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October 5, 2008 - Ray Hall (Archive)
I watched the Vice Presidential Debate to see and hear Governor Sara Palin. I had a good idea how Senator Biden would equip himself. Few can match the erudite Senator from Delaware on Foreign Affairs and the Judiciary. He has chaired both committees in the Senate and has attempted to get his party’s nomination for President twice. His performance was predictable. Although he had been emphatic in his refusal to accept the second spot when he was a presidential candidate there he was debating as a vice Presidential candidate. People say the vice presidency is like the last cookie on the plate. Nobody ever wants it, but somebody always takes it.

On the Republican side, Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn) was Senator McCain’s first choice for a running mate, but there was no way Republicans, especially conservatives, could stomach having a Democrat on the ticket. In what many saw as an attempt to revive his flagging campaign John McCain selected the little known Governor of Alaska as his running mate. According to Sara Palin, she accepted the offer immediately and without giving it any thought. It became a Cinderella moment for Sara Palin.

Governor Palin’s acceptance speech eased the fears of conservative detractors of McCain and invigorated the Republican base, but the exhilaration was short lived. Conservatives who had lingering memories of Harriet Miers were horrified when Sara Palin appeared one on one in interviews with ABC’s Charles Gibson and CBS’s Katie Couric. All she and the McCain campaign could do was to blame the “gotcha” media. Palin was immediately whisked to one of McCain’s homes in Arizona where she was coached for several days in preparation for the debate.

As I watched the debate I was reminded that the Alaskan Governor who must have been humiliated by her previous press encounters was caught up in the thrill of the moment. She overcame her personal blunders with winks and giggles and likened herself to the common woman and man—just a Hockey Mom, a Joe Six Pack she said. But it was when Gwen Ifel asked both candidates if they would continue their Presidents’ policy in case either died in office that I saw Sara Palin with different eyes.

Instead of the moose gutting, snow machine riding, flying Governor representing a state with fewer inhabitants than Congressman Brian Higgins’s Congressional District that covers part of Erie County and all of Chautauqua County, I saw a different Sara Palin. For the first time in this campaign I saw Sara Palin as the Leader Of The Free World and I was frightened by the thought.

John McCain could not have had his country in mind when he picked Governor Palin as his running mate—he chose campaign over country. Governor Palin lacks the understanding, intellect and experience to inherit the leadership of the free world.

Do we really want her finger on the nuclear triggers?


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Joe Biden and Sara Palin shake hands at the beginning of the debate.