McCain Picks Palin

Posted August 29, 2008 at 9:45am

Updated: 12:32 p.m. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been tapped by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) as his running mate, the second woman ever selected for a presidential ticket and the first Republican. McCain is scheduled to announce his pick later today in Dayton, Ohio. The McCain campaign portrayed Palin as a fellow maverick willing to take on the status quo in Washington. “Governor Palin has the record of reform and bipartisanship that others can only speak of,” the McCain campaign said in a release. “Her experience in shaking up the status quo is exactly what is needed in Washington today.” McCain’s campaign said Palin had taken on big oil companies while supporting energy development, and has tackled the state’s corruption. “She put a stop to the ‘bridge to nowhere’ that would have cost taxpayers $400 million,” the McCain campaign said, pointing out that Palin had clashed with Alaska Rep. Don Young (R), who was behind the infamous earmark. McCain’s campaign also noted that Palin is the mother of soldier who will soon go to Iraq and that she is the head of Alaska’s National Guard. “Governor Palin understands what it takes to lead our nation and she understands the importance of supporting our troops,” the campaign stated. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) called the choice of Palin a “Hail Mary pass,” instantly hitting the veep pick on a lack of experience. “It is a real roll of the dice and shows how John McCain, Karl Rove et. al. realize what a strong position the Obama-Biden team and Democrats in general are in in this election,” Schumer contended, referring to vice presidential nominee Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.). “Certainly the choice of Palin puts to rest any argument about inexperience on the Democratic team and while Palin is a fine person, her lack of experience makes the thought of her assuming the presidency troubling.” “I particularly look forward to the Biden-Palin debate in Missouri,” Schumer stated. GOP women were quick to praise Palin before the start of the Republican convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul this weekend. “I am absolutely beside myself with joy. I think this will be a day remembered for years to come as a breakthrough for women,” said Rep. Michelle Bachmann (Minn.) Bachmann, who met Palin during a Congressional trip last month, said she could expand the party’s appeal to women who have historically tilted to the Democrats. “I believe that [what] this demonstrates to American women is that Republicans understand American women and American women’s needs.” Bachmann added Palin would be a role model: “This will show to the American women you can be married, you can have a business and you can also be engaged and be a serious candidate for the president of the United States.” Bachmann also said there is an opening with women who are unhappy that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) chose not to select Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) as his running mate. “A lot of women were very disaffected when he chose to slight Hillary Clinton by not even asking her to submit vetting materials,” Bachmann said. “We’ve seen a great deal of disunity in the Democratic process this week because women felt shut out, quite frankly,” Bachmann charged. The pick of Palin shows that “we see the importance of women and we see the vitality that women can bring to the cause.” In an interview with Roll Call just last week from her Anchorage office, Palin said she did not think she was being seriously vetted for the job and added that the idea of her being selected for the national ticket was a long shot. “I just think that’s so far out of the realm of possibility,” she said. “I think, OK, I’m a hockey mom from Alaska and I’m very passionate about the need for our nation to become energy independent, and for our nation to become more secure, and that’s going to be based on domestic supplies of energy being tapped.” Aside from appealing to a key demographic — suburban women — Palin’s message sounds like exactly what Republicans are looking for as gasoline prices soar across the country and the economy enters what many experts consider to be a recession in part because of the energy crisis. Palin, an outsider populist with sky-high approval ratings, took office in 2006 after defeating then-Gov. Frank Murkowski (R) in a three-way primary. She ran on an anti-corruption message and she supported her running mate, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell (R), in his primary bid for the House against ethically tainted Young. The results of that primary, which occurred on Tuesday, are still out. But despite her statewide popularity, Palin has a publicly discordant relationship with the chairman of the Alaska Republican Party, whom she reported for ethical misconduct in the Murkowski administration. She admitted she would not know if the state party was speaking with the national party about a potential vice presidential candidacy. “We don’t have that kind of relationship where they would pass on any good information to McCain or the national GOP,” she said. “I just acknowledge that and that’s fine.”