McCain picks Palin as surprise VP
Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:50pm EDT
By Jeff Mason
DAYTON, Ohio (Reuters) – Republican John McCain made a surprise choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate on Friday, adding a political unknown to the presidential ticket who could help him appeal to women voters.
Palin, 44, a self-described “hockey mom,” is a conservative first-term governor of Alaska with strong anti-abortion views, a record of reform and fiscal conservatism and an outsider’s perspective on Washington.
“She’s exactly who I need. She’s exactly who this country needs to help me fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second,” McCain told a roaring crowd of 15,000 supporters in Dayton, Ohio.
Palin was chosen over more experienced and better known contenders as the Arizona senator grabbed the spotlight from Democratic rival Barack Obama one day after Obama accepted his party’s presidential nomination before 75,000 flag-waving supporters at Denver’s football stadium.
“The mission is clear. The next 67 days, I’m going to take our campaign to every part of our country and our message of reform to every voter of every background in every political party or no party at all,” said Palin, joined on stage by her husband and family. She has five children ranging in age from 18 years to 5 months.
McCain and Palin will face Obama and his No. 2, Joe Biden, in the November 4 presidential election, with polls showing them running neck-and-neck.
The pick followed days of speculation about McCain’s choice, with most of the better-known contenders like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty eliminated over the last 24 hours.
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