Palin takes on Obama as she accepts ‘fight’ for vice president

September 4th, 2008 - 1:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 4 (IANS) Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s controversial running mate Sarah Palin took a swipe at Barack Obama as she touted her own experience in her first public exposure to American voters.”I accept the challenge of a tough fight,” she said in her speech to the Republican National Convention Wednesday night five days after McCain announced his surprise choice of the 44-year-old mother of five.

“Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves.

“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organiser’, except that you have actual responsibilities,” she said, taking a dig at the Democratic presidential nominee without naming Obama to wild cheers from the partisan audience.

Obama worked as a community organiser in Chicago in the 1980s before attending Harvard Law School. Palin was a two-term mayor in Wasilla, Alaska, a small town of about 5,000 people.

McCain joined Palin and her family on stage at the end of her 36-minute speech as delegates roared in excitement. “Don’t you think we’ve made the right choice for the next vice president of the United States?” he asked. The crowd chanted “Sarah, Sarah” and held signs reading “Palin power” and “Hockey Moms 4 Palin.”

Palin, who has been in the eye of a media storm over disclosures about her unmarried teenage daughter’s pregnancy and a probe into her role in an Alaskan official’s firing, also contrasted McCain with Obama.

“In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change,” she said praising the Republican nominee as a “true profile in courage”.

“I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom and signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids’ public education better,” Palin said, directly addressing media doubts about her qualifications for the second top job in the country.

“I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone,” she said, taking a swing at the press too.

“But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country,” Palin said.

The vice presidential candidate also promised that under McCain Washington would undertake an aggressive programme to deliver new domestic energy.

“We’re going to lay more pipelines … build more nuclear plants … create jobs with clean coal … and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources,” she said. “We need American energy resources, brought to you by American ingenuity, and produced by American workers.”

Earlier, three of McCain’s former rivals for the presidential nomination - former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee - also made critical comments about Obama.

Trying to paint Obama as weak on national security, Huckabee said: “Maybe the most dangerous threat of an Obama presidency is that he would continue to give madmen the benefit of the doubt. If he’s wrong just once, we will pay a heavy price.”

Romney took a swipe at Obama’s spouse Michelle without naming her: “Just like you, there has never been a day when I was not proud to be an American. We inherited the greatest nation in the history of the earth.”

Palin might have won the day at the Republican convention, but liberal media continued to question McCain’s judgement in choosing her just days after hailing the decision as an inspired choice that had energised the Republican campaign.

“If John McCain wants voters to conclude, as he argues, that he has more independence and experience and better judgement than Barack Obama, he made a bad start by choosing Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska,” said the New York Times in an editorial.

Questions abound about Palin, said the Washington Post, suggesting she “make herself available to answer reporters’ questions, through news conferences, day-to-day interactions and sustained interviews” in the remaining 62 days of the campaign.

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