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. If these two win, the frozen tundra of Canada will look like a paradise

    She delivered? She delivered what? A string of 5th grade insults? Where is her stance on the issues and what matters to me. And what is up with distorting her opponents record and mocking his service as a community organizer. That is something that I value and admire. Someone willing to get in the trenches and do the things that matter when no one else wants to. I am disgusted with the GOP. To think I voted for Bush in the last election. Well....I won't be voting for him in this one. This is a party so desperate that it has become bitter and hateful and clings to religion as if it really cared about it. I was starting to have doubts about choosing Obama regarding his stance on abortion and gay marriage/civil unions but they have been vaporized by this incendiary speech. NO MCCAIN, NO WAY, NO HOW!

    September 4, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  2. Maria

    This wasn't a HAIL TO JOHN evening, it was a hail storm that damaged the party - smashing a could be good corn crop- putting the corn flat on the ground, destroyed. Sarah COULD have brought fresh air, and I had hopes for her, but it is obvious, this hail storm isn't good for the republicans.

    September 4, 2008 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  3. Janice

    Never would I vote for this excuse of a human.

    September 4, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  4. jason

    I thought the speeches tonight were full of bitterness and anger, but with no substance to explain that anger. The best they could do is blame the state of the government, as they made it, over the last 8 years.

    September 4, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  5. Janice Crowley

    Palin delivers what. It sure wasn't any policies or plans for the future because they don't have any. All they can do is attack and tear someone else down because they don't have a plan to run on. How does these so called Mavericks plan to shake up Washington. Especially Palin, she doesn't even know the first thing about Washington. Mccain looked older than ever and the question still stand. "Is Palin ready to lead.' we heard enough speeches and tough talk, the bottom line is what are they going to do to turn the economy around. Republicans are all attack and no solutions the only solutions they have are more of the same.

    September 4, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  6. Theresa(Hillary Supporter)


    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  7. Please Not McCain

    Here's an idea: Instead of personal attacks on Obama, why can't McCain and Palin focus on the issues?? Yes, the issues, why should we vote for you? I haven't heard a single thing on the economy. Does that mean they plan on leaving things the way they are now?? Oh, yeah, that's right, McCain and Palin haven't got a clue about the economy. No experience, no insights, McCain even admited a while back he didn't have a clue.
    Palin you are a terrible role model! Go back home and take care of your family, that's the Americans you should really be focusing on!

    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  8. joyce

    she is a disgrace to women and mothers
    she is ranchy to the core

    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  9. HelpAmerica

    Mr. Gergen, I usually respect your comments, but you got this one wrong. This woman cannot even speak effectively. She was smacking during her entire speech. I am a Democrat and I was willing to give this woman the benefit of the doubt.

    I made my children watch the Democratic convention, so it's only fair that I make them watch the Republican convention. My 21 year old daughter said she was appalled that a woman would talk about someone in this manner and stop watching the speech. My 16 year old told me this seemed like a KKK convention and said he would rather not get the extra points for reporting on the convention.

    The only audience that this kind of talk appeal to are Republicans that fooled to believe the Republicans have their best interest at heart. Did John McCain threat all of the CNN correspondent with death. You all have surely changed since Campbell's interview with Tucker Bounds.

    There was no need for the Democratic Convention. The Republic Convention is doing the job for the Democratic. I can't wait for the polls.

    I am no longer afraid of terrorist. I am afraid of the cashier at the grocery store and gas station when I buy grocery and gas.

    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  10. Dawn

    She delivered alright, the same partisan rhetoric that has left Washington ineffective for the past eight years.

    While the Democrats sought common ground during their campaign and laid out their agenda on the economy, we have heard nothing but days of extreme partisanship, attacks, fear mongering, POW, and 9/11 from the Republicans.

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  11. Trang, Fremont, CA

    If Republicans have their private convention, she probably did a heck of a job motivating the base. However, this is aired nationally, and it just revealed the ugliness of their party – all attacks and nothing to offer.

    And of course, she lies from day one, and these lies will be revealed soon enough.

    And to mock community organizers? That's a poor move. Community organizers, let show Sarah Palin what we can do by deliver Obama/Biden to the White House. Republicans don't get it. It's not about Obama, it's about us.

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  12. Dee Dee Lynn

    To me she gave a generic, partisan speech. Most of it did not seem it was written specifically for her, but rather for any nominee that might have been chosen. This is the same Republican party I have seen for years. I thought John McCain was supposed to be ushering in change.

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  13. Law

    She just showed her claws and ready to fight. Mocking a community organizer? Not a president material!

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  14. MHW

    She offered nothing of substance. No policy. No plan for moving forward.

    She did promise to have the back of parents with special needs children. How does she plan to do that when her party wants small government and privatization of everything under the sun?

