Vice-Presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska lit up the Republican National Convention last night and turned anxious delegates into wild cheerleaders. Many delegates admitted waiting with unease for what amounted to a coming out party for the little-known governor. If Palin didn’t perform well, the delegates felt the campaign for President would never gain momentum.
But measuring the feelings of delegates who witnessed the speech in the Xcel Center, all concerns were put to rest. Former California Governor Pete Wilson said she was subject to “uncharitable speculation” before the speech that she would not do well. He said he was confident going into the speech that she would succeed. After he heard the speech, Wilson said, “My confidence was more than vindicated. She connected with the audience here in the hall and in the living rooms all over America.”
Political strategist Jeff Randle said that Palin had no room for error after the pounding she had taken since John McCain’s announcement that he had chosen her as a running mate. Randle said she made no error. Anaheim mayor Curt Pringle admitted to being anxious about her performance before the speech but concluded after the speech that it was “great and she over-performed.”
Palin surprised many when she took to old fashion political hardball going after Democratic nominee Barack Obama. Speaking to Obama’s theme of change Palin said, “In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.”
She also attacked Obama’s resume while promoting hers when she commented, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities."
Palin’s speech followed a stem winder by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who fired up the convention delegates. The Giuliani speech put more pressure on Palin to perform well and convince the delegates that she was capable of taking on the Democrats.
California Secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency Rosario Marin said Palin did the job. “While Giuliani hit it out of the park, Sarah hit it out with the bases loaded.”
Palin seemed poised and relaxed. Even as some protestors who got into the arena were being hauled away by authorities to the right of the stage, she didn’t flinch.
But while being poised, she also showed there is an attitude of a tiger within her. She does not intend to be pushed over, either by her political opponents or by negative media coverage of her, which she pointedly dismissed in her speech.
Gov. Palin clearly won over the partisans in the hall. San Francisco Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci asked some delegates the key question after the speech — How will her speech and her approach play to the voters outside of the hall?
We should know very soon. But for now, she has clearly added pizzazz to the Grand Old Party.
Click Here for photos from Day 3 at the RNC.