Last night’s bombshell by the Washington Post’s Dan Balz: “Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was not subjected to a lengthy in-person background interview with the head Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential vetting team until last Wednesday in Arizona, the day before McCain asked her to be his running mate, and she did not disclose the fact that her 17-year-old daughter was pregnant until that meeting, two knowledgeable McCain officials acknowledged Tuesday.”

The Atlantic’s Josh Green writes about how Republicans could replace Palin on the ticket. “At any point before [tonight], McCain could simply replace Palin. But once she formally accepts her nomination, he’ll no longer have the power to do so unilaterally. According to Ben Ginsberg, the former general council at the Republican National Committee, Republican rules stipulate that the 168 members of the national committee would need to ratify any replacement to make it official.”

Salon’s Mike Madden looks at some of the more interesting GOP responses given to questions about Palin’s experience. “If you ask McCain's team, the skepticism about Palin's experience is totally unwarranted. ‘She's more qualified than Obama,’ senior advisor Mark Salter told Salon, citing her 13 years in elected office (including her time on the Wasilla, Ala., city council). ‘He has no business being president.’ Campaign aides seem unwilling to drop the line that Palin's command of the Alaska National Guard gives her an important credential, even though it sometimes sounds a little silly coming from Republican loyalists. ‘She's run her own military,’ said Joseph LeBlanc, 82, a delegate from Mountain Home, Ark. ‘Alaska is the biggest land [area] state,’ said Betty Kiene, an alternate from Piedmont, Okla. ‘Her neighbors are Canada and Russia, which means she's dealt with international problems.’”

"McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has asked the state's personnel board to review allegations that she improperly ordered the firing of the former public safety commissioner. … The new filing was accompanied by a 13-page accounting of Palin's version of the events, denying any abuse of power. Palin's attorney has long contended that the investigation belonged in the personnel system and not the legislature."

Here’s another piece on the earmarks Palin obtained, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times: “For much of his long career in Washington, John McCain has been throwing darts at the special spending system known as earmarking, through which powerful members of Congress can deliver federal cash for pet projects back home with little or no public scrutiny. He's even gone so far as to publish ‘pork lists’ detailing these financial favors.”

But: “Three times in recent years, McCain's catalogs of ‘objectionable’ spending have included earmarks for this small Alaska town, requested by its mayor at the time -- Sarah Palin. Now, McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, has chosen Palin as his running mate, touting her as a reformer just like him.”

"McCain's campaign hoped that the five days between the introduction of Sarah Palin as his running mate and her high-stakes speech tonight to the Republican National Convention would let it weave a narrative about the Alaska governor as a kindred maverick reformer who shares McCain's disdain for pork barrel projects and political corruption. But almost from the moment of her unveiling, one report after another has deconstructed that story line. Instead, voters are seeing reports that have questioned whether she really opposed the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" as she claimed, whether she abused her office's power in firing a state official, and why she hired a lobbying firm to land nearly $27 million in federal projects while she was mayor of Wasilla.

"These issues, going to the heart of her reputation as a reformer, are being raised as the campaign continued to deal with Monday's disclosure that Palin's 17-year-old unmarried daughter is five months pregnant. The issues have spurred questions about whether Palin's record and background were fully reviewed before she was put on the ticket."

Maureen Dowd has a scathing column on Palin and McCain. “When McCain gets in trouble, he pulls out the P.O.W. card. Now Republicans are pulling out the sexist card. Hillary cried sexism to cover up her incompetent management of her campaign, and now Republicans have picked up that trick. But when you use sexism as an across-the-board shield for any legitimate question, you only hurt women. And that’s just another splash of reality.”

So does Tom Friedman. Going into this election, I thought that - for the first time - we would have a choice between two ‘green’ candidates. That view is no longer operative… With his choice of Sarah Palin - the Alaska governor who has advocated drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and does not believe mankind is playing any role in climate change - for vice president, John McCain has completed his makeover from the greenest Republican to run for president to just another representative of big oil.”

The New York Times profiles Palin’s original bid for mayor. “The world arrived here more than a century ago with the gold rush and later the railroad. Yet one aspect of American life did not come to town until 1996, the year Sarah Palin ran for mayor and Wasilla got its first local lesson in wedge politics. The traditional turning points that had decided municipal elections in this town of less than 7,000 people - Should we pave the dirt roads? Put in sewers? Which candidate is your hunting buddy? - seemed all but obsolete the year Ms. Palin, then 32, challenged the three-term incumbent, John C. Stein. Anti-abortion fliers circulated. Ms. Palin played up her church work and her membership in the National Rifle Association. The state Republican Party, never involved before because city elections are nonpartisan, ran advertisements on Ms. Palin’s behalf.”

The Boston Globe went to Palin's home town: "As Palin prepares to accept the Republican nomination for vice president tonight, in a speech that will mark her sudden ascent to national fame, neighbors in her Alaskan town are responding with a mix of pride, amazement, and, in some cases, trepidation."


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