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. RT

    "Well-crafted speech". Gergen acts as if she actually wrote this thing. All she demonstrated is an ability to read a teleprompter in a loud voice.

    I found objectionable the several insulting comments about Obama. He and Biden have treated her so far with the utmost respect.

    The McCain campaign has not demonstrated she has any significant experience which would qualify her to be vice president. Mayor of Wasilla!! James Carville held up a photograph of the Wasilla city hall yesterday saying it looked like a bait shop in south Louisiana.

    September 4, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  2. Ron

    Just a few observations:
    1. Palin's speech would have been great for standup on Saturday Night Live (Tina Fey); however, that tone is poorly received across large parts of America.
    2. She can read well, but a journalism and communications major from the University of Idaho? This makes her less qualified for VP than most of the CNN commentators.
    3. How dare McCain place the responsibility of a VP in the hands of a journalism and communications major from the University of Idaho.
    4. How dare Palin accepts the VP selection knowing full well her lack of gravitas in at least ONE the following: national defense, law and government, economics, public policy, etc...
    5. McCain/Palin might be the least smart Pres/VP in the history of this country. This is the most aggregious continuation of the Bush/Chaney administration. Individuals who can't synthesize large volumes of information, synthesize it reasonably and make prudent decisions will only continue our great nation's hemorrhage toward a mediocrity.

    September 4, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  3. steve

    she was (is) a one-trick pony, this palin. insults and sarcastic remarks are not the politics of change, and not what this country needs.

    September 4, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  4. Brenda Kirk

    Govenor Palin has made her moment in history tonight, however needs some 101 in history in regards to the women that have ran for President of the U.S., Let us remind Govenor Palin that Shirley Chisholm was the first woman to bid for Democratic President in 1972. She never made mention of Shirley Chisholm in her thanks to women that had ran for President or Vice President in her speech prior to speaking tonight. It would be nice for CNN and others to remember and acknowledge this moment of history. No disrespect Ms. Palin learn your history.

    Mrs. Brenda Kirk

    September 4, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  5. Russell

    delivers what ! what did she say thats was that moving it was Obama bash and Mcbush praise how original

    September 4, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  6. deroy

    what does a community organizer do?
    i know they grt paid by the government grants that should be going to poor people.

    September 4, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  7. J Boyd NYC

    I wish you people in the national media would STOP kissing her butt. The woman is a great choice for a GOP VP– she's a crook and a blatant liar.

    The evidence against her regarding abuse of power and misappropriation of funds is piling up by the hour, and you all just turn a blind eye. OK, maybe somebody gets lucky and leaves a mic on– THEN we hear what you really have to say about her.

    I realize that you are journalists. But you are also Americans. Ask the hard questions, and stop sniveling around her! It's disgusting and insulting to the American people.

    September 4, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  8. Charles

    I hope she succeeds! God Bless!

    September 4, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  9. cnowlin

    Governor Palin is a refreshing candidate who seems to have the courage and integrity to stand up for what is right regardless of the status quo or lack of support by those who are less courageous.

    September 4, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  10. Dave

    Where are all the A grades?? My kids want to know. You pundits were so quick to issue top scores to the Dems and "F" grades when McCain chose Palin. But where is the accountability? Beluga "Caviar Man" needs to be set straight for his "F" grade or there are a whole bunch of up and coming voters who will forever question CNN's impartiality. Don't think your comments are going unnoticed. When you live by the grade you die by it.

    September 4, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  11. Will18E

    Under her 22 months of leadership, the Alaskan operating budget has risen 6%, twice the rate of inflation. Also the state legislators are part timers. 90 day session a year. And in 2008 it took, under Pali's leadership and keen executive abilities 135 days to get the $4.3B budget in. She spent $7 million dollars per man woman and child in Alaska, where dose your state rate? As a fiscal conservative the Gov. only vetoed $4.5m out of the $4.3B dollar budget. And now she has the executive experience to preside over the u.s. congress?
    As a candidate, Palin's experiences are being misrepresented and blown way-out of proportion, so to appear to be qualified the job of V.P. My counties elected executive works full time, with the county council, and contains a greater population than the state of Alaska, and a bigger budget. Palin's accomplishments, while admirable at times, are easily dwarfed by most other states and states governorships and responsibility.

    September 4, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  12. who cares

    Story about hockey moms (who cares)
    POW (thankful for his service) 40 YEARS AGO

    September 4, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  13. Angela

    I look at the difference between the Dem convention VERSUS the Republican conventio.

