August 29th, 2008
02:31 PM ET

Palin is brilliant, but risky, VP choice

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/29/art.vert.palin.2006.jpg caption="John McCain announced little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate, seen here at an April 2, 2006 news conference in Juneau, Alaska." width=292 height=320]Ed Rollins
AC360° Contributor
GOP Strategist, Former Huckabee National Campaign Chairman

John McCain's brilliant but risky "Hail Mary pass" choice for vice president, Alaska Gov. Sarah "Barracuda" Palin, has the political world saying first: Who? And then: Why?

The "who" is a young, articulate, smart, tough, pro-life Roman Catholic who is the governor of our northernmost state. She is conservative and a mother of 5, including a son in the Army who is set to be deployed to Iraq on September 11. Her youngest child has Down syndrome.

The "Barracuda" nickname came from her aggressive basketball play on the state championship basketball team. She is a hunter, pilot and lifetime member of the NRA.

She is blunt, outspoken and charming. And don't assume she can't stand toe-to-toe with Joe Biden. She is a great debater. And she was runner-up for the Miss Alaska title, won Miss Congeniality in that contest, and plays the flute.

She also has a compelling story and is a most interesting choice. She will be known by all in 24 to 48 hours in this instant media world and I am betting she will be well-liked.

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Filed under: John McCain • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. ann

    Well, Ken, Michael Moore liberals aside, all I can say is I'm sure the GOP continues to tout Palin's PTA experience as if it was a legitimate and important component of her 'executive experience'. If Palin's PTA experience continues to be mentioned, as it was again today by McCain, it makes me wonder why they just didn't choose a plain old housewife. Talk about executive experience. A home maker has to balance budgets, plan out every day, be a peacemaker and referee and fry it up in a pan. The ultimate multi-tasking machine. Funny that it has taken so long for women to be taken SO SERIOUSLY in the political arena. A very sad commentary on today's GOP if you ask me.

    August 31, 2008 at 10:04 pm |
  2. Lynn from Canada

    As a 53 year old professional woman, mother of 4 from Canada I was astounded at the choice. Only in the US would being a hunter and highschool basketball player maker you a good choice as a candidate for VP. The obvious conflict of interest in having a husband working in the oil business and making decisions concerning drilling, pipelines and the enviroment should alone have excluded her in Alaskan politics.
    I sincerely hope the American people can see through this obvious manipulative ploy.

    August 31, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  3. Ken

    I f all of these Mike Moore liberals hate her so much then this has to be a great pick.

    August 31, 2008 at 4:54 am |
  4. B.

    I truly don't believe she knows what she's getting into. I'm a working mother of two; I question her priorities when she has a baby with downs syndrome at home while she's contesting for VP. As a working mom, the biggest need when balancing family and work is making sure you're available to some degree (not referring to staying at home) as a mom for those early years at least–because those are the years your child will need a moms touch the most. Is she truly willing to give up raising her youngest child for the next four years, so she can be the GOP's "Easy Button" to remain in the White House? If she or anyone else around her doesn't understand that is going to happen, then it just confirms that she has no clue what she's getting herself into.
    Also I question how she is going to cope. I mean, it's like taking someone who was the student president of a community college and bringing them to a Big-Ten University and expect them to manage equally as successful.

    August 30, 2008 at 9:43 pm |
  5. Jennie

    Hillary would have never garnerd my vote because we agree on close to nothing. She's never reflected my views as a woman. I lived in her "former" state of Arkansas for 42 years. Finally, FINALLY a woman like Palin is someone who does reflect my views. She has more substance than the white man with "brown skin" attempting to lead (brainwash) the democratic party. Come on ... he was raised by his hippy liberal, down with the man mother and primarily by his white grand parents in their white communities. More substance that this bitter man who wants to resurrect and embrace the views of a deceased known communist who spewed his views in the 60's. Another John Kerry type who looks down his egotistical nose at the rest of us, covers it up with the smooth Bill Clinton type of sugar coating rhetoric and wants America to blindly let him be in charge, he'll fix everything that the bad old Bush did wrong in office. Hogwash!! He will destroy the very ideals that formed this country, he will attack our freedoms in other ways as he strives to build a bigger government to take care of us stupid Americans. Go Palin!! Someone who proves what a woman can do if she's put in charge!! A boost for every PTA and soccer/hockey mom who has put more energy and ingenity into doing great things in their communities. Give one of them a chance to work their magic in our broken government. If having "experience" meant anything in Washington why are we in such a God awful mess. Bring in a complete outsider and let's shake things up!!

