even argue that her PTA experince overrides Obama's communtiy organizer experience. As a former Clinton supporter, I think she was terrible. (Plus she's in the middle of a HUGE scandle. We'll see how the investigation goes.)

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  15. I couldn't even watch eight more minutes

    It doesn't even matter if both McCain and Palin (McPain) are over qualified to be elected President and VP. The issue is not qualifications, the issue is whether Americans wake up in time to see through this smoke screen before the failed legacy policies of the past eight years are continued. Make no mistake, the number one goal for the elite Republican machine is to get grandpa McCain and Playmate Palin elected so that they have a better shot at drilling for oil in Alaska and other untapped regions of the coastline and in the interior. Like the Brits said when "W" was elected, "How can so [many] Americans be so dumb? Saying that Republicans are good for America as a whole is like saying, Hitler was an equal opportunity employer and did not discriminate. Jesus may be against abortion, but I'm sure He is equally against destroying the environment, denying health care to the weakest and most vulnerable in our society. And we know He is against lying (i.e., creating stories that mislead the entire world into swallowing lies designed to plunge the US into perpetual war. It is time to fight back and take our country back from the most unresponsive government ever. God help us crush the Republicans this November, so that we can bring back fiscal responsibility, diplomacy, domestic peace and tranquility, and for the first time make health care a moral right rather than an institution of profit for the insurance companies.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  16. Lis

    McPalin sounds like McbushBush. Putting election first.
    The American people are not fools.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  17. richard mcarthur

    what i saw tonight was a lunch mob. as an independent tonight was a disgrace. and just who is going to reach across the political divide after tonight? i guess if they don't they can expect a pitbull attack.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  18. Lavon

    I guess people don't remember that Barack has been in the State Senate since 1998. I guess people don't won't to acknowledge that. There was no emotion in her speech as it was in the Democratic convention.


    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  19. Democracynow2008

    Palin delivers.
    That title is a joke in itself what did she deliver tell me will you.
    She read a speech created by the McCain campaign with a Telepromter in front of her that she was reading.
    The headline should read Palin Fails to Deliver .
    Which she did she failed and so will McCain in November .
    Lets see if you publish my comments.

    September 4, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  20. DJ, Miami

    Her speech may be attractive to her republican base but she didn't make the case against her perceived inexperience.

    September 4, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  21. Mary Elizabeth Flores

    Please, now you make her out to be an attack dog. If anything she is playing on the defensive..after days of enduring attack after attack on her caracter, her leadership skills, her competence as a mother, her public service, and her foreign policy experience like if the other candidates that have run for office are so much more qualified.
    I'm not even Republican, and the coverage on this lady has been so unfair..for the first time I'm writting everybody on CNN.. Women can't get a fair deal in politics... She rightly defended herself, her family, her town, her State and everything she represents.. and if she hit a little back in the process maybe they had it coming...

    September 4, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  22. Tahmeka

    Yeah she reminds me of the girl next door... the judgy, shrill, snit of a lady that lived next to us and wouldn't let her precious children play with the black kids.

    Come to think of it her daughter got knocked up in high school too.

    September 4, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  23. Leslie Castor

    I beg to differ. I am a single, divorced mom (originally from MO) of a special needs child. I was raised in a military family with a strong work ethic and LOVE my country.
    I could NEVER EVER vote for her. I am pro choice, pro family, pro country and pro common sense and she doesn't meet my criteria. I pray other women are not wooed by her being a woman or the girl next door.
    We should be talking about fuel alternatives, border and homeland security, healthcare, a womans right to choose, equality for gays and lesbians, and why we have so many unemployed and living in poverty in our own country and why our children are subjuect to sub standard education.

    September 4, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  24. thegoreyears

    The Republicans have spent the entire convention trashing Obama with personal, ugly attacks while attempting to compare Palin's "experience" with Obama's. One major difference is that Obama built a campaign machine that defeated the Clinton machine and acquired 18 million votes. Palin has been thrust upon us by an erratic John McCain, who didn't think the process through at all and is now letting the press vet his candidate. The Republican Party, by rashly choosing an ultra-conservative who believes all political decisions are ordained by God, are about to become a fringe party.

    September 4, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  25. Andrew Dzeguze

    Her story doesn't resonate to me. I was told I had to be a responsible human being. That meant respecting diversity and loving people as people. Other ideas, ironically from Native American teachings (since she had to talk about the "first dude"'s native heritage: Don't overpopulate the Earth. Don't destroy wildlife needlessly. Don't hate others just because you don't agree. Don't blindly love a nation/cause/uniform without question. Not sure if my folks wanted all that or I just saw them exercise judgment. I have been an independent voting for Republican presidential candidates my whole life, but I just can't take the hate any more.

    September 4, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
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