Sarah Palin spoke Wednesday night at the Republican convention. Below is reaction to the speech.
Time magazine's Jay Carney captured the largely positive reaction to the speech:
Two things are clear after Sarah Palin made her do-or-die debut before 20-plus million people tonight. She is amazingly self-confident. And she knows how to nail a speech.
Keith Olbermann remarked that, "People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like." Olbermann added that there was a "lot of sarcasm," "condescension towards Obama."
Chris Matthews noted that Palin and Hillary Clinton "have nothing in common" and that her being chosen has "nothing to do with Hillary Clinton. " Instead, Matthews said, "She is a torpedo aimed directly at the ship of Barack and Michelle Obama." "This is a cultural alternative to Obama. A very direct cultural shot," he added.
Watch the clip:
Politico's Ben Smith felt that she proved herself to be a well composed speaker as well as an effective VP attack dog:
Her speech was well-written, and well delivered, cool and steady in a way that (I'm told) is working on TV as well as in the hall. She was confident but not too confident, sweet and folksy without overdoing it. You've got to figure it bought her some breathing room, and her first good day in a week, though it was short on autobiography for a women who's unknown to most in her audience.
She also showed the traditional key trait of a vice presidential nominee: An ability and willingness to attack, and a light touch on offense.
Andrew Sullivan, who declared the speech "much more partisan" than he was expecting, wrote in his live blog of the speech:
All the buzzwords are there. Elite. Elite. Elite. This is a culture war speech - and she is becoming a symbol of red America. This is what they have to do top win: divide and polarize again. We are half way through, by the way, and we have not heard a single policy proposal.
Time's Joe Klein says Palin gave a brilliant, "classic Republican" speech:
As I predicted earlier today, Sarah Palin did just fine. In fact, she delivered a brilliant speech. It was a classic Republican speech--written by Matthew Scully of the Bush speechwriting shop--chock full of conservative populism, a cultural "torpedo" as Chris Mathews is saying as I write this, aimed directly at Barack and Michelle Obama. She was far more effective, using fewer words than the over-the-top Rudy Giuliani, in tearing down the Obama candidacy. There was not much substance--issues don't matter, remember?--and her description of Obama's policies, particularly his tax policies, was quite inaccurate.
The Obama camp issued a statement in response to the speech:
"The speech that Governor Palin gave was well delivered, but it was written by George Bush's speechwriter and sounds exactly like the same divisive, partisan attacks we've heard from George Bush for the last eight years. If Governor Palin and John McCain want to define 'change' as voting with George Bush 90% of the time, that's their choice, but we don't think the American people are ready to take a 10% chance on change."
The New Republic editor Franklin Foer called the speech "Disrespectful, Angry, and Effective":
Tonight opens the beginning of a sharp, sharp turn. When McCain ran for president this cycle, he made many concessions. He backed down from his investigation of Jack Abramoff to protect Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed; he embraced supply side economics and flip-flopped on immigration. Alas, that was only the beginning of his transformation. Tonight, he presided over an unending stream of raw right-wing populism: attacks on the ivy leaguers and cosmopolitans and media and Washington and elites. Welcome back to Nixonland. To their credit, they were disrespectful and angry with humor, albeit a sophomoric humor. (Giuliani would have done a splendid job at a Dean Martin roast.) But it's clear where they are headed. They will respond to the Democrats' economic populism with cultural populism. Where Obama talked about "One America," they will run in the polarizing mode of Rove and Atwater. In an election where they don't have much of an economic case, this was their best card to play. I have a sinking feeling that it will work and we're in for an ugly eight weeks.
Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, who also found it to be "much more partisan" than expected, also speculated about what it reveals regarding the Republican's strategy going forward:
Take this as a sign that the McCain campaign has abandoned an effort to compete for swing voters and go back to the base energizing strategy that worked for President Bush in 2004. The numbers make that look like a tough proposition. But I think a few months from now, everyone will agree this was a mistake.
The AP notes that in some instances Palin's speech stretched the truth. For example:
PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."
THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."
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