August 30, 2008


Obama loses spotlight to new rival (CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN | 8/29/08, Politico)

Just 12 hours after delivering a historic acceptance speech, Barack Obama was no longer the story.

The Democratic nominee and his running mate, Joe Biden, left Denver on Friday for a three-day bus tour of battleground states, pressing populist themes as they rolled through struggling western Pennsylvania but finding themselves overshadowed by the newly minted Republican ticket.

John McCain’s surprise choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential nominee reshaped the first post-convention day for the Democratic Party, robbing its candidates of the full media spotlight.

Obama ad: Despite Palin, McCain isn't change agent (JIM KUHNHENN, 8/30/08, Associated Press)
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama begins airing an ad Saturday that responds to rival John McCain's selection of a running mate, carefully avoiding any direct criticism of Sarah Palin, the Alaska governor whom McCain chose for the GOP ticket.

When the McCain campaign went so hard after the Unicorn Rider for dissing Hillary a couple of us were talking and said how Maverick really needed to pick a woman running mate to fit the narrative. But, no one actually thought he was that smart politically. You knew that's what Bush/Rove would have done, but John McCain, for all his charms, has never displayed real tactical or strategic chops until just recently. Maybe this old dog can learn new tricks.

At any rate, your opponents already obliterated their own argument when they have to say: "Yes, she's a huge change, no, he isn't a candidate of change"


A valentine to evangelical base (Joseph Williams, August 30, 2008, Boston Globe)

"She's somebody I've been watching since her name started floating" as a potential vice presidential candidate, said David Domke, a political science professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. "She is wildly popular in Alaska. She's pro-life and conservative. That plays well" with GOP conservatives. "She is a kind of valentine to the evangelical base of the party."

She is opposed to abortion except to save the life of the mother. When she learned that her infant son would be born with Down's Syndrome, she said she never considered ending the pregnancy. When Trig was born in April, she penned a note to loved ones in the voice of "Trig's creator, Your Heavenly Father," rejecting sympathy for her son.

According to an October 2006 profile in the Anchorage Daily News, Palin opposes stem cell research, physician-assisted suicide, and state health benefits for same-sex partners.

Earlier this year, she told the newspaper that schools should not fear teaching creationism alongside evolution. "Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. . . . Healthy debate is so important and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And you know, I say this too as a daughter of a science teacher."

McCain choice impacts energy debate (H. JOSEF HEBERT, 8/30/08, AP)
If Democrats hoped to paint Republican John McCain a pawn of Big Oil, their task has become a bit more complicated with the selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

While an ardent advocate for more drilling - off Alaska, off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in the off-limits Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - Palin also has shown she's not shy about confronting the likes of Exxon Mobil, BP and ConocoPhillips.

As the presidential campaign moves into high gear in the coming weeks, McCain and Democratic nominee Barack Obama will duel over two overriding energy issues: whether to expand offshore oil drilling into areas long off-limits and whether to impose new taxes on the biggest, wealthiest oil companies enjoying tens of billions of dollars in windfall profits.

Palin, a popular governor in a state that for decades has been closely tied to oil, may be a political novice, but she is anything but a newcomer when it comes to these two issues. And her emergence as McCain's No. 2 and possibly the country's next vice president, could shift the campaign's energy debate.

Husband of veep choice is snowmobile racer (RACHEL D'ORO. 8/30/08, Associated Press)
[T]odd Mitchell Palin can claim accomplishments beyond his marriage to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the surprise running mate of Republican presidential hopeful John McCain.

Todd Palin is a veteran oil-field worker and commercial fisherman affectionately dubbed Alaska's "first dude." He's a man who took college courses but does not have a degree, yet can hold his own in sophisticated circles, even hosting a reception for five former Alaska first ladies earlier this month.

A father of five, he's also a four-time winner of the world's longest snowmobile race, billed as the most grueling. It's a sport the 43-year-old lifelong Alaskan is so passionate about that he's continued to compete even after his wife took office in December 2006.

In this year's 2,000-mile Tesoro Iron Dog contest, Palin and racing partner Scott Davis were trying to defend their 2007 championship when Palin broke his arm in a crash. It was 400 miles from the finish line, but he refused to quit, coming in fourth, cheered on by the parka-clad governor waving a checkered flag.

With Pick, McCain Reclaims His Maverick Image (Dan Balz, 8/30/08, Washington Post)
John McCain's advisers predicted weeks ago that the presumptive Republican nominee would use his national convention week to try to recapture his image as a maverick reformer and shake up the presidential race. He did just that Friday with his surprise choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate.

