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. Jack

    Grerat Job Palin
    Watch out obama/biden – SHE'S coming after you.

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  2. Leah Texas

    The whole evening was negative.

    Guiianni and Palin were both very insulting and disgraceful.

    If America thinks Palin is the person to represent America then America is in big trouble.

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  3. Ed, FL

    No specific plans for the issue # 1, the economy. I heard all of you on CNN are praising her speech i found that disturbing. All she has done is minimizing Obama's historic accomplishment.
    Don't be intimidated by her attacks on the media, this woman has left a lot of questions remain unanswered.

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  4. don

    She was AWESOME!

    I'm still not decided if I will vote for McCain, but she sure took me a lot closer to doing so.

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  5. Jesse from Maryland

    Palin must have gotten hit with the Hockey Puck before she delivered that negative, disgusting, bitter speech. She sounded more like a woman scorned than a VP contender.

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  6. HM

    Palin may have delivered what the audience wanted, a show, but I it will only seduce those on the angry right. Even if the snide self-righteous indignation and attacks don't turn you off the issues themselves are offensive to women who value our reproductive rights. I don't want her values forced upon me. How is she supporting women when she would enforce her personal decisions on the rest of us?
    I will be proud to cast my vote for Obama.

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  7. charly

    I think she did a good job on her speech, but after all she has public speaking experience, the speech was written for her, and how hard is it to read a teleprompter.

    As a woman, and a 10 year veteran of the Armed Forces, I was not particually impressed by her so called "toughness". There are a lot of strong, smart, outspoken women in this country. She is one of many and doesn't represent my values or beliefs.

    And after all the snide comments she made tonight, I still don't really know anything about her. Too much stand-up routine not enough substance...

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  8. rob

    Yes, thank you, Ms. Palin, for delivering... a bunch of nonsense about you, McSame and your family, and insults toward people who help other people. Keep doing what you're doing. Your ugliness and lack of substance are helping deliver this election right to the Democratic Pary.

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  9. Billy

    WOW, was she ever angry! I was hoping to be inspired by her speech, instead I was sickened at the personal attacks made by Palin. What an angry, angry woman.

    By the way, Sarah, my work as a volunteer community organizer at the YMCA gives me a great sense of responsibility; that is being a role model to the kids in the community. Maybe you could work on being a *good* role model yourself.

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  10. Sarah

    I thought this was TERRIBLE. She was petty and smug. I was on the fence, but I will be voting for OBAMA after tonight. She didn't say one positive thing about what she would do. By the way, I am married to a small town mayor. They don't do all that much. HARSH and arrogant.

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  11. Independent Thinker

    A nice tough lady, maybe....Vice President? NEVER!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  12. kayg

    I'd hate for her to be the girl next door to me, she'd be stabbing me in the back as she was using me as a step to get whatever she wanted. Not to be trusted, imo.

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  13. Mark Kahle

    the only thing Sarah Palin did tonight was go negative and piss off alot of democrats, who gained energy from her speech not to sit on the sidelines, but to come back swinging and we will with our votes....

    DEMOCRATS 08!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08!!

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  14. pdculnan

    The Republicans neglected to tell the small town folks they are trying to impress that they will be even worse off economically 4 years from now if McCain is elected and is able to enact his programs. They entire Replublican platform seems to be "We will protect you, but if you elect a democrat then you will die". Will people still fall for this after 8 years of Bush/Cheney?

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  15. Hillary supporter...not a PUMA

    Just a thought...All the jabs at Omaba 's community organizing experience. I doubt the rebublican base or many Americans even know what community organizing is or what it involves. As a woman and a mother who attends her children's sporting events, I have always held those "lipstick-wearing pitbull moms" in utter contempt. These are the moms who can't model true sportmanship and respect for the opposing teams. Not what I'm looking for in leadership qualities for our nation at this time.

    September 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  16. Hanky

    I thought she started out ok, but I think her push from the crowd did not allow her to be as humble a presence as I thought she should have been. For someone they screened from the public, she came out like a ravening wolf. I was put out by it because she gave a respectless speech that belied someone who shouldnt be attacked.
    I thought the words were well-crafted, but her delivery was uneven and the sarcastic and what seemed to be arrogant tone turned me off.
    I wanted to be quite objective being a Democrat, but her tone and bombastic edge turned me off and let Biden be unleashed.

