McCain taps Alaska governor for VP
Republican John McCain introduced first-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate Friday, a stunning selection of a little-known conservative newcomer who relishes fighting the establishment.
“She’s exactly who I need. She’s exactly who this country needs to help me fight the same old Washington politics of ‘Me first and country second,’ ” McCain declared as the pair stood together for the first time at a boisterous rally in Ohio just days before the opening of the party’s national convention.
Palin, the first Republican woman on a presidential ticket, promised: “I’m going to take our campaign to every part of our country and our message of reform to every voter of every background in every political party, or no party at all.”
Some background on Gov. Palin:
Palin holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Idaho where she also minored in politics.
Her husband, Todd, is a Native Yup’ik Eskimo. Outside the fishing season, Todd works for BP at an oil field on Alaska’s North Slope and is a champion snowmobiler, winning the 2000-mile “Iron Dog” race four times. The two eloped shortly after Palin graduated from college; when they learned they needed witnesses for the civil ceremony, they recruited two residents from the old-age home down the street. The Palin family lives in Wasilla, about 40 miles (64 km) north of Anchorage.
She briefly worked as a sports reporter for local Anchorage television stations while also working as a commercial fisherman with her husband, Todd, her high school sweetheart. One summer when she was working on Todd’s fishing boat, the boat collided with a tender while she was holding onto the railing; Palin broke several fingers.
On September 11, 2007, the Palins’ eighteen-year-old son Track, eldest of five, joined the Army. He now serves in an infantry brigade and will be deployed to Iraq in September 2008. She also has three daughters: Bristol, 17; Willow, 13; and Piper, 7. On April 18, 2008, Palin gave birth to her second son, Trig Paxson Van Palin, who has Down syndrome. She returned to the office three days after giving birth. Palin refused to let the results of prenatal genetic testing change her decision to have the baby. “I’m looking at him right now, and I see perfection,” Palin said. “Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?”
Details of Palin’s personal life have contributed to her political image. She hunts, eats moose hamburger, ice fishes, rides snowmobiles, and owns a float plane. Palin holds a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association. She admits that she used marijuana when it was legal in Alaska, but says that she did not like it.
Pre-gubernatorial political experience
Palin served two terms on the Wasilla City Council from 1992 to 1996. In 1996, she challenged the incumbent mayor, criticizing wasteful spending and high taxes. The ex-mayor and sheriff tried to organize a recall campaign, but failed. Palin kept her campaign promises, reducing her own salary, as well as reducing property taxes by 60%. She ran for reelection against the former mayor in 1999, winning by an even larger margin. Palin was also elected president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors.
In 2002, Palin made an unsuccessful bid for Lieutenant Governor, coming in second to Loren Leman in a four-way race. After Frank Murkowski resigned from his long-held U.S. Senate seat in mid-term to become governor, Palin interviewed to be his possible successor. Instead, Murkowski appointed his daughter, then-Alaska State Representative Lisa Murkowski.
Governor Murkowski appointed Palin Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, where she served from 2003 to 2004 until resigning in protest over what she called the “lack of ethics” of fellow Alaskan Republican leaders, who ignored her whistleblowing complaints of legal violations and conflicts of interest. After she resigned, she exposed the state Republican party’s chairman, Randy Ruedrich, one of her fellow Oil & Gas commissioners, who was accused of doing work for the party on public time, and supplying a lobbyist with a sensitive e-mail. Palin filed formal complaints against both Ruedrich and former Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes, who both resigned; Ruedrich paid a record $12,000 fine.
In 2006, Palin, running on a clean-government campaign, executed an upset victory over then-Gov. Murkowski in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Despite the lack of support from party leaders and being outspent by her Democratic opponent, she went on to win the general election in November 2006, defeating former Governor Tony Knowles. Palin said in 2006 that education, public safety, and transportation would be three cornerstones of her administration.
When elected, Palin became the first woman to be Alaska’s governor, and the youngest governor in Alaskan history at 42 years old upon taking office. Palin was also the first Alaskan governor born after Alaska achieved U.S. statehood. She was also the first Alaskan governor not to be inaugurated in Juneau, instead choosing to hold her inauguration ceremony in Fairbanks. She took office on December 4, 2006.
Highlights of Governor Palin’s tenure include a successful push for an ethics bill, and also shelving pork-barrel projects supported by fellow Republicans. Palin successfully killed the Bridge to Nowhere project that had become a nationwide symbol of wasteful earmark spending. “Alaska needs to be self-sufficient, she says, instead of relying heavily on ‘federal dollars,’ as the state does today.”
She has challenged the state’s Republican leaders, helping to launch a campaign by Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell to unseat U.S. Congressman Don Young and publicly challenging Senator Ted Stevens to come clean about the federal investigation into his financial dealings.
In 2007, Palin had an approval rating often in the 90s. A poll published by Hays Research on July 28, 2008 showed Palin’s approval rating at 80%.
Sarah Palin looks to be a smart, strong, independent, take-no-bullshit kind of gal.
Already the leftards are in convulsions.
The unhinged nutroot at this site is ranting about the possibility of disaffected Hillary voters going to McCain, and vomiting, in between calling Cindy McCain a “painted trollop cunt wife”.
The more “mainstream” commentators like leftist hack Andrew Sullivan, laments that McCain is “willing to let personal liking and respect for utterly unqualified people trump the sober responsibilities of running a country at war…”
Uh, tell me Andrew, what kind of experience does Obama have? Besides cavorting with and accumulating ‘friends’ diametrically opposed to America and its people? Palin has more duties, responsibilities, and pressure as governor than Obama or any of his colleagues, who hide behind a collective voting bloc without individual responsibility, Biden included.
The folks at And Still I Persist make this point:
I see that the Left and the MSM (but I repeat myself…) have already started the “no experience” drumbeat on Palin, which is going to backfire. Obama has been a Senator for four years and has no executive experience (unless he really wants to bring up the Bill Ayers connection again); Biden has likewise been a legislator pretty much all his life. Palin has served both on a local government level (something she can point to as a plus, given Obama’s rhetoric last night about being a community activist) and for two years as governor of not only the largest state (geographically), but the only state that borders two foreign countries — one of which is Russia, fer cryin’ out loud. Tell me how much either Obama or Biden have had to deal with Russia on a government-to-government basis.
I love Palin’s reply:
“I admit, someone with only two years of experience in a top elected position isn’t ready for President. But I’m not running for President. Barack Obama is.”
Hat Tip to Ace of Spades:
I can hardly wait to see Palin rip Biden to shreads during the debates.