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. Ken m.

    i just woke up after seeing that bush is sending 1 billion to georgia to re build , why us we not poeple who should be doing tis--unless puttin was raigt and bush did just as he said he did cause a ruff with the russian to push them into this war, as puttin said bush keepth pushing him till he finnally did what he did , and like puttin said he did it to give a scare to the u.s. as to boost mccainscahances to grab the white house and since it did not work he was compeled to pay for all the dammages it caused or it be leaked to the press that puttin was telling the truth, not asif he rig a war anywhere elese like - iraq also may be the reason we will never ever see any of that oil money, think about this investagate ,show the world you ,put 2 and 2 together, there again is no reason that bush is giving them 1 billion in cash not aid,, think out of the box this man has done so much to hurt this country and never been called on it ,be the first. k

    September 4, 2008 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  2. Dinny Goomay

    Victory in Iraq is in sight? I thought that mission was accomplished years ago.

    September 4, 2008 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  3. yvonne

    I had a very sick feeling watching the Rep last night. A lot of low blows and personal attacks, and people were laughing. If this is the kind of divisive politics they are bringing to the table soon we will be shooting people if they do not belong to our political party or share our political views, shame!!!

    September 4, 2008 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  4. Michael O'Brien

    After listening to Governor Sarah Palin's speech.., did she ever mention anything about the economy, health care, social security, foreign relations, envirnoment, energy, etc. ? Maybe the real question is: Do I or (we) want four more years of the same ? I don't.

    September 4, 2008 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  5. tima_totoro

    Did I miss it, or did she talk about the economy while insulting many?

    September 4, 2008 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  6. Jessica

    What disgusting vitriol this woman spoke tonight!

    I'm supposed to see a woman is going to "relate to me"? I don't want to be related with, I want to be told what this person will do in helping my life in this country.

    She didn't talk about any issues. All I really got from this is that it's only okay for her to decide which part of her family she exploits for political gain (where as Joe Biden has said almost nothing of his son going overseas as well) and McCain was a POW so therefore he has all the credibility in the world for running this country. Sorry if being a community organizer is so low on your list of elitist, rich morals, Mrs. Palin, but those organizations are what America's about – working with the communities to make this country the best it can be – but you wouldn't know that, with the book banning and the flip-flopping on the "Bridge to Nowhere".

    Watch – if anyone from the Obama/Biden camp even criticizes her for this, there will be cries of sexism, which disgusts me even further.

    September 4, 2008 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  7. Adam Habib, Dallas, TX

    So, after 8 years of republican party rule. what kind of reform they will bring in next 4 years?

    September 4, 2008 03:04 am at 3:04 am |

    What I find interesting,
    Is that it is only okay that a woman candidate can only get away with perceived sarcasm when she is a democrat. It was okay when "billary" spoke her mind when she was trying to be the nominee.
    The so called feminists dont support a woman if she is a republican.
    And for all of you who found anything abrasive this evening, what about mr. biden?
    he is rude and nasty. And he always has been.
    I think that palin might surprise her detractors and be more than competent.

    September 4, 2008 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  9. Adam Habib, Dallas, TX

    when was the last time we heard an intelligent speech from a republican ( after Reagan )? I can't remember.

    September 4, 2008 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  10. Sergeant J. in Oregon

    David. I have been a big fan of yours over the years but you got this one wrong. Step outside the hall and talk to the middle ground voters like myself across the country. This entire night went to some place I have never seen an American Political Convention go to in terms of Mockery and a deeply sarcastic pitch left me wondering do these people know anything about being a leader? I did not see a single Statesman or Stateswoman on this stage tonight. What I witnessed was a belittling of our political system for personal gain from all three major speakers in topics and tone.

    I am a registered independent and a member of the National Guard. I am disturbed by Gov. Palin using her "Commander of the Alaska Guard" and her son's enlistment in the Army for personal gain. Is she knew anything about the military she would have acted like a person if integrity. All of us in Uniform serve our country and we know when to not openly engage in partisan attacks at the cost to our mission and our allegiance to the Constitution. Since she is a State Commander she should have the decency to respect her opponents like they have already respected her and Sen. McCain. She is using her children in some ways to promote her pro live agenda and military service but complains that her daughter Bristol is off limits to the media.
    Shameful and hypocritical.

    I want to see her debate the great issues of our times, offer a vision of leadership, tell the nation where she sees us going and her part in that. She spent the better part of her address tearing down her opponent to skirt her own baggage and lack of vision. Sen. Obama gets ridiculed by a series of slanderous statements and about his role in public service when we desperately need more public servants. Ask yourself, why is Sarah Palin running for such a high office if she has low regard for public service? If she is a Christian then why did she break time and again the Golden Rule with her attacks upon Sen. Obama?

    I am distressed that these types of so called leaders are put in place for political gain at the expense of Our Republic. All she and Mr. Romney and Mr. Giuliani did tonight was make our Nation look meaner, misdirected and anything like a World Leader. We are a weaker nation tonight because of their words and actions. If any of them would have ever served this nation in uniform they would have learned that too. We are a better people then any of these speeches will ever touch on or inspire us to keep forging ahead as One Nation.

    September 4, 2008 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  11. Lexa

    She's fiesty and I'm glad she doesn't back down. As a Hillary supporter I was debating whether to vote for Obama or McCain. Palin's speech sealed the deal for me. She seems down to earth, but strong. She's different and a complete change. It's the change the Republican party needed. For that I'll be voting McCain/Palin!

