September 3rd, 2008
07:51 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Palin Hits Primetime

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

It's become the must-see moment of the Republican National Convention. In just a few hours, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will get her turn in the primetime spotlight. For days now, she's listened to others talk (and not always nicely) about her, her family, and the vetting that did or didn't happen before John McCain tapped her as his running mate. But tonight in St. Paul, she'll do the talking.

It's a high-stakes moment for the little-known 44-year-old Republican. It would be hard to overstate the scrutiny she'll almost certainly be under when she takes the stage. We're told she's spent most of the past 48 hours crafting her speech with the help of McCain speechwriter Matt Scully and adviser Nicolle Wallace. After a read-through last night, with teleprompter, Palin and her team returned to the hotel and worked on the speech some more. We're told they'll be tweaking her speech up until the last minute she leaves for the convention hall.

The McCain aides told CNN Palin's speech has three goals: to leave no question which ticket has a better handle on the economy and to emphasize her experience and understanding of the energy economy; to make the case for John McCain and against Barack Obama at a policy level and on the issue of character; and to fill in the blanks about who Palin is by presenting herself as a likeable, funny, and smart person. That's a tall order for anyone to fill. Here's what another senior adviser said about the expectations for tonight: "The democrats and the media have done a great job lowering expectations. We're gonna raise some expectations tonight. The elites will never give her her due, or Middle America its due." And this: "She is going to really going to connect with blue collar voters - illustrate that she has a common touch with an executive presence."

We'd love to hear your take on Sarah Palin and whether she's connecting with you. We should also mention that Sen. John Kyl of Arizona will place Sen. John McCain's name into nomination tonight. He's stepping in for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who was forced to bow out because of Hurricane Gustav. Stay with CNN for full coverage of the RNC, including Gov. Palin's much-anticipated speech. Here's tonight's lineup:


U.S. Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY)

Temporary Convention Chair


Sen. McConnell


Lay Enforcement Memorial Assn. (MN)


Sharon Clahchischilliage, Farmington, NM & Mary Leavitt of Columbus, OH


John Shillington & Ruby Brown, Phoenix, AZ


Father Edward Reese, Phoenix, AZ


SPEECH: Sen. Mitch McConnell


VIDEO: "Country First: Prosperity"

(Robert Duvall Voice Over)

SPEECH: "Country First: Prosperity of Spirit"

Anne Beiler, Founder of Auntie Anne's Pretzels

SPEECH: "Country First: Values"

U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, MN

SPEECH: "Country First: Overcoming Challenges"

Renee Amoore, King of Prussia, PA

SPEECH: "Country First: Growth via Trade"

State Senator Abel Maldonado, CA

SPEECH: "Country First: Rural America"

Carolyn Dunn, St. John, KS


SPEECH: Ask for Contributions to Relief Efforts


SPEECH: "Country First: Healthcare"

Dr. Elena Rios, National Hispanic Medical Association

SPEECH: "Country First: Small Business"

Ruth Novodor, Montebello, CA

SPEECH: "Country First: Prosperity over Partisanship"

Christy Swanson, Quinton, VA

SPEECH: "Country First: Energy Security"

Michael Williams, Chairman, Texas Railroad Commission

SPEECH: "Country First: Environment"

Luis Fortuno, Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico


SPEECH: "Country First: Pres. McCain's first 100 days"

Meg Whitman, Former President and CEO, eBay Inc.

VIDEO: "McCain's Economic Reform Package"


SPEECH: "Country First: 2013 in America – Pres. McCain's First Term"

Carly Fiorina, Fmr. Chairman & CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co.

SPEECH: "Prayer: Neighbors Helping Neighbors"

Bishop Thomas Wenski, Orlando, FL

SPEECH: "Country First"

GOPAC Chairman Michael Steele


Mitt Romney, Former Governor of Massachusetts


SPEECH: "Right Reform & Right Reason"

Mike Huckabee, Former Governor of Arkansas


John Rich, Gretchen Wilson, Cowboy Troy


John Rich, Gretchen Wilson, Cowboy Troy

SPEECH: "Wrong Reform & Wrong Reason"

Rudy Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York City

SPEECH: "Country First: Sarah Palin's Contribution"

Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii


VIDEO: "Sarah Palin"


Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska




Leader Boehner

SPEECH: Remarks about the Nomination of U.S. Sen. John McCain

Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona


Leader Boehner/ Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona


From the Texas Delegation on the Floor


Leader Boehner


Leader Boehner


Leader Boehner


Leader Boehner


Secretary Jean Inman


Secretary Jean Inman & Asst. Secretary Connie Nicholas



Secretary Jean Inman & Asst. Secretary Rosie Tripp


Leader Boehner


VA Delegation on the floor


Leader Boehner


Leader Boehner


Rev. Eva Rodriguez, Sacramento, CA


Leader Boehner


Floor-New Mexico Delegation


Leader Boehner

Filed under: T1 • The Buzz
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. patsy

    I would like to comment on the disgusting remarks that Sarah Palin made in regards to community organizers! I live in small town America and believe me it is the people that roll up their sleeves and jump in when it comes to crisis and social change in a small community! I dare say that giving up your private jet and chef does not begin to compare to giving up a comfortable lifestyle and position as Obama did when he became a community leader. Get real Palin,,just because you can down a helpless moose with one shot, does not mean you can take down someone that has dedicated himself to saving homes and lives such as Obama!

