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Opinion: The first day of the rest of Sarah Palin’s campaign for VP

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ST. PAUL -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican Party’s first-ever female vice presidential nominee, made just one brief public appearance before today’s convention proceedings.

It was a formal statement to reporters during a luncheon where Palin reprised themes of Wednesday night’s speech that drew an immense audience of 37 million: casting herself as a Washington outsider and defending her qualifications. (The Ticket covered her Wednesday speech and supplied its complete text.)

One of her “missions” in the two months ahead, she said, is “bring the experience and the knowledge of a chief executive to the issues in this campaign.”

During a Republican Governor’s Association luncheon at the Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle introduced Palin to reporters gathered in a dimly-lit art gallery as “our fellow CEO of the states all across this nation.”

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“As chief executives, it falls on us to represent all the people and speak for the common interests in our state,” Palin....

...said, describing herself as a “prudent” fiscal steward of Alaska’s tax dollars who was committed to slowing the growth of her state’s government.

“On economic policy, governors are the last line of defense for the taxpayers of our states,” added the 44-year-old nominee and running mate of Republican Sen. John McCain.

Without offering specifics, Palin took credit for “vetoing hundreds of millions of dollars in projects and services that weren’t in the public’s best interest.”

She also touted her familiarity with energy issues, particularly her work on the deal for a planned natural gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope to carry large volumes of gas to the lower 48 states.

“I am thankful for the foundation I have with energy to allow us to become dependent less and less on foreign energy sources, those sources, of course, being controlled in some cases by very dangerous, volatile regimes,” Palin said.

The Alaska Governor also argued that she and her fellow Alaskans had been able to reform their state—noting she’d “worked every day for two years” on “bringing an end to the culture of monopoly and corruption in Juneau.”

“As every reform-minded governor knows -- sudden and relentless reform is not gonna sit well with those who are entrenched and those who are the power brokers,” Palin said.

‘With the support of the citizens, of those who we are representing, you know you can shake it up and you can actually do something. That’s what we did in Alaska, and that’s what we are gonna do around our nation.”

Without mentioning his name, she criticized Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s experience as a state legislator.

“We don’t have a ‘Present’ button [to vote] as governor,” said Palin, referring to Obama’s voting record in the Illinois senate after she implied that governors are more accountable to voters than legislators. “We are expected to lead and take action and not just vote ‘Present.’ There is a big difference between the legislative and executive branch in our experience.”

Palin, who will be out campaigning on her own by Monday, ignored shouted questions from reporters -- answering just one from an Alaskan television reporter who told Palin: ‘We feel like we’re losing you a bit.’

The Alaska governor said she was proud of the ‘positive changes’ she’d brought into her state and wanted to ‘bring that change, that reform to the nation.’

‘This is going to be really good for Alaska also,’ the governor and mother of five maintained. ‘I get to travel across the nation and let people know about our great state and about the people who live there.’

-- Maeve Reston


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