    September 4, 2008 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  15. C

    i found this women's tv presense horrific, insincre, and i think she will be an extremely polarizing figure

    September 4, 2008 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  16. Alvin


    I have some issues with the "thing in particular" that stood out to you.

    1. The hockey mom-pitbull joke was not funny, and portraying herself as a tough pit bull will only open the door for Dems to start attacking. She stands more to lose from this–with the attacks–than she does to gain–by appearing to be tough.

    2. I don't know of any "girl next door" that I would describe as a pit bull. But she does have that family woman appeal to her, so I agree with you on this one.

    3. Confidence and energy do not provide substantiveness. That is just show. Content, and remarks on the real issues facing America provide substantiveness.


    How could you neglect to mention how wrong it is for a former Mayor and Governor to ridicule community organizing? This country wouldn't be what it is if not for community organizers. How can Obama be accused of elitism when the GOP issue statements like this?

    September 4, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  17. Jessica from Tennessee

    I'm frightened at the mere though to of her in office.
    Women for Obama-Biden 08

    September 4, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  18. Therese

    Wow – too bad Palin isn't a Democrat.

    September 4, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  19. Joycean

    Delivers bile, you mean. What, exactly, gives her the right to belittle Obama's activities as a community organizer? Isn't that a noble thing to be? Aren't community-strengthening activities the basis of what makes America great? Oh, right, most Republicans think that loving America only means wearing a flag pin. I'll take someone who actually cares about helping others and building a stronger country over basic, SIMPLISTIC, negative-attack politicians who try to cloak themselves in the guise of "change".

    September 4, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  20. Fair Game Now

    Yeah, she delivered her pregnant unmarried 17 year old and the little boy who got her 17 year old pregnant as an example of how you manage your family.

    September 4, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  21. Delwonka

    Palin speech tonight was divisive, not uniting. It played well with GOP supporters and provided a bunch of one-liners and sarcastic jabs at Obama. But who cares? Anyone can make fun of someone when they are not there to defend themselves. Palin's rhetoric and tone was disheartening from an independent point of view. Why not tell us what you are going to do in office, or who you are? Lets not poke fun and put down the other candidate and do so with humor and sarcasm and no girth and fact. Palin is a strong politician, with a strong voice, but use it by promoting unity and addressing specific issues, not by bashing and mocking the left. Her record as governor and ideas for the future were rarely heard throughout the speech and often factually incorrect. I am really saddened by the politics of tonight.

    September 4, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  22. lola

    Barrack Obama don't have a pregnant unmarried daughter! Barrack Obama attended and graduated from IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL. Sure he's just a "community organizer" but I'm sure his former students appreciate him more than ever.

    Republicans are so hypocrites. Sarah Palin's speech is boring and no substance. By the way, everything is a fair game in politics...candidates and their family. Sarah Palin's name is currently involves in controversy. She should just withdraw her name because Hillary supporters are no dummies!

    September 4, 2008 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  23. Wooten

    Obama has the judgement, Biden has the experience, mccain got it wrong, and palin is a nut.

    September 4, 2008 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  24. Carl from MI

    She didn't really deliver at all. I watched her speech... it was lame and lifeless. She's in WAY OVER HER HEAD!! She obviously didn't even write the speech... it was written for her with all the same talking points all the Republicans have been recycling. She was uninspiring and unprofessional.

    She said things that weren't true, many half-truths, and left out lots of facts and inserted opinions instead. She acted like a hockey mom.

    I don't want a hockey mom for a VP. I want an experienced and knowledgeable person that can interact with heads of states and act like a head of state here at home. I want someone who acts Presidential... not someone who I'd want to have a beer with and not someone I'd want to watch a hockey game with.

    I want someone who can take command of our country and be Commander-in-Chief at a moment’s notice, not someone who will have to have OJT and be schooled in the fine art of Constitutional Law and Foreign Policy. She only has about 5 minutes worth of the necessary experience to perform the job of VP. She doesn't even KNOW WHAT OUR VP DOES!!!!

    We only have two candidates that fit that bill right now: Obama/Biden!!


    September 4, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  25. Zen Petersen

    Racing home to see Palin's speech tonight, I listened to Giuliani on NPR with a sick feeling. He was mean, and folks were laughing. He was sarcastic, and folks were cheering. He mocked. I especially hate that.
    That's when I first heard the rips at "Community Organizer."

    Palin was worse. She milked that new hideous talking point through her entire speech. It was as if the world had turned upside down in a week. Suddenly the lofty principles of serving your community and fellow man were something to be mocked. That's even leaving aside for now the ridiculousness, in general, of minimizing what Obama has done/does/inspires others to do.

    The people I know who serve their communities in "organizing" capacities are some of the most caring, selfless, humanitarian people I know. My opinion of Palin and the Republicans has sunk with my heart, as I watched thousands cheer this snide woman on, and TV Talking Heads praised her for a "great" speech.

    September 4, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 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