McCain's selection of the nationally untested Palin is the most unlikely choice of a running mate since George H.W. Bush tapped then-Sen. Dan Quayle in 1988, a move as risky as it was bold. The decision brings the senator from Arizona immediate dividends with his base and eventually, perhaps, with swing voters. But it comes at potentially significant cost to his effort to discredit Democratic nominee Barack Obama as unprepared for the presidency.

The choice of Palin, the first woman named to a Republican presidential ticket, adds another chapter to a campaign that, mostly on the Democratic side, has been about breaking down racial and gender barriers in America. McCain's hope is that, with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) now on the sidelines, Palin can help close a sizable gap with Obama among female voters that threatens to block his path to the White House.

We don't get it: what has Obama ever governed? Or Biden? (Or Maverick for that matter?) In what sense is she not the most experienced of the 4?
A Tenacious Reformer's Swift Rise (Amy Goldstein and Michael D. Shear, 8/30/08, Washington Post)
A decade later, the nickname resurfaced when she was a 28-year-old political novice on the Wasilla City Council. She turned on a veteran council member who had coaxed her to run for office, blocking a bill that would have steered business to his garbage-hauling firm.

The moniker was revived once again in 2003, when Alaska's governor, whom she would later unseat, appointed her to a state oil-and-gas commission. As a brand-new member, she challenged the ethics of the panel's leader, the chairman of state's Republican Party, forcing him ultimately to resign.

Since long before she became Alaska's youngest -- and first female -- governor 20 months ago, Sarah Louise Heath Palin has been making her mark as an unlikely upstart. Yesterday, she did it again, accepting Sen. John McCain's surprise offer to be his running mate.

Palin, a 44-year-old mother of five who hunts caribou and was once a beauty queen, rose to the statehouse by challenging the corruption that has become endemic in Alaska, even if it meant taking on the Republican establishment there, including the former governor and the state's congressional delegation.

Although her résumé does not fit the mold of most vice presidential nominees, her acts of dissidence appear to have endeared her to McCain, who regards himself as an independent-minded Republican. Her evangelical Christian faith -- she believes in creationism and is adamantly opposed to abortion -- may help him court skeptical social conservatives. And the fact that her eldest son joined the Army and is leaving soon for Iraq reinforces McCain's own military heroism.

McCain's VP choice reassures evangelicals (ERIC GORSKI, 8/30/08, AP)
John McCain's running mate was raised in a Pentecostal church, has called herself "as pro-life as any candidate can be" and already has energized conservative religious leaders who worried the Arizona senator would choose an abortion rights supporter.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is "straight out of veep central casting," said Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religion Liberties Commission. Land said he urged the McCain camp to consider the political unknown.

Gary Bauer, one of McCain's most enthusiastic evangelical supporters, called it a "grand slam home run" that is "guaranteed to energize values voters." [...]

Not only does Palin oppose abortion as a matter of policy, but she chose to give birth to her youngest child, a son, after a prenatal exam indicated Down syndrome. Studies show that about nine in 10 pregnant women who are given a Down syndrome diagnosis have chosen to have an abortion.

"That will resonate in a big way," said Quin Monson, a Brigham Young University professor who studies religion and politics.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, who initially said he could not vote for McCain but has since opened the door to an endorsement, called Palin "an outstanding choice that should be extremely reassuring to the conservative base" of the GOP. Dobson added that the ticket "gives us confidence he will keep his pledges to voters regarding the kinds of justices he would nominate to the Supreme Court."

"It's an absolutely brilliant choice," said Mathew Staver, dean of Liberty University School of Law. "This will absolutely energize McCain's campaign and energize conservatives."

Social conservative is beloved in Alaska (STEVE QUINN AND CALVIN WOODWARD, 8/30/08, Miami Herald)
She brings a strong anti-abortion stance to the ticket and opposes gay marriage -- constitutionally banned in Alaska before her time -- but exercised a veto that essentially granted benefits to gay state employees and their partners.

''She stands up for what's right, and she doesn't let anyone tell her to sit down.'' McCain said in introducing her to an Ohio rally. ``She's exactly who I need.''

Said Palin: ``I didn't get into government to do the safe and easy things. A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not why the ship is built.''

Whereas the Unicorn Rider's entire acceptance speech was a plea to return the American ship of state to harbor and mothball it.
Palin No Pushover on Pipeline Project: The Alaska governor and McCain running mate championed a natural gas pipeline deal that replaced a proposal she had called a giveaway to Big Oil (Christopher Palmeri, 8/30/08, Business Week)

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 30, 2008 7:51 AM
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