Palin takes center stage at GOP convention
September 4, 2008
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Greeted by thunderous applause, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin presented herself to the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, and millions of Americans watching from home, as a small-town outsider ready to join John McCain’s ticket in waging “a tough fight in this election against confident opponents at a crucial hour for our country.”
“I will be honored to accept the nomination for vice president of the United States,” she said in the convention’s most anticipated speech. The 44-year-old, self-described “hockey mom” still awaits formal nomination for the second spot on the ticket.
With those words, the crowd roared — and the flashes of thousands of cameras reflected off her glasses.
It was the crowning moment of a roller-coaster week in which the first woman ever on a Republican presidential ticket has faced questions about how closely the McCain campaign scrutinized her. She also has heard a wide range of inquiries about family issues, her policy positions and her record of public service.
Palin took crowd-delighting swipes at Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and what she called the “Washington elite.”
“Here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country,” she said.
Selected by McCain last Friday, Palin addressed the convention amid questions about her qualifications and relative lack of experience.
The first-term governor had top billing at the convention on a night delegates also lined up for a noisy roll call of the states to deliver their presidential nomination to McCain.
Watching her from inside the convention hall were members of Palin’s family, including husband Todd, and their children, including 17-year-old Bristol Palin, whom the Palins disclosed earlier in the week was five months pregnant. Bristol Palin’s 18-year-old boyfriend and apparent fiance, Levi Johnston, was seated with them.
McCain shook up the presidential race by picking Palin, a little-known governor less than two years in office. Since then, a bright spotlight has been trained on the life and record of the Republican governor who has bucked the state’s political establishment.
Days after Palin made her debut on the national stage with McCain, the campaign announced her unmarried daughter’s pregnancy. Other disclosures followed, including that a private attorney is authorized to spend $95,000 of state money to defend her against accusations of abuse of power and that Palin sought pork-barrel projects for her city and state, contrary to her reformist image.
“Our family has the same ups and downs as any other … the same challenges and the same joys,” she said.
Noting that the couple’s oldest son, Track, 19, was shipping out to Iraq in eight days with the Army infantry, Palin praised McCain as “a true profile in courage, and people like that are hard to come by.”
“He’s a man who wore the uniform of this country for 22 years, and refused to break faith with those troops in Iraq who have now brought victory within sight. And as the mother of one of those troops, that is exactly the kind of man I want as commander in chief,” she said