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. young voter for obama

    it's on now the gloves is coming off. she thought she got attacked before she ain't seen nothing yet.

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  2. observer

    Sorry Gergen:
    I beg to differ with you. I gathered a group of about 11 women at my mom's to watch the speech, myself included and was surprised that about 7 thought she was way too sarcastic, almost bitter and too degrading of the opponent. She needed to speak more on her policies and ideas, she obviously did not speak the truth on a couple of instances. She is very appealing and I love strong women, but she fell short in some ways. Sarcasm does not make up for sustance.

    She can do women well if she stood on women;s issues and be alittle honest. Quite frankly, she left herself wide open for attacks, and not many women will have sympathy like we did earlier this week after watching her speech. I don't see myself rally around her. But I still want her to put up a tough fight.

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  3. ellen, illinois

    Sarah gave a powerful speech even though it had a bit of an ugly undertone to it. She is a great speaker, but her views are still the same: doesn't believe in the science of global warming, wanted to drop the teaching of evolution in Alaskan schools, wants to roll back the endangered species act.

    Being a VP or President is more than speaking well or being a pitbull, it is having a "big picture" mind frame for all the people of our country and unfortunately she comes across to me as having a very limited and narrow view of how things should be done.

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  4. Come on now.

    She never discussed actual issues! She'll be destroyed in a debate.

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  5. Abby

    I thought she was forgettable and petty. nothing like Hillary, Michelle and Joe Biden.

    May the peacemakers win. God Bless America!

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  6. J.T. Jackson in Michigan

    she was obviously just a talking head delivering speech that someone wrote for her exactly one thing she belittled Obama for. She speaks of the importance of values as she stands on the stage with school age children that are not in school and a disabled baby that needs her mother not her sister take care of her. and a pregnant teen that was 16 when impregnated by her 18 year old boyfriend that they now say is a fiance but she is not wearing a engagement ring.

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  7. Sean Christopher

    Condescending and smug. That was my impression. Palin overdid the 'just folks' shtick to the point of self-parody. I failed to see the Sarah Palin that people are always saying is so likable.

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  8. Hillary Supporter

    The only energy she knows is oil. She left her town in a 20 million dollar dept. Her Alaska state budget is handed to her on a oily silver platter. But we are supposed to be impressed because she was on the PTA? How about her husband being in the AIP? (Alaska Independence Party) Wait until that gets more coverage.

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  9. No way No how No Mccain

    It's all negatives, she has claimed that she is a reformer. She did not let that come across tonight.

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  10. randy


    Trot out a flawed candidate. So flawed that the opponents play nice. Hide that candidate. Then make that candidate the attack dog.

    I'm not so sure that anyone outside of the base of the republican party will buy the fact that Palin is who this speech is, considering that she's not said anything about this campaign to the nation until now.

    All of the candidates tonight, with the exception of Huckabee, had one over-riding message. Fear. War.

    Brilliant....for the base.


    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  11. Steve

    Found her jabs at Obama were way too personal...hope she can take what she dishes out when it comes back to bite her. Maybe she will remember crticizing Hilliary for 'whining".

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  12. The Patriot

    Wow, strong intelligent out America!!! Now, where are all the woman haters? yeah, that even includes you other so called women out there too. Smart and, what have you done?

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  13. Gordon Garrett

    I'm just a dumb Canadian but if I was voting what she said would encourage me to vote for the two of them because they are prepared to address the issue of energy particularily nuclear. McCain's position on nuclear is where they can get the cheapest energy that will be needed even if they fast track to electric or hydrogen cars. Obama keeps waffling on nuclear even though it is largely used in Illionois. On top of this she presents an outstanding picture of elegence and composure. It emphasizes Mccain's ability to pick personnel. Watch out. We will see, it is going to be interesting

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  14. A Simple Man

    Was it a good speech? Yes. Did she hit all the necessary points? Absolutely. But here is the dilemma. Republicans played poker with the Dems and the Dems showed a gullible side in taking the bluff.

