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. McCain's Pitbull

    The bible says that you cannot serve two masters, you will either love one and hate the other. Can John S McCain outslick God? I have heard Democrats and Republicans alike speak respectfully about McCain but after hearing his V.P pick speak tonight, I seriously question McCain's ability to reform Washington.

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  2. Anonymous

    Sarah Palin delivered a well-written speech; she should have after almost a week of avoiding the media and not doing any interviews.
    I can only think that McCain's team don't want her to come across as not knowing what she's talking about. A little cramming of American history is being done I guess. This was totally a move by McCain just to become president. One thing that's having me scratch my head is the fact that people keep talking about her being able to perhaps run the country and be a mother. Though that sounds great, but running the country is not a 9-5 job. Another thing that makes me laugh is watching the former mayor of NY is how much he has in common with McCain. Both cheated on their previous wives and married the woman that they were having an affair with.

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  3. vote obama

    She's useless. She should look into stand up comedy or moose hunting for a profession.

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  4. Kevin C

    Oh, I forgot this beauty of a quote from Gergen, "After all, there are still some serious questions about what kind of president she might be.". Hey, Mr Gergen, uhh, she's not running for President. But, your Zero Foreign Policy and Zero Executive experience Barack Obama IS. Can you tell us PLEASE what kind of President he will be? I mean other then the flashy rhetoric you've swallowed hook, line and sinker?

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  5. G.B.

    Ok Ill be nice about it. How can this woman stand there with all thats wrong with her own life and act like she is can help ours? Do people not get the Republican Gaf of choosing this Alaskan trailor trash family? Family last Palin First.......mmm mmm mmm mmm mmmmm

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  6. gastoys

    OMG! We love Palin! Awesome Speech! Wow! As an independent voter I am now going Republican. My wife is voting Republican for the first time.

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  7. Tim

    Delivered what? A (put on lame Alaskan accent) bowt lowd of nothing? All she did was use negative divisive bs to attack Obama and praise McPOW. It wont work anywhere outside the base. It was so over the top that its going to hurt McCain.

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  8. Patricia Howe

    I'm a Republican who will not vote for John McCain. I believe Sarah Palin is a great pick. However, it will not alter my voting decision. She did not give us anything new.
    She is a Rebublican and conservative. He is neither but putting on a good show for the evangelicals. I'm called "the base" in all his letters to me. He doesn't get it- -the base isn't admiring the new McCain -
    causing the Republican party to leave me stranded!!
    At this point he'll do or say anything to get elected!

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  9. Meg

    What makes you think Palin's "personal story is also one that will relate well to people. She has a quality of seeming like the girl next door."?

    My family and freinds are not at all comfy with the "small town values" of a bully who cries sexism as the kids trot out on the tarmac for a photo op, makes a great show of embracing her own pregnant teen while denying sex ed to other vulnerable youngsters and cutting funding to unwed mothers who need a place to live because their mom's aren't the Governor.

    All this before we even get to the realities of Palin's stands on earmarks, sales taxes, banned books and loyalty firings.

    I wasn't so impressed with Obama. Until tonight.

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  10. Paolo

    Right from the start, I always thought that it would be disasterous for democrats to dismiss her lack of experience. This is just a preview of how tough she can be for the remaining 2 months of the campaign.

    If the GOP wins another 4 years, without a doubt, they have Palin to thank!

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  11. Bill

    I think she did a great job, and from the desperate and rambling response of Begala and other liberal commentators, it's clear they feel threatened. Yeah, I wasn't too crazy about the "community organizer" thing but Obama has done his share of those comments as well, and they simply won't be that meaningful down the stretch. What I DO think, however, is that we have a lot of renewed Republican energy as a result of tonight's speeches. Now comes the usual onslaught of idiotic blog comments like "where are the minorities?" (there was PLENTY of diversity in the room), "Obama/Biden are going to cream them in the debates" (wishful/delusional thinking...don't count on it), and the best of all "the polls CAN'T be right since I haven't been polled, and/or they don't poll cell phone users" (well, actually, they do and the polls ARE right). McCain and Palin are VERY viable and EVERY bit as qualified (if not more so) to serve than Obama/Biden.

    Last but not least, you think Palin has some issues in her past? Obama had better be EXTREMELY careful...he has WAY more skeletons from Chicago that can and will be brought forward if he's not careful.

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  12. Sarah MacAller

    Sarah Palin is distinctly out of date, indeed, her appearance and demeanor- a cliche of a high-school beauty queen, although personally appealing for her beauty, however does not evince an intellectual nor evidence of broadly or well educated speaker/thinker. In this regard, she does fit the George Bush image quite neatly or 'nicely' with its original OED meaning of 'foolish'.
    As for Guiliani, he simply should have known better for he distorted facts and quite easily slid into actual lying about the Democratic opposition's positions.

    I found the entire evening with such spurious speeches to be appallingly downgrading, and condescending to the intelligence of American people.

    September 4, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  13. jerry

    When will the real the VP nominee come out because I am still waiting, Holed up is it over? because I was waiting to hear about the issues that are hurting American, It seems like they forgot that this election is not about Obama its about the country

    September 4, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  14. Jonathan Samuels

    She did really well tonight. She seemed fierce and a good attack dog. The only problem is she has more executive experience than John Mccain. I wonder if John Mccain is gonna pay her less since she's a woman. Lord knows he voted to.

