McCain picks Sarah Palin as running mate

08/29/08 Seán Kinane
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Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain attempted to steal thunder from last night’s acceptance speech by Barack Obama today. McCain announced his choice of vice presidential running mate this afternoon, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. McCain made the announcement at a rally in Dayton, Ohio.

Like McCain, Palin is a conservative who has shown willingness to clash with others in her own party. A self-described hockey mom and political reformer, Palin is a first-term governor who's held the job for less than two years. The 44-year-old is a former mayor of Wasilla. She has a reputation for bucking her party's establishment and Alaska's powerful oil industry.

Palin mentioned that her selection occurred 88 years after women of America first gained right to vote. It appears that the McCain campaign is trying to reach out to votes of women, especially for disaffected supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Democrat Bob Buckhorn, a former member of Tampa City Council and a Bay News 9 political analyst, told WMNF that it is not likely McCain will pull away Democratic women with the selection of Palin.

In a conference call this morning several conservative activists gave Palin the thumbs-up. Grover Norquist, with Americans for Tax Reform, called Palin, “Reaganesque.”

Support for Sarah Palin was also expressed by National Rifle Association Immediate Past President, Sandra Froman.

Palin served as chairperson of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. She and her husband have five children. The latest was born last April with Downs syndrome. On the conference call, the issue that she had the child instead of terminating the pregnancy was mentioned as a certain campaign issue. Father Frank Pavone, of Priests for Life, called Palin a “Pro-Life Catholic” who would easily contrast with what he called the “pro-abortion Catholic” Joe Biden, Barack Obama’s running mate.

Obama campaign spokesperson Adrianne Marsh issued this statement on McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. "Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Gov. Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same."

Buckhorn agrees that Palin is not yet ready to assume the role of president should McCain’s health fail.

Palin is being investigated by the Republican-controlled legislature of Alaska. It is “looking into the possibility that Palin ordered the dismissal of Alaska's public safety commissioner because he would not fire her former brother-in-law as a state trooper,” the Associated Press reports.

Former Florida Speaker of the House, Republican Marco Rubio told WMNF this afternoon he was “genuinely excited” about McCain’s pick of Palin.

"It’s interesting to see that it’s the Republican Party that is going to give voters this November the opportunity to put a woman in that position, a heartbeat away from the presidency, one of the most important offices in the country."

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