Republican National Convention: Women celebrate veep nomination

Published 9:12 am Friday, September 5, 2008

On a monumental day for Republicans, women and Republican women, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin accepted the nomination for vice president Thursday during the Republican National Convention at the Xcel Energy Center.

“I’m proud to declare that the 39th Republican National Convention has nominated Sarah Palin for the office of vice president of the United States,” said Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the U.S. Senate

Palin is the first woman to be on a Republican presidential ticket and the second woman to be nominated for vice president, the first being Democrat Geraldine Ferraro alongside Walter Mondale in 1984.

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“It’s so exciting, and it’s almost overwhelming,” said Dorothy Fleming, the deputy chairwoman of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

Delegates waved signs calling Palin superwoman and wore buttons with Palin’s picture and the words, “The hottest governor from the coolest state.”

Sen. John McCain, during his acceptance speech for presidential nominee, said Palin has executive experience and a record of accomplishments. She tackled energy independence and corruption, cut taxes, balanced a budget, took on special interest and reached across the aisle to ask qualified people to serve in her administration.

“I found just the right partner to help me shake up Washington, D.C., — Gov. Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska,” McCain said. “She knows where she comes from, and she knows who she works for. She stands up for what’s right, and she doesn’t let anyone tell her to sit down.”

He said he is proud to introduce to America the next vice president, but he can’t wait until he introduces her to Washington.

Fleming, of St. Anthony, said McCain found in Palin a representative of women across the country — women who care for their families and live that every day.

Palin represents women whose dedication to their families and their principals is reflected through work in their community, organizations and government that stretches beyond their neighborhoods, Fleming said.

It’s exciting too, she said, to have a role model for mothers and young women today.

“There’s no limitations on their futures,” said Fleming, who has been involved in politics for close to 40 years.

It’s surprising, she said, that the people who talk about women being free to do everything are the same people who have the most objections to Palin for such things as her pro-life stance and membership in the National Rifle Association.

The vice presidential candidate fits in with the interests and values of the Minnesota Boundary Waters “to a T,” according to Duane Quam Jr., chairman of the Minnesota 1st Congressional District Republican Party.

Quam’s friends up north, he said, love the same things as Palin, and “they’re impressed by a woman who can shoot and field dress a moose.”

If there ever was a woman who didn’t let gender preconceptions frame her, it is Palin, Quam, of Byron, said.

“It’s refreshing to have an honest, straightforward politician like Gov. Palin,” he said. “It’s exciting that here in Minnesota we’re making history, and it’s exciting to be a part of history.”

Palin knows pocketbook issues and will put a halt to the pork barrel politics costing taxpayers too much money, Fleming said, making it hard for struggling families.

The vice presidential candidate has given the country “the best example,” according to Fleming.

Palin has endured challenges from media attacks on her own family, but “Sarah has shown that she’s not afraid of tough decisions,” be it about family or corruption, Fleming said.

It’s interesting, she said, that the Republican Party is so excited about a woman candidate, especially when the media paints the party as unwelcome to women in executive positions such as mayor and governor — both positions Palin has held.

“The nomination of Sarah Palin changes all that,” Fleming said. “What John McCain did is he chose the best person for the job, and that person is a woman.”

Cindy McCain, the presidential nominee’s wife, said it takes someone exactly like her husband to lead with a firm hand on the wheel, but “I’ve always thought it’s a good idea to have a woman’s hand on the wheel as well.”

“History will be made tonight and her name is Sarah Palin,” said Utah Gov. John Huntsman.