    September 4, 2008 at 9:47 am |
  2. michael, atlanta

    Completely disingenuous speech and behavior was represented at the RNC. Listen, I don't know how confessed believers (Christian Right) and conservatives can embrace the words of infidel Rudy Guiliani and others. Listen, I have one question and only one, "are we better off now or eight years ago when President Clinton actually served this country?" How unimaginative and desperate are the Republicans. This is a sham!

    September 4, 2008 at 9:46 am |
  3. Lorelle Phoenix

    Did anyone else notice McCain didn't have a US flag pin on when he went on stage after Sarah Palin addressed the convention? A little contradictory!!

    September 4, 2008 at 9:44 am |
  4. David in AZ

    I didn't understand a word she said. She must be talking in tongues like her other pentacostal brothren. I believe she belongs best as Major of Mayberry.

    September 4, 2008 at 9:38 am |
  5. Faith

    I watched this entire thing unfold last night. I was disgusted. She is an unqualified mouthpiece. It is safe to say she is NO Hillary. I didn't know Carl Rove was a cross dresser. She does not get a free pass because she is a woman.
    I have NEVER donated to any political campaign; needless to say first thing I did this morning was donate to the Obama campaign

    September 4, 2008 at 9:38 am |
  6. angie Texan...tired of the same

    SAME OLD REPUBLICAN POLICITCS...but WITH PRETTIER PACKAGING (now that the repubs are writing her speeches)

    Although they said "country first, I didn't get one example, other than McCain's Vietnam story on how this ticket would put country first. It was annoying to hear her comments about this Congress not getting anything done. If both sides are busy vetoing because no one agrees, nothing gets done.

    And it kills me how they say McCain is a straight talker. Someone at the RNC said that we may not agree with him on the issues, but at least he'll tell you straight..... So if we don't agree with him, he’ll let us know..... And do what he wants to do anyway?

    I’ll defer any further judgment until the VP and Presidential debates so that the Issues actually concerning me can be discussed, since the speech writers forgot to include them thus far.

    September 4, 2008 at 9:37 am |
  7. Pat M

    Palin is not connecting with me the reason being she is connecting with the same policies, stand, ideals of the current eight year Bush Administration. If McCain wins this election (long shot) the only thing we can look forward to with McCain and Palin is another four years of the same! She delieverd her speech brilliantly if you like a speech designed on pure attacks! Her mission apparently was to show how tough she is and try to diminish Obama's experience. I didn't buy it.
    There is really nothing Palin could say that would change the fact that McCain has always been and still is a Bush Twin in every respect. And another Bush and another four years of the same is not an option for me. And in mind Palin still hasn't defined for America what her experience entails and or how her experience she neglected to elaborate on will enable her to lead our Nation if required? OBAMA ALL THE WAY !

    September 4, 2008 at 9:32 am |
  8. Tracey - Boston

    She was a barracuda last night. I'm a democrat but she made me proud to be a woman. Dang. Now who am I gonna vote for??

    September 4, 2008 at 9:29 am |
  9. Debbie Smith

    Standing back this morning from the emotional pitch of last night's Sarah Palin's speech, I was hit by one telling thing. Cindy McCain's childish gleeful "Go gettem Sarah" and "We gottem now" emotional body language reaction to the speech says much to me about what she would bring to the White House as first lady. We have had very little opportunity to see Cindy in action other than her moving behind her husband with the forced smile as she shakes hands with supporters. This kind of immaturity shown last night is not appropriate for our next first lady as she represents our country here and abroad.

    September 4, 2008 at 9:25 am |
  10. Annie

    I admit I'm an urban, upper middle class Democrat. Most of my siblings who are similarly educated live in suburban rings in Western states - and they're Republicans - for economic rather than moral reasons. Out of curiosity last night I called my yuppy brother, the staunchest Repub. His wife answered the phone, a soccer mom who is also a company exec. I was shocked to learn that the message of " washington outsider" was tracking so well with these two who are largely Libertarian in terms of moral compass(and influential) voters. We shouldn't assume that normally rational and non rabid Republicans will be turned off by Palin. Voters are seeing in her what they want to see.

    September 4, 2008 at 9:24 am |
  11. Laura Corbeil

    Canada on Palin,

    A major TV Station in Toronto, Canada did a Poll regarding the American Election.

    Who do Canadians want to be the next American President.?

    Canadians choose Barack Obama.

    This Poll was done right after Palin made her 'Hockey Mom' speech.

    Hockey is big in Canada.

    But even Canadians know it is best to keep Hockey Moms out of the White House.

    Have you ever had to deal with a Hockey Mom?

    We Canadians rest our case.

    Good Luck America.

