Palin accepts veep nomination, blasts Democrats

When Republican presidential hopeful John McCain presented her as his vice presidential running mate August 29, many in the nation wondered, “Sarah who?”

When Republican presidential hopeful John McCain presented her as his vice presidential running mate August 29, many in the nation wondered, “Sarah who?” But after the Alaskan governor’s acceptance speech Wednesday night, the question of who the mother of five, lifetime National Rifle Association member and former small town mayor is may have been answered. Like the maverick she has been called, Sarah Palin addressed the Republican National Convention, being held this week in St. Paul, Minn., and took jab after jab at Democrats and distinguished herself from the Republican status quo after officially accepting the vice presidential nomination. “I accept the challenge of a tough fight in this election, against confident opponents, at a crucial hour for our country,” Palin said. While introducing her family–two sons and three daughters, including an infant son with Down syndrome and a husband who is a champion snow machine racer–and speaking of her parents, Palin took a smack at potential Democratic first lady Michelle Obama’s controversial patriotism comments. “They love their country, in good times and bad…” the first-term governor said of her parents and the small town people she grew up with. “And they’re always proud of America.” She evoked a fighting spirit as she talked about how she took on the oil industry in her home state and rejected special interests–and even some federal government–money there. She explained how she cut costs and worked to curtail pork spending in the state, shunning a private governor’s jet and putting it up for auction. “The luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay,” she said to roaring applause. Palin took credit for bringing a $40 billion natural gas pipeline to North America “to help lead America to energy independence.” She was firm, that as head of the state, Alaska was faring well. “Our state budget is under control. We have a surplus,” she said. “And I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending,” the governor, first elected in 2006, said. She was clear that, as a politician, she was not part of the establishment, wearing the “hockey mom” moniker with pride. The crowd raised homemade signs of “Hockey Moms 4 Palin” as she spoke. She joked that the only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull was lipstick. But her attacks on the Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama were candid and forthright. Even as a woman most had never heard of, her credentials as a mayor and governor notwithstanding, Palin claimed to be more prepared for the vice presidency than Obama, a prominent Illinois politician and freshman U.S. senator, was prepared to be president. “This is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single piece of legislation,” Palin said. She often referred to Obama, the nation’s first Black major party presidential nominee, as a mere community organizer with limited governance experience. “I guess a small town mayor is sort of like a community organizer except that you have actual responsibilities,” she said, taking aim at Obama’s early days in Chicago when he advocated for families left jobless after steel mills closed. In comparison, Palin served as mayor of the small Alaskan city of Wasilla. Republican Party leaders praised Palin’s speech, saying she scored for the team. Democrats immediately went on the defensive, associating McCain–and now Palin–with what they called failed Bush initiatives. “We still haven’t gotten a single idea during the entire Republican convention about the economy and how to lift a middle class so harmed by the Bush-McCain policies,” Obama’s campaign mananger, David Plouffe, said. “It’s now clear that John McCain’s campaign has decided that desperate lies and personal attacks–on Barack Obama and on (the American people)–are the only way they can earn a third term for the Bush policies that McCain has supported more than 90 percent of the time.” Tonight, John McCain makes his speech, accepting the party’s presidential nomination, during closing night of the convention. McCain and Palin face Obama and Delaware Sen. Joe Biden in the Nov. 4 election. ______ Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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