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  15. Bill

    I'm also anticipating a bunch of idiot "Republicans are racists", "the only reason one wouldn't vote for Obama is race", etc. It's more simple than that. He's basically a socialist with the most liberal voting record (WHEN he votes) in Congress, and he has very little experience other than performing speeches that others have written. Bring on Colin Powell and I'll vote for him in a heartbeat, as would millions of other people who won't vote for much for your "race" excuse.

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  16. laila

    This is not about her, what matters to voters are the issues, bush tax cuts did not help the economy and war on Iraq has not made us any safer! and detaining people in guantanamo without proving their guilt and for so long is not the american way!

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  17. MM

    I think the "jabs" nay complete onslaught her and her family has faced over the past 5 days was vicious and nonstop, hopping from one to the next. Now they will be calling for DNA testing for her child too. That hardly compares with some quid pro quo jabs back. Why are CNN and the Democrats using the "divisive" word nearly every other sentence? What, they extended an olive branch and it got slapped down? Give me a break.

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  18. Sarah rabinowitcz

    The GOP written speech was well crafted to push her over her real experience.
    Why would a person with a 4 month old and 4 other children who believe in 'faimly values' abandon all these to start a race for the white house even when there is crises at home. GOP wants to make the election about personal attacks and not the issues facing the voters. Of course they know she will not the able to manage both home and this type of job together effectivley. I am a married woman with 5 children with similar ages and I know what I go through everyday to make sure they are well taken care off. The GOP politicians who are pushing her know the truth but that is secondary until after the election.
    I think going after Hillary's voters is less important than her family for now. She has more than enough time once the the children are establshed and old enough to care for themselves.

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  19. Ricky rnc 4 dnc

    lol um no she didnt

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  20. Craig

    Governor Palin delivered a good speech and appeared poised this evening. However, it was dripping in sarcasm and made fun of people who work and organize communities. This was surprising since the republican party touts the virtues of faith based and community organizations that do exactly that. Remember the thousand points of light. I was deeply offended by the speech and found that there was no mention of how to improve the economy, ensure healthcare, or deal with the housing crisis. The speech was divisive and served only to widen the chasm that exist in the country today. There was no country first in the speech or at the convention. I sincerely hope the media does not back down on finding the truth on either side. Quit walking on eggshells

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  21. cynthia

    As a Hillary supporter, now behind Obama, I thought that Gov Palin was very articulate in delivering a speech that was tremendously crafted for her. However, I turned off the TV because she was so snide, contrite, and smug throughout her delivery.

    Obama/Biden are moving away from the active chasm in America and actively discussing real policies that will ameliorate the economics, energy crises, and education issues in our country while reforming America's image and standing on the international platform.

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  22. Jon in GA.

    I find her belief that creationism should be taught in schools scary. Is it just me but didn't the current administration abuse thier power a little bit? Is it just me that they picked a vp CURRENTLY under investigation for abusing power? Her opposition to abortion even in the cases of incest and rape is pretty far right as well. I'm republican and i'll be voting Obama/Biden.

    I'm sorry but aware, thoughtful Americans will most likely vote for Obama.

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  23. Pamela C

    I found Palin's speech very insulting, just I have felt about most of the mess I heard in the other speeches. I think the whole convention was nothing more than a big Barnyard dance. I'm so tired of listening to Republican politcians attack without dealing with the real issues that are tearing this country apart. Throwing insults out at Obama isn't doing anything to help people get their lives back together. I don't feel the Republican Party can relate to the average person in America because I saw nothing average about the way people acted who were there in attendance. The only thing they keep talking about is McCain's POW days, and how he lead people at a time of war. Those facts are important, but what about NOW. Get real people! Don't be frightened into another 4 years of a downward spiral with the rhetoric of the wealthy.

    September 4, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  24. Paul

    I turned off CNN when Wolf Blitzer said "She hit it out of the park." What park is he referring to - a trailer park? South Park?
    This was probably the most nasty, viscous, dishonest speech I have ever seen, with no enlightening substance. As for first careers, it seems that community organizer is a bad thing and beauty queen a good thing?
    I do not vote. I have exercised my right to not vote in ten presidential elections, but this speech tonight might just send me over the edge. She made me ashamed to be an American, and the thought of her as Vice President of this country makes me ill.

    September 4, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  25. Bill

    As an independent I had been persuaded to vote for Obama based on his educational credentials and bootstrap image. However, it is now a "fair" fight that America can be proud of. Sarah Palin acquitted herself very well at the Republican convention. She delivered! The tone of her speech and its content made this a real election fight for the well being of America. The McCain – Palin ticket is not just four more years of Bush. These are fighters with an agenda to stand up for America in the Heartland. McCain is one of our most beloved Heroes, and now he has a "pit bull" dog to fight with him, a bull dog that wears lipstick. I always wanted America to have a Maggy Thatcher. I think John McCain found one. I can't wait for the debates. Finally, whoever wins, America will win!

    September 4, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45