    August 30, 2008 at 9:08 am |
  6. LaVon K Hummel

    NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN ITS OK TO BE NEW , A OUT SIDER, ITS NOW BEING CALLED FRESH FACE WHAT A LAUGH. We have for two years now we have turned Barack Obama life inside out , we have made him answer for every and any little thing that made us slightly uncomfortable. We have read his books , which won the pulziter award for. We want to pick his lfe apart and we have, Barack has been very welcoming of this and kind. We Know more about this man than any other canadate in history. PLEASE TELL ME HOW THIS WOMEN PALIN WHO HAS BEEN PLOPED IN OUR LABS IS ALREADY EXCEPTED TO SO MANY OF YOU This is so the far rights american way. This is so injust, FRESH FACE ,NEW IDEA. TURN MIN. HER LIFE INSIDE OUT. STUDY HER FAMILY INCH BY INCH ,MIN TO MIN DIG TO FIND ANY LITTLE SPEC OF DIRT YOU CAN POSSIBLE FIND LIKE YOU DO WITH OBAMA, oops she has came with her own dirt hasn't she. NEW PERSPEDTIVE. GET REAL LADY,

    August 30, 2008 at 3:58 am |
  7. James, NYC

    Senator McCain must be desperate. This was a reactionary decision by him, and not a proactive one. I question his judgment in choosing a VP candidate based on pitiful political calculations instead of thinking for the greater good of the nation in the event the VP needs to step in to preside over the nation. One would normally think that a 72 years old person with almost 30 years of political experience to possess some wisdom. But then again, wisdom surely does not come with age.

    Gov. Palin's blatant pandering to Senator Clinton's supporters is an insult to women's intellect. She should be ashamed of herself. Gov. Palin, I've got news for you: YOU ARE NO HILLARY CLINTON! This nation does not need a potential VP candidate with an easy smile who advocates backwards right wing agendas in the 21st century. According to her, global climate change is not an entirely convincing theory (as if it is a theory!). She advocated home schooling as if she's schooled enough to teach all the needed course material to educate children which will ensure their global competitiveness. Her understanding of the II. Amendment is based on her interest in hunting, which completely disregards street crime in densely populated regions of America (as if she's lived in a densely populated place, ever!). Her pro-life stance dismisses women's right to chose even if most women are against anti-abortion, which shows her one track mind, which one might argue, shows her lack of understanding of the US constitution. And I wonder where she stands on stem cell research. News sources already pointed out that she contradicted herself on the "Bridge to Nowhere" issue in today VP announcement!

    Senator McCain's VP choice was a poor one. I believe it indicates that he's a pragmatist. He's supposed to show statesmanship. But on the contrary, he comes across as a man who is out of sync with reality.

    August 29, 2008 at 11:57 pm |
  8. Diane

    Oh god. Palin?? Seriously. Time to move to Canada.

    August 29, 2008 at 11:42 pm |
  9. Annie Kate

    With Palin on the ticket the US can look forward to 4 more years of stagnation and degeneration on environmental issues. In the end McCain not only gambled with the country – he gambled with the planet.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 29, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  10. Susan


    As a women I take great offense to the rabid calls that I am being pandered to. No one can pander you, if you do not let them. Then do not vote for her ticket. She is a change candidate and do we not want change. She comes from outside Washington. She will bring fresh ideas and new perspective to the problems facing this country. We need more fresh faces in Washington, the old ones are getting boring and that is why things never get done.


    August 29, 2008 at 9:26 pm |
  11. rachel

    I've concluded that during this; nonstop, overcovered, force feed, at time monotanous coverage of the upcoming election, has only divided our great country more. There is no open well rounded representation of all the canidates and their outlooks...just the two major parties. We're suppose to be "we the people" not we the party". Its unfortunate we place so much attention on only two people(4 counting VP) and make it such a narrow choice. When we could also get coverage of the other non dem/ gop parties running, to allow different ideas, plans, possibilities be heard . Resultng fin greater open debates to push the top choices to listen to the open public instead of a party line....that doesn't even justly represent the majority. Lastly Congress is the biggest problem to the People. They're the ones that make and pass the laws and legislation that directly affects our daily lives. Yet it's never mention or brought up in public forums. The major ity of people don't even know their State Reps names. But we sit minute by minute arguing over the same nonsense we've seen politial puppets talk about the last 2 weeks ...I personally welcome Gov. Palan to the ring, she'll bring an extra bit of newness to the blah staleness of this enough already election. We seek and demand change, yet now its here, comes the murmers and divisions once again. Will we ever again achieve "WE THE PEOPLE" or are we forever doomed to be "we the only two parties allowed" ? .... Better yet when will news be broadcast again, isn't there more happining in the world on a daily basis other than what Obama ate for lunch or McCains agespot growth? until then ....I'll still be glued to the boob tube.

