McCain's VP pick is "future of the party"
Republican John McCain introduced first-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate Friday. "She's exactly who I need. She's exactly who this...
The Associated Press
DAYTON, Ohio — Republican John McCain introduced first-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate Friday.
"She's exactly who I need. She's exactly who this country needs to help me fight the same old Washington politics of 'Me first and country second,' " McCain said as the pair stood together for the first time at a boisterous rally in the Dayton suburb of Fairborn days before the opening of the party's national convention.
Palin, 44, the first Republican woman on a presidential ticket, promised: "I'm going to take our campaign to every part of our country and our message of reform to every voter of every background in every political party, or no party at all."
McCain made his selection six days after his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, named Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware as his No. 2 on the ticket.
The contrast between the two announcements was remarkable — Obama, 47, picked a 65-year-old running mate with long experience in government and a man he said was qualified to be president.
The timing of McCain's selection appeared designed to limit political gain Obama derives from his convention, which ended Thursday night with his nominating acceptance speech before an estimated 84,000 in Invesco Field in Denver.
McCain settled on Palin six months after first meeting the governor and after only one phone call between them last Sunday and a meeting Thursday, according to a timeline provided by his campaign.
Obama's spokesman fired off a fast criticism of McCain's new running mate Friday, but the Democratic candidate himself quickly stepped in to offer her congratulations and praise.
Obama blamed the mixed messages on campaign aides with a "hair trigger." He and Biden followed up with congratulatory phone calls to Palin.
The initial Obama campaign statement, from spokesman Bill Burton, called Palin an abortion-rights opponent and "the former mayor of a [small] town ... with zero foreign-policy experience."
An Obama campaign spokeswoman soon issued another statement, saying, "Her selection is yet another encouraging sign that old barriers are falling in our politics."
Obama later called Palin's selection "one more indicator of this country moving forward."
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who came so close to being the first major party woman presidential candidate, said: "We should all be proud of Gov. Sarah Palin's historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Sen. McCain. While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Gov. Palin will add an important new voice to the debate."
Asked why McCain chose Palin, his campaign manager Rick Davis said, "Part of it is personal fit."
"He sees Sarah, Governor Palin, as the future of the party," he added. "These are people he'd like to elevate in that regard, reformers."
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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