    September 4, 2008 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  12. Bruce

    I was especially dismayed by the comment Governor Palin had regarding a community organizer, as the other republicans laughed. I think this shows America that the republican party does not care about America. If you are talking about family, a community organizer is an individual that basically volunteers to help families and communities in need. Barack Obama became a community organizer after receiving a degree from Columbia University, one of the best universities in the country. It is a true desire to help and give back to community, family. I thought Govern Palin's comments were unprofessional, disrespectful, and simply un-american. Barack Obama has not critized her for being a Mayor or Governor. I think this just reinforces the fact that she is not a reformer or maverick. She is just another GOP puppet.

    September 4, 2008 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  13. peter

    I watched her last night. Her speech is so full of insults, half-truths and just garbage. She didnt talk of any thing substantial. She didnt talk about anything about the economy and foreign policy. She is just a celebrity with extremist youthful exhuberance. She has noting to offer to Americans and the rest of the world.
    It is a shame that GOP will field and defend such a character as its vice presidential nominee.

    September 4, 2008 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  14. Tonight's convention

    Not only will Dem's be offended by Palin's attacks, but COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS EVERYWHERE will be as well.

    Community organizers are people who usually volunteer their professional services and hands out of the goodness of their hearts and time to helping American citizens without a SINGLE PENNY coming out of the taxpayers' pocket.

    They're the ones that register people to vote and make sure people get out to vote on election day...
    Once again, Palin's judgement is under question-this time for saying something REALLY STUPID. Oh wait! She was just doing what she was told by MCCAIN.
    Neither are ready or have the sense to be president. Just like Bush.

    September 4, 2008 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  15. Chris

    As an independent, I would say they're all accurate observations.

    September 4, 2008 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  16. Kate Fergus

    What the country needs is a diplomat – to end the divisiveness of the last 7+ years. What Sarah Palin proved tonight is that she is a pit bull – unpredictable, ruthless, and feisty. The days of muscling in on someone are over. Clearly she hasn't discovered this.

    As for her deals while Alaska Gov., I am sure that she made some promises to the oil companies (sure you can drill here – but it'll cost you – wink wink, nudge nudge) to get the gas prices lowered for her small state. And the oil companies realized that making concessions to a state of 600,000 was going to cost them peanuts. On a national scale I doubt she would be so successful.

    I give her no kudos for her speech. It only attacked without adding anything new. I am not sure what you were listening to Mr. Gergen. A superficial speech that lacked any insight into the depth and breadth of her character is hardly an effective introduction.

    September 4, 2008 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  17. Jason

    She won't even speak with press ... why?

    September 4, 2008 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  18. Jason

    I feel as though we're being jerked around my the Republicans yet again - they're playing games and thinking the American public is not smart enough to figure it out.

    September 4, 2008 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  19. DisBelief

    I still can't believe what I just witnessed... Tonight was all about spewing hate! And to think thousands of people at the convention were cheering this message on. This is why the world hates us. She said nothing about her plans... Lets be real Alaska has always been a state of GREAT wealth, I could manage them with My BA from Devry. Has she really had to deal with a crisis? Has John McCain???

    Another thing.
    Republians kill me... they always claim to do everything in God's name, well I'm Christian and I dont think God was pleased with the Hate that was celebrated today.

    September 4, 2008 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  20. J P C

    I think Palin was inspiring and pointed out certain aspects for the American to change. I gave her "A"

    September 4, 2008 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  21. Marah

    Did we see the same speech????

    I'm astounded that so many 'pundits' offer positive reviews of her speech, while most of the viewers' comments I've read are very, very negative.

    She is vastly unprepared for the VP position. Her speech underscored that point. In fact, I would pay good money if she could tell me 2 constitutional articles or amendments that impact on her abortion stance. Just 2. Or name the supreme court justices. Or, if she could name the leaders of 3 highest grossing nations. Or, actually name those nations or their forms of government. This is basic stuff and I promise you she knows none of it.

    But, politics aside, I am T-I-R-E-D, bone tired, of the infighting, divisiveness, fear and anger we have of each other in this country -left and right alike. And, her speech tonight -far from bringing us together and helping us focus on what is really important, shows that those who seek to lead us, hope to prosper by dividing us first. And, that just breaks my heart.

    September 4, 2008 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  22. bonna

    She ise the primarys debates to prepare her speech. What a loser!!!

    September 4, 2008 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  23. Rebecca

    It's simple.... the game is "make the media the enemy' and they will bend over backwards to appear objective. The truth is, this was an uninspiring, scripted speech with angry right wing rhetoric delivered by an unaccomplished small state politician in a power suit. Let's see how well she performs when she is on her own, under scrutiny, as her "real" record begins to surface. Sen. Obama has been attacked by the conservative right and scrutinized by the media for at least the past 2 yrs. This woman could be a "heartbeat away" from being our president.... the gloves are off...she needs to be at least as tough as Sen. Clinton to be considered ready for this position... with only 2 mos. to go, I hope to God the media does its job.

    September 4, 2008 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  24. Ree

    Vice president, heck, Palin for President!

    I thought her speech was stirring, emotional and well addressed.

    September 4, 2008 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
  25. rightsaid

    More hate from the right wing.
    No more. Eight is enough.

    Obama-Biden '08!

    September 4, 2008 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
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