Speculation regarding who Sen. John McCain would pick for his vice presidential candidate ended earlier today when he tabbed Alaska’s Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate.
In a shocking move, McCain passed over high-profile GOP names such as Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. In the end, McCain picked the 44-year-old Palin who is still in her first term as governor.
Rumors over who the vice presidential pick would be and whether or not they would be travelling to Dayton, Ohio to appear with McCain sent news outlets and the blogosphere into a frenzy just a day before. An ABC News report that cited a Palin aide who said Palin was not making the trip to Dayton turned out to be a red herring. The secrecy of the pick had media scouring for any gossip or news, which outshadowed Obama’s moving speech last night at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
The Republican Party has praised Palin immensely over her clean-government platform and her work in reducing needless government spending. After an upset victory in the 2006 Alakan gubernatorial election, she proceeded to promptly slashed earmark spending and pork-barrel projects for the state.
A survey published by Hays Research last month shows her approval rating at 80%, which is partly due to her humanized image that connects with Alaskans. Palin is known to hunt, fish, and eat mooseburgers.
John McCain publicly introduced Palin at a rally in Dayton, Ohio to a crowd of 15,000 supporters. In a statement, McCain called Palin a “tough executive” who “has brought Republicans and Democrats together within her Administration and has a record of delivering on the change and reform that we need in Washington.”
While Palin agrees with most of McCain’s stances on issues, Palin strongly supports drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), which McCain opposes. Palin also has praised parts of Obama’s energy plan that include completing the Alaskan national gas pipeline and 1,000 rebates for families in an energy-bill crunch.
Palin is the second female major-party candidate for Vice President. Geraldine Ferraro was the first, running as Walter Mondale’s second-in-command in 1984.