    Republicans have spent the last two and a half days insisting that the Dems keep this business like, professional and do not take jabs at this "lady". And in an abiding fashion, the Dems took the bait, hook, line and sinker.

    Then BAM

    The distinguished lady from Alaska BLASTED the Dems on every available opportunity. Well played Republicans. BUT, if I wanted to watch the Comedy Central Barack Obama Roast, then I would have tuned to their channel. Very Unprofessional. Very Unprofessional for a junior opponent to come in and swing the bat in that fashon after the rules were set. I am an independent voter and I was looking for professionalism and respect. What Guiliani and Palin did was disgusting and I now cast (and would request that all who are not in favor of these cheap parlor ticks) my vote for the Democratic ticket. Obama and Biden, don't let me down.

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  15. JH

    Are we applauding the fact that Sarah Palin has a pregnant teenage daughter? She has her daughter and the boyfriend walking around, like there is nothing wrong. To me, Sarah Palin needs to take more time raising her children and less time trying to attack Barrack Obama.

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  16. Fran Robertson

    I really think that if Barack Obama were White, the personal attacks would not have been as vicious as they were. It is becoming more increasingly clear that race is an underlyig factor for the personal attacks. Gov. Palin does not represent any views of mine and I am a woman. If I were Republican, I would not vote for McCain under any circumstances. A McCain administration will take us backwards to the days before Roe v. Wade, Civil Rights for all and prosperity for all.

    September 4, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  17. Rob

    I am surprised they didn't burn a cross tonight at the Xcel center.
    The GOP is so schizophrenic. They alll need lithium.

    Yours Truly,
    Former Republican for Obama

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  18. Aaron in Virginia

    That .. can ... NEVER... be President.

    Not ever. Never.

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  19. George

    I saw very little substance in Palin's speech. It was all about attacking Obama, and nothing about how the Republicans propose to fix the mess that they have gotten us in. Most of us are not fortunate enough to live in a state like Alaska that gives its citizens a "dividend" of $1624 just for living there.

    Attacking Obama and Biden for not having executive experience may backfire. Tell me again which town McCain was a Mayor of?

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  20. Maurice

    She did an outstanding job. I am a liberal democrat who is totally devasted by Barak Obama as the best choice, they could come up with. He is so unqualified, it is shocking. I agreed with every word she said. She is tons more qualified than Barak Obama. I am so disturbed at CNN reporters for the sexist remarks they have made against Hillary Clinton and now Sarah Palin. I agree with Gulianni how dare anyone say a woman can't be a mother and a VP? No one has ever questioned how Obama can be a dad and a president. It breaks my heart to come to the realization that democrats, my party are living 100 years in the past when it comes to their views about women and womens rights. Why is it so wrong to be a racist and perfectly okay to be a sexist? It makes about as much sense as Barak Obama's qualifications for this job.

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  21. Monica

    BTW, I have never liked Rudy Guliani but he hit the nail on the head tonight. Obama is ridiculous and the crowd gave him all the respect he deserves, which is none.

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  22. bridgette

    Delivers what. You know no more about her than you did before she gave that speech. She had no substance and it was very catty. As a woman I was extremely disappointed. The reality of it is she is not ready for this position. And that is why they had her in hiding until tonite. I think that it's open season on her. The democrats she attack her based on facts not the mess that she said tonite. The door has been open.

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  23. SMI

    Why was she so angry. The mood of the night was angry. I am a young black REP and I was so turned off. I am disappointed.

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  24. Roberta, NC

    Lifelong Democrat...former Hillary supporter...had already decided to vote McCain. Now the deal is sealed! This feisty lady is the next generation of leadership for America. You don't have to agree with her or the Republicans on every issue...but, at least in this election cycle...they are the real deal.

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  25. A noun, a verb and POW

    The gloves are off. Palin read the teleprompter without floundering, she embellished and was quite blazing. There's no need to treat her like a victim anymore.

    Don't be another victim of swift voting. CNN is showing great bias towards this non-diversified convention.

    September 4, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
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