Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who is poised to
become only the second woman ever nominated to run for vice president of the
United States, assured delegates to the Republican National convention that she
has the experience and credentials for the job. The highly anticipated speech
was greeted with rousing applause from delegates who have expressed strong
support for her, despite questions about her abilities and qualifications. VOA's
Dan Robinson reports from St. Paul, Minnesota, where the convention winds up
Thursday with a speech by Republican presidental nominee John McCain.
The Alaska governor was little
known before Senator McCain announced less than a week ago that he had chosen
her as his running mate, and, within days, revelations about her family and
questions about decisions she made as governor intensified the focus on her
convention speech. Palin had to win over those skeptical about her abilities, as
she formally introduced herself to the nation, and judging by the applause she
received, she succeeded among the Republicans present.
life as a devoted mother, and her rise to mayor of a small Alaska town and now
governor, Palin challenged those who question her experience to compare it to
that of Democratic Presidential candidate, Barack Obama, who was a community
organizer in the city of Chicago before he was elected to the state legislature
and then to the U.S. Senate.
"Before I became governor of the great
state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this
presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to
them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a
'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities," she said.
She also launched a direct attack on the Obama campaign's theme of
change, as she addressed the choice Americans face when they go to the polls in
"Here's how I look at the choice Americans face in this
election. In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their
careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to
promote change," she said.
Palin is only the
second woman ever named to a major party ticket, and the first for Republicans.
Geraldine Ferrarro was the Democratic candidate in 1984. Palin is a staunch
social conservative, and as she put it, not a member of the permanent political
establishment, who could boost Republican chances against Barack Obama.
Revelations in recent days about her unwed pregnant daughter, and an
ethics investigation in her home state, have nearly dominated headlines, but
Palin appeared undaunted as she outlined what she and McCain would do, if
In her address, Palin spoke confidently on international
issues, and said she would help fight to end U.S. Reliance on Middle Eastern
"With Russia wanting to control a vital pipeline in the Caucasus,
and to divide and intimidate our European allies by using energy as a weapon, we
cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers. To confront the threat
that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of world energy supplies, or that
terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia, or that
Venezuela might shut off its oil deliveries, we Americans need to produce more
of our own oil and gas."
Among the speakers at the convention Wednesday
were well-known Republicans, who challenged McCain for the Republican nomination
in the campaign.
Describing the 2008 election as a "choice
between substance and style," former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani described
McCain as an American war hero, tested time and again in crisis, and he offered
this view of Senator Obama. "He's never had to lead people in a crisis. He is
the least experienced candidate for President of the United States in the last
100 years. [This is] not a personal attack, [just] a statement of fact. Barack
Obama has never led anything. Nothing. Nada. Nothing," he said.
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said a McCain-Palin victory in November would
bring conservatism back to Washington. "We need change all right - change from a
liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for
every American who wants change in Washington - throw out the big government
liberals and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin."
Senator McCain arrived
in St. Paul earlier in the day, preparing for his acceptance speech Thursday
night, and made a surprise appearance on stage after Palin finished speaking to