    Laura Corbeil
    Toronto, Canada

    September 4, 2008 at 9:23 am |
  12. Neil

    america is tired of the same old politics fom the republicans. they are reaching out to an america that does not include me. I feel like if they get elected that I dont belong here. They are doing the same thing Bush did to get in office I hope we are smarter than that.

    September 4, 2008 at 9:23 am |
  13. Denys

    who wrote her speech??

    September 4, 2008 at 9:21 am |
  14. Thomas

    Thank you so much for your all day news coverage on Monday. To listen to your competitors Monday morning (Fox) become cheerleaders for the Sarah and John (not John and Sarah) was tortured. Just before the hurricane was about to hit New Orleans, your team was in place reporting the news as it should be. Periodically you commented on the RNC as you should since it too was another major news topic. But you did not abandon reporting on a hurricane that could have had a tremendous impact on a major city and this country. Anderson Cooper and the rest of the CNN team always does an amazing job at reporting the news and not dictating the news to their liken.

    On another note, were we suppose to be dazzle by the speeches at the RNC? Once again it was another good night for speech writers. Should Sarah or John be the GOP nominee? After all it is Sarah who has helped create conversation about the GOP once more. John talks about character and morality. Has anyone questioned his ex-wife? How long was it after divorce before he remarried to Cindy "rodeo beauty-money" McCain. That entire story in itself is sad. Please do the research. The people has the right to know.
    There are some interesting pictures and stories about Sarah. Although you do not believe everything you see and hear, I just do not think we have looked further enough into Sarah as a person. We have heard about her for only a short while and now we are considering this should be our vice pressident. Whatever happen to dating before marriage? She did speak well and if the speech itself wasn't so pointed and almost angry at times, it would have been very positively received.
    This is a critical point in our country's history. It is important that we are careful who we want to represent our awesome country.
    By the way, I did vote Republican last term. I will not help put another Republican in the White House this term. However I will always vote for CNN.

    September 4, 2008 at 9:14 am |
  15. Kristi from KC

    Early in the convenction Republicans made great issue of the fact that Dems had selected two candidates who give good speeches while the Reps had selected two candidates who get things done. Barack locked himself in a hotel room for 24 hrs and put all his own ideas and plans into his speech. Sarah Palin delivered a fine speech as well, but it was completely written for her. How do we know if any of those points were her original ideas or thoughts other than the fact that she agreed to read them? I know politicians always use speech writers, but as her first introduction to the people it would have been nice to hear her speak in her own words.

    September 4, 2008 at 9:05 am |
  16. Elaine

    As a married 44 yr old mother of 4 girls, I feel sorry for Gov Palin’s children. I wanted to give Gov Palin an opportunity to show her capability to serve as VP of USA. I watched her. I listened to her acceptance speech. She said in her speech, “we are a family like yours; we have our ups and downs, challenges”. When I saw those children and looked at her infant son, her 17 year old who clearly not mature and needing guidance I understood Sarah better. It’s a vicious cycle; an unending generation of women making unsound decisions. She proved to be capable of slander but what can she do for our government and provide the family support needed? She looks like a woman of sound mind but I ask; how sound is a mother of 5, one being a teenage pregnant (engaged, if that smoothes the surface) daughter, and more importantly an infant with down syndrome, who chooses to take on the responsibility to serve the country and leave her family to her unemployed husband, Mr. Mom? Look at the facts, Sarah eloped, which suggest, against her families will and her daughter had teen premarital sex.
    Her best friend, who is also a mother of 5 and a business owner, said it could be done. Question, match the responsibilities of a mother to Vice President, where does it level? Where will Palin be when her 17 year old goes into labor or during the parent teacher conference, doctor appointments? Come on America! Have we lost our values where we say family first? I don't doubt the ability of a woman. However, I do question her ability to effectively function in such capacity and maintain family with such challenges. It's clear to see, her family needs her. My views are is not about Dem vs Rep; it's about those children and the fact that they need their mother. Michael Reagan said, “Children should be off limits.” I agree. Knowing that’s impossible, why did Sarah choose to drag her family into such horrible light? A working mom is not a bad mom but when she takes on a commitment to devote herself to such office as VP I question her judgment and the judgment of the guy that requisitioned her. If McCain wanted a woman on his campaign to over shadow Barach, he should have considered asking Hillary to cross over. He talked safety for America, what about the health and wellness of the family?

    September 4, 2008 at 9:02 am |
  17. sharon triplett

    She is a very likable woman but no one has been able to tell me what qualifies her to be Vuce President. Whenever anyone is asked that question, they come back with an attack on Obama or Biden. Then if you push it, as Campbell did, then they get angry and pout. Now they blame the medai for bias which is just a smoke screen to try to make them feel guilty and hopefully stop asking the questions they need to ask for the American people. Confusing to me is why is it okay for her to attack Obama and Biden but not okay for them to attack her when they do they are called sexist. Please don't fall into the trap of bias media they just want you to stop trying to expose the truth – she is not qualified.

    September 4, 2008 at 8:33 am |