    The Dems had REAL EMOTION. I saw people in tears!!! The Republicans were just NASTY!!!

    Republicans needs to apoligize to AMerica for the last 8 years!!! Republicans don't get it......ITS ABOUT THE ISSUES!!! None of the sarcastic comments will do anything for America. NOTHING!!!

    Republicans were caught with a hot mic. They admited that Palin being picked was just a GIMMICK!!! That's all we need after 8 years of this. Just another gimmick!

    September 4, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  14. Matt

    God help us if McWar and that polar-bear-hating-global-warming-is-a-myth-iraq-was-a-mission-from-God-abstinence-only-education nut Palin get elected

    September 4, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  15. Tony Mora

    I just need to laugh at point number 2. I would think POTUS and VP positions should be held by the most qualified and intelligent citizens in the nation, NOT the girl next door. The more I watch the spin repubublicans try to give this shameful VP pick, the more I feel I'm watching a really bad ripoff of American Idol.

    September 4, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  16. Paula

    If she wants to run off at the mouth she better not cry sexism when we give it back to her.

    September 4, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  17. Angry woman

    Now that speech was just down right ugly. I was ashamed that she would give her first impression of nothing but bashing. This is why this country is so divided with all of the hatred and bashing each other. The speech gave no solutions / substance on what problems we are having. McCain is just using this woman as an ATTACK DOG. I have a special needs child. I would never politically exploit this developmental disabilities to get ahead. Why all of a sudden Special Needs is a topic now. That was mean. She can't reach out to me with that. She has nannies to care for her child. I have myself and my husband to care for our child. So don't think that because your child has down syndrome you can make it better for all parents that have special needs in their family. That really hurt my feelings. They will not get my vote just because of this exploitation.

    September 4, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  18. kbird

    I heard alot of distortions and personal attacks. I heard absolutely nothing of substance regarding small problems like the 45 million americans without health insurance who are one slip in the shower away from disaster! Sadly, tonight was more of the same. Kudos to Governor Palin for her ability to read a speech written for her by others. Now she must answer for her record which definitely places her extreme ideological views before the country including her failed attempt to remove books from the library because she did not approve of them. When the librarian refused to obey the directive she was fired. Only the threat of a recall caused her to back off. How about that bridge to nowhere: it wasn't built but she made sure to keep the earmark money instead of returning it. She has other problems involving corruption and her own personal 'old boy' network.

    September 4, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  19. B-TN

    I was appalled at how she just hurled the insults, I was waiting to like her!! It didn't happen.....I finally turned the TV off disgusted. There was positive CHANGE message. That speech was nothing more than what we have listening to........disappointing!!

    And the bulldog in lipstick better not accuse anyone of being sexist..

    September 4, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  20. Desmond Campbell

    For someone who is not a washington insider Sarah palin sure knowes how to work the room ,Let,s see how she does with out a speech also it should be fair game when you parade a 17 year old unwed mother in front ofthe media.

    September 4, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  21. sacto joe

    Her speech was dull and boring, delivered with a nasal quality that was frankly grating. She actually came across as snide and condescending when she went on the attack.

    Compared to Senator Clinton or Michelle Obama, she was a distant third.

    September 4, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  22. Karen - Missouri

    AND her remarks were untrue and the ones about herself were QUITE stretching the truth. Give us a break will you? She admitted just weeks ago she doesn't follow the war, didn't know what a VP does...and she's an elected official???? Like any "executive" it's your BUSINESS to know...and someone else, it was VERY obvious, wrote the speech for her.

    President???? And here I thought McCain was nominated. So is she the Cheney who will dictate what McCain's supposed to do? What kind of "President she might be"????? She's the VP...and the comparison is NOT Obama it's VP Joe Biden. COMPARE APPLES TO APPLES!

    Reminder: Palin and Biden are VP. THAT'S the comparison and Palin doesn't even come close. Or have you killed McCain already?

    September 4, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  23. Silky Terrier K

    Palin is not like any one I know, She is as mean as they get. Snotty like a 14 year old girl. Snippy in a mean spirited way. Mean in her manner. Not anyone an American would like having representing them.
    I have no idea what she is capable of but I know she could skin you alive. Happy thought.

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  24. michele

    this is one bitter repuklin convention. obama helped her when the media was against her. this is not what we want in a vice pick a pitbull. i lost my job food is high gas is hight what a about the people. this was an insult to me as a community orgazater. we are about our community and the people. she should of bash bush

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  25. DK(@)AZ

    Where is the economic plan ?

    September 4, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
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