    I think that the Republicans have a large problem coming out of this convention. They energized their base, but I believe that many Americans are wondering, where is the substance? Some may even be turned off by the bombastic tone and edge that she came in with. I thought she was well-composed and ready to eat up the democrats, but as a new-comer I though there should have been more humility. She seemed to demonstrate her lack of knowledge of the real moment, broadly speeching, and although the base was energized, there seemed to be a certain phoniness in the atmosphere, like the Republicans were actually forcing something that does not exist.
    I see recent polls trending upward for Obama we shall see if it continues. I think that McCain needs to come with some substance because no one has come with much substance from the GOP.

    September 4, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  17. Gergen: She did not deliver....:(

    I watched her speech while on the treadmill at the gym and I must say I got NOTHING out of her speech. I don't know what made her go on the personal attack of Obama in regards to experience either. Bad decision by the McCain camp I think. And Giuliani need to sit his A$$ down. It didn't help that he was right before her speech either. What a disgrace he is to America. I am an proud independent and I must say that she did not win me over. She seemed like a puppet on the McCain camp leash, which is unfortunate. I am a woman and I don't think she was the right choice and they could picked many other women that were better qualified...It's a shame. Looks like I will be voting for the other ticket.

    September 4, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  18. Peter

    What! Were we watching the same speech. I just wish one of them went off mic... then we'd hear everything minus spin. She's not a good public speaker, when she says certain words (particularly ones that end in s), her voice is gratingly annoying. She also spoke rather slowly, like she was reading the teleprompter rather than giving a speech. However, like most of the spin-doctors, Gergen probably set the bar so low that as long as she showed up and didn't stutter or fall flat, she'd have hit a HR. And you know what, that's not at all addressing what the content of the speech was.

    September 4, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  19. California Gold

    Palin had a well written speech and delivered it to an adoring crowd of fellow Republicans.

    But her first speech this weekend she was booed. Actually booed by the American voters.

    We'll see how well she does when she doesn't have teleprompters and knows the questions in advance. With her baggage and lack of depth, and makes up for those deficiencies by attacking, she will not be a candidate the voters can warm up to.

    September 4, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  20. Lynn

    Great speech Sarah !!!

    September 4, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  21. marie

    oh yeah Executive experience is a sure sign of a good president,
    that can lead this country thru the quagmire it finds itself in.
    Oh wait, the current president had executive experience and
    now we find the country with an enormous deficit that THIS
    Administration brought on. WhooBoy, now the next in line continues
    to arrogantly defended a senseless war that is based on lies,
    and the economy in shambles. yes, that's what experience is good for.

    Palins experience is bravado and attitude.
    Please no more complaints about sexism. Palin laid out all the points to discuss. It is not the "media" ... its the common folk out her in voter land that have issues with her ... with McCain and the first idiot Bush.

    September 4, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  22. Dave

    Palin's speech is just more of the same old retoric. Nothing new, attack, attack, attack with unsupported arguments and the same old blame.

    It is a case of Republicn amnesia.

    September 4, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  23. Rick K

    Delivery was excellent, but if you don't like Karl Rove's politics of division, you are NOT a fan of this woman.

    She was smug, mocking, condescending, insulting.

    It made Obama's decision to almost defend her personally look like another well-placed rope-a-dope. It leaves him in perfect position to paint himself above pettiness.

    September 4, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  24. chas wagner

    You mean read a good speech. What about the substance of her speech? What about the things that all these speakers have been saying that have no basis in reality or r just flat out lies. The problem is that most of America has no "real-o-meter" to judge any of this. They don't read and they get their news from fox. U can't have a democracy without an informed electorate. It makes me want to cry.

    September 4, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  25. RS

    I think a careful viewing shows that despite her considerable political abilities/charm, there is one place the McCain camp tried to shore up with her speech, that proved to be one of her weakest moments: "worldly experience".

    As they tried to tie Palen's "Alaska- Land of Oil" experience to knowing about "things international" – she got a bit slipped up, relied much more heavily on the teleprompter. This may seem small, but it's a huge Achilles heal. If she in fact knows nothing about issues beyond her own frozen tundra, she's not only going to make a very poor VP, but a very poor running mate.

    September 4, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
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