Republicans, led by their expected presidential nominee, took to the airwaves Sunday to defend the credentials of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the first-term governor of Alaska and the surprise choice to run for vice president.
While Palin campaigned with Sen. John McCain, Republican politicians, including those passed over for the vice-presidential spot, appeared on the Sunday news talk shows to discuss Palin, an unknown in national politics until just days ago.
“I’d say that John McCain made a bold choice here,” Sen. Joe Lieberman said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut who caucuses with Democrats, was on McCain’s list of vice president possibles.
Lieberman, who frequently has traveled with McCain during the campaign, said Palin has a history of taking on lobbyists, a record shared by the Arizona senator.
“In Governor Palin, John has found a maverick who’s done exactly the same thing at the state level that he’s done at the federal level,” Lieberman said. “So I think what Senator McCain is saying with this choice is, we’re serious about shaking up the status quo in Washington.”
In an interview taped Saturday and aired on “Fox News Sunday,” McCain lauded his choice. “She’s a partner and a soul mate. She’s a reformer,” McCain said. “I don’t particularly enjoy the label ‘maverick,’ but when somebody takes on the old bulls in her own party, runs against an incumbent governor of her own party, stands up against the oil and gas interests, I mean, they really are so vital to the economy of her — of the state of Alaska — I mean, it’s remarkable. It’s a remarkable person.”
Anchor Chris Wallace noted that McCain has criticized Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama for lacking foreign-policy experience and that Palin, as a governor, has had even less.
McCain insisted there was a difference.
“She has got the right judgment,” McCain said. “She doesn’t think, like Senator Obama does, that Iran is a minor irritant. … She has been commander in chief of the Alaska Guard. … In fact, as you know, she has got a son who is getting ready to go” to Iraq.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who also was among those on McCain’s shortlist, also cited Palin’s experience with the Alaska National Guard in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“She’s functioned as a governor, she’s the commander in chief of a National Guard, she’s a former mayor, she’s the former chair of an energy commission in Alaska, which is one of the more high-profile issues and operations in Alaska,” Pawlenty said.
“She’s deeply involved in the energy issues, which is really one of the foremost national-security issues we have in our country in terms of its connection to transference of wealth to places like the Middle East and Russia and Venezuela.”
McCain’s wife, Cindy, said her husband’s selection of Palin was “a marvelous choice.”
“They’re a perfect match,” she told ABC’s “This Week” in a taped interview. “Because she’s a reformer. And she thinks outside the box, the way my husband does.”