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Palin ignites plenty of excitement; and media busy digging the dirtPosted Friday, September 5, 2008, at 2:54 PM
No matter what political party you claim your allegiance to, you've got to admit that hearing and seeing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speak Wednesday night was a pretty big and historic deal.
Palin is the first female to be nominated as a vice presidential candidate on the Grand Old Party (GOP) ticket.
To be real honest, in my view of her first speech on the national front, the lady flat knocked it out of the park for a home run in the Minnesota arena packed by cheering partisan Republican backers.
Her message to the "hometown crowd" wasn't just watched by Republicans.
There were millions of TV viewers across this great land.
More than 40 million people watched as Palin -- the vice presidential candidate -- introduced herself to voters for the first time.
That TV audience rivaled the one for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama a week earlier, The Associated Press reports.
Nielsen Media Research estimated 37.2 million people watched Palin on either ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel or MSNBC. PBS estimated it had four million viewers for the speech.
A week earlier Obama had 38.4 million viewers on the commercial networks, topping 40 million with PBS and C-SPAN added in.
Those are bigger TV audiences than last year's "American Idol" finale or the Academy Awards, AP reported, but far less than last year's upset victory by the New York Giants over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl that attracted 97.5 million viewers.
The numbers show that viewers were far more interested in Palin than Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden. Biden's speech to Democrats last week was seen by an estimated 24 million people.
How many conventions of either party have you ever seen where the speech by the vice presidential candidate was a bigger thing than the talk given by the party's nominee for president?
But then this is a different election year partly because of all the hype and speculation about the 72-year-old age of John McCain, the GOP's presidential pick.
Palin -- the no longer unknown woman from Alaska -- is young, just 44.
She's attractive, intelligent, articulate and witty.
Palin gave a good example of that during her speech when the Republican vice-presidential candidate asked, "Do you know what the difference is between a hockey mom and a pit bull?"
"Lipstick" was her reply.
She's different from the normal run of the mill VP selection and is getting much more attention than normal running mate picks usually get.
She's known as a reformer, even called a "rebel" by some from her own party and a "maverick" by others.
From hearing her Wednesday night I can understand why she attained the nickname "Barracuda" during her high school basketball playing days.
She's pretty tough.
She's not a mainstream Washington-tainted politician and doesn't want to be one of the "boys" who have been doing things the same way for way too long.
The message she delivered was refreshing and clear.
She wasn't applying for membership into the "good old boy's club" in our nation's capital. She wants no part of the Nancy Pelosi-controlled halls of Congress with one of the lowest public approval ratings in history.
She didn't make any apologies for that.
Yes, her speech was political and there was plenty of "red meat" attacks in the words that Palin voiced.
But that's what you expect from any political convention.
As I recall, the Demos lashed out at their own convention with some pretty bloody flesh gnashing barbs of their own at GOP presidential nominee McCain and the Bush administration.
And you've got to like any politician who isn't afraid to take on the national news media when she knows that her disdain is just going to fuel more fact-less attacks and will ignite another character digging expedition.
You can bet hordes of those big city newshounds are dumpster diving all over the Alaskan tundra and in places where Palin has walked, hunted, fished, played basketball, served as a small town mayor and around the capital city where she's been the state's governor in search of dirt.
As a long-time journalist, I find this kind of attack-at-al- costs mentality -- even to family members -- pretty disgusting.
The mainstream media and Internet bloggers are looking to dredge up anything to trash these presidential and vice presidential candidates for anything and everything imaginable.
When they can't find anything they shake mythical skeletons from the closet and run with it.
Because each of the candidates want to serve their country and improve it?
Truth doesn't really matter it seems in these head-hunting ventures.
That's a real shame.
I have to wonder why in the world anyone from either political party would ever want to put their families through this kind of character rape.
It should be interesting for the next nine weeks leading up to the Nov. 4 General Election and I'll be listening.
What do you think?
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