Republican presidential nominee John McCain raised many a bipartisan eyebrow Friday, when he named little-known Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his candidate for vice president. Calling Palin “the running mate who can best help me shake up Washington,” McCain made the announcement before a huge throng of conservative supporters in Dayton, Ohio. “She’s exactly who this country needs to help me fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second,” McCain told the crowd. “She’s got the grit, integrity, good sense and fierce devotion to the common good that is exactly what we need in Washington today.”
The 44-year-old Palin bases her political efforts on the ideal of reform, something she says fueled her transition from unassuming caregiver to hard-nosed politician. “I was just your average hockey mom in Alaska before getting involved in politics,” the mother of five told CNN. “When I found corruption there, I fought hard and brought the offenders to account.”
Palin is the second woman to be nomiated for vice president on a major ticket. Democrat Geraldine Ferraro became the first when she was selected to run alonside Ronald Reagan’s opponent, Walter Mondale, in 1984. Palin is the first-ever woman to receive the VP nomination for the Republican party.
Friday’s announcement has been deemed a strategic move on the part of McCain and the Republican Party designed to garner the confidence of female voters who may be reluctant to support Barack Obama after the Illinois senator defeated Senator Hillary Clinton for the Democartic presidential nomination. In her acceptance speech, Palin acknowledged the impact Clinton has had on American women and said she looks forward to getting the chance to continue to forge the efforts of the former First Lady. “Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But it turns out the women in America aren’t finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.”
The nation’s two most noteworthy Democrats both shared appreciation for the historical significance of McCain’s choice, but senators Obama and Clinton noted that the McCain-Palin ticket is poised to do more harm to the country than good.
“Ulitmately John McCain is at the top of the ticket. As I indicated in my speech last night, I think that he wants to take the country in the wrong direction,” Obama said. “I’m assuming Gov. Palin agrees with him in his policies.”