    August 29, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
  12. Jim

    It really doesn't matter who gets ellected in Nov. as we have allready been screwed past the point of no return. BY BOTH PARTIES.
    We have How Many ILLEGAL imigrants in this Country? & What did Senators McCain & Obama Do about the Problem While in Congress? When Katrina Hit 3 years ago What did Senators McCain & Obama do in Congress? When the Mississippi over flowed not too long ago- What Did McCain & Obama Do in Congress?
    When Gas prices went higher than a jet propelled kangaroo – WHAT DID MCCAIN & OBAMA DO in CONGRESS???????
    When Houses started being FORECLOSED at a alarming rate & jobs were lost over seas WHAT DID MCCAIN & OBAMA DO IN CONGRESS????? Is Nola rebuilt? NO- but we can send BILLIONS overseas. We have the technology to be able to read the fine print on a liscense plate from space but we cannot find 1 man hid in some cave? We have Veterans who served their Country living in the Streets,
    but CONGRESS can vote themselves raises & take long vacations ??? To Both Candidates- I hear a Lot of talk & see LITTLE

    August 29, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  13. napad

    I am reading some of the comments/attacking about palin was a mayor for a town less than 6500 people for 2 terms.

    well, DEMS put obama's community organizer as an experience
    I am seriously. what the ....

    August 29, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  14. Bart from Chicago

    She will secure male and female Hillary supporter's who are not happy.

    August 29, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  15. Dee Marshall

    In another historic moment in American History we will have our first
    female Vice President Nominee. However when mentioning women
    in our great USA History who had ran for the top office- she failed to
    mention the late great Shirley Chilsolm of New York! Perhaps, she
    knows very little about about African-American History. It shows how
    much she knows about all the people who are not frozen all year! Maybe with all the home-schooling the books did not have any cultral
    information. She is not a well rounded Hillary who was very global
    and cultralrated. So, I hope CNN will correct her staff and let her know
    about a famous African American woman than ran before the other two she mentioned!!!

    August 29, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  16. matt Dougan

    Mr. Rollins,

    Are you kidding me? You actually might think this woman is a good choice in the case of the demise of John McCain if he is president? You have got to be kidding, give me a break, you people are nuts!

    What happened to making decisions for the good of our Country.
    You neocons are crazy, heck I'd even have been more enthusiastic about Huckabee than this person.

    August 29, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  17. T Price

    The only practical choice, the sane choice, was Mitt Romney. We are only a decade removed from an economic implosion in this country and we need someone with a strong business acumen to clean up our deficit. Mitt Romney is the only qualified person available in the Republican Party, based upon his past financial accomplishments in both the public and private sectors. His religious affliations are his own business. Biden may be right after all about McCain's judgment.

    August 29, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  18. Mary

    I agree with Christine, let's hear more about her before we put a label on her inexperience. I think that the fact that a lot of republicans were surprised is a good thing. Let's mix it up! I think that this is an extremely interesting election. Looking forward to hearing more about Gov. Palin. Then I will make my decision.

    August 29, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  19. MLJ

    I will hold judgement until I get to know her better.

    I would suggest that everyone do that, but that would require common sense. something sorely lacking in most of the posts here.

    August 29, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  20. SDO

    Brilliant??? This shows us exactly what this country is coming to. The Pharisee right-wing hypocrites have done it again. Let's beat up and bloody the democrat opponents and then do exactly what we blamed them for doing. Such hypocrites. She has NO EXPERIENCE FOOLS. Would you hire someone into your multi-trillion dollar organization with NO EXPERIENCE?

    August 29, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  21. Moureen

    As a Hillary supporter, I'm disgusted by both the obnoxiousness of the Sermon on the Mountaintop and the money wasted to put it on. We're supposed to be Democrats not elitists. The Party has lost its meaning to me. They should have taken that money and used it to help the poor instead of blowing it. Now that Obama and Biden have been crowned by the Democratic Good Ole' Boy's & Gal’s Club, they'd better bring it home next fall. The only difference between the two parties anymore is which one has the largest war chest to inundate the public with ads. Then surprise, surprise, their candidate wins! Elections have become a travesty of what was once held in esteem. I have no belief in our system anymore. We should vote Congress out every four years to keep fresh ideas incoming and alleviate the ‘good old clubs’ from taking root.

    August 29, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
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