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Low Key GOP Convention So Far; Pam Cook Speaks to Mark Curtis in St. Paul

(St. Paul, Minnesota)

The GOP Convention hall is largely silent today. Mark Curtis reports "live" from St. Paul on the impact of Gustav on the Republican National Convention.

GOP Convention Opens Quietly; Palin VP Choice is Talk of the Town

McCain Palin Photo.jpg

(St. Paul, Minnesota)

Low key does not even begin to describe the Republican National Convention which kicks off today in St. Paul. With Hurricane Gustav stealing the convention’s thunder (not to mention much of the media attention), there are still a lot of people talking politics here.

With many of the major speeches now cancelled (including President Bush, Vice-President Cheney and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger), people are continuing to talk about John McCain’s surprise running mate pick, Gov. Sarah Palin, (D-AK).

Longtime California Democratic Committeeman Bob Mulholland was shocked. “We ought to have a Vice-president who is ready to be President, rather than making a political decision, or one about gender,” Mulholland said. He believes the notion of McCain trying to pick up disgruntled female voters from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, is cynical at best.

The problem for the Democrats may be that Palin’s nomination catches on. If she only captures ten percent of Hillary Clinton’s supporters, that’s almost two million votes, and enough to swing a close election. So far Palin has avoided the “deer in the headlights” persona that plagued Dan Quayle in 1988, even though Quayle was elected. Palin is a telegenic former TV sportscaster, who is not a wallflower in front of the camera. As a blue-collar mother of five, she could have wide appeal in Midwest swing states such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio.

Other states where the polling is extremely close could be swayed as well. Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer addressed the Palin selection before his state’s large convention delegation. “Was she not a great pick ladies and gentleman?” The room erupted in thunderous applause.

Obviously Palin is still an unknown quantity. Democrats like Bob Mulholland of California have tried to link her to GOP corruption scandals in Alaska involving Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young. “They are her friends,” he said.

The problem is, that does not appear to be true! Palin has already attacked many of those same Republicans. She rejected Steven’s pork-barrel “bridge to nowhere”; she recruited another Republican to take on Young in the Congressional primary; and she ran against incumbent Republican Governor Frank Murkowski (who appointed his own daughter to the U.S. Senate in a blatant act of nepotism), and Palin knocked the governor from office. That’s why she has appeal as a maverick, and outsider and a reformer. So, look out!

Much of her fate may lie with the Vice-presidential debate in St. Louis on October 2 where she’ll face off against 36 year senate veteran Joe Biden, an expert on foreign policy. If she falters badly in that forum, her chances may ride out to sea like a fading hurricane. If she succeeds, she may hit the Democrats with the force of Gustav.

I’ll have updates throughout the days ahead. Check in at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

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