McCain chooses Sarah Palin as running mate

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Washington, Aug 30: Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain astonished the political world on Friday, Aug 29 by naming Sarah Palin, a little-known governor of Alaska with almost no foreign policy experience, as his running mate on the Republican presidential ticket. This has invoked quite a lot of criticism in the political circles.

According to NewYork Times, it proved McCain to be 'daring, hazardous and defiantly off-message'", and 'demonstrated that he would not get boxed in by convention as he sought to put a woman next in line to the presidency for the first time'. The paper further quoted Ed Rogers, a Republican lobbyist and former aide to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, as saying that "McCain had to protect his reputation as an opponent of status quo Washington. He had to pick someone with the shortest Washington resume. He did that. He picked someone the right wing is going to be happy about. But it's a gamble."

"The question is, what does it do to the argument that Obama's not ready?" he added.

The question is particularly acute for McCain, who turned 72 on Friday and would be the oldest person to assume the presidency if he won in November.

The NYT says that his campaign now needs to convince the public that it can imagine in the Oval Office a candidate who has spent just two years as governor of a state with a quarter of the population of Brooklyn.

Know Sarah Palin better

But Palin, 44, brings clear assets to the ticket. She has instantly bolstered McCain's wobbly conservative base, which rejoiced over the selection of an anti-abortion evangelical Christian. Her reputation as a reformer who took on her state party over corruption and wasteful spending could reinforce McCain's own maverick appeal.

Her personal narrative as a working mother raising five children, including an infant with Down syndrome, with a husband who belongs to a union, might prove attractive to working-class voters in swing states who have been suspicious of Obama. And her presence on the ticket will allow Republicans to argue that Obama would not be the only one to break barriers if elected.

"He's chosen a Washington outsider who will be an ally for him in shaking up the way things are done. This is someone with solid conservative credentials but solid credentials as a reformer. And it's clear after watching today's event, no one is going to push Sarah Palin around - not Barack Obama and not Joe Biden," claimed," said Ron Nehring, chairman of the California Republican Party.

Palin's selection, according to the paper offers clues to how McCain would govern: holding deliberations to a tight circle of advisers, looking beyond the obvious options, taking risks and relishing surprise.

Palin has been a rising star on the right since she beat an incumbent governor in a Republican primary in 2006 and then a former Democratic governor in the general election. With an approval rating around 80 percent, she is among the most popular governors. But her success has come on a small stage.

Democratic strategists compared her selection to those of Geraldine A. Ferraro in 1984 or Dan Quayle in 1988, suggesting that the decision reflected McCain's desperation.


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