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More reaction to the Palin pick

— Per a new USA Today/Gallup poll,
51% say they have never heard of Sarah Palin, while 22% have a
favorable impression of her and 7% have a negative one. "There is also
wide uncertainty about whether she's qualified to be president. In the
poll, taken Friday, 39% say she is ready to serve as president if
needed, 33% say she isn't, and 29% have no opinion. That's the lowest
vote of confidence in a running mate since the elder George Bush chose
then-Indiana senator Dan Quayle to join his ticket in 1988. In
comparison, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden was seen as qualified by 57%-18%
after Democrat Barack Obama chose him as a running mate last week."

That said, the Palin pick has "electrified conservative activists," the Politico's Martin
writes. "By tapping the anti-abortion and pro-gun Alaska governor just
ahead of his convention, which is set to start here Monday, McCain
hasn't just won approval from a skeptical Republican base -- he's
ignited a wave of elation and emotion that has led some grassroots
activists to weep with joy."

Maureen Dowd
writes, "The legacy of Geraldine Ferraro was supposed to be that no one
would ever go on a blind date with history again. But that crazy
maverick and gambler McCain does it, and conservatives and evangelicals
rally around him in admiration of his refreshingly cynical choice of
Sarah, an evangelical Protestant and anti-abortion crusader who became
a hero when she decided to have her baby, who has Down syndrome, and
when she urged schools to debate creationism as well as that stuffy old
evolution thing."

The New York Times
notes that McCain's choice of Palin has forced both campaigns to
recalibrate their messages and electoral strategies. "Mr. Obama's
campaign does not plan to go directly after Ms. Palin in the days
ahead. Instead, it is planning to increase its attacks on Mr. McCain
for his opposition to pay equity legislation and abortion rights - two
issues of paramount concern to many women - as it tries to head off his
effort to use Ms. Palin to draw Democratic and independent women who
had supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton."

"Mr. McCain's advisers said that rallying wavering women would be one
of Ms. Palin's main jobs in the weeks ahead. They said her campaign
schedule would take her to areas in swing states like Ohio and
Pennsylvania where there were pockets of women who had supported Mrs.
Clinton in the primaries."

But they might want to rethink Palin trumpeting Clinton's achievements before GOP voters - because mentioning Clinton's name drew a chorus of boos. Palin, NBC/NJ's Matthew E. Berger reports, acknowledged yesterday the role Clinton's and Geraldine Ferarro's candidacies had played for other women, including herself. But when Palin said that Clinton "showed determination and grace in her own campaign," there were an audible boos smattered amid the cheers. Palin ignored the boos and continued on with her speech.

The Washington Post puts the "Troopergate" scandal in the context of a family feud between the Palins and an ex-brother-in-law. Yet the facts remain the same as the paper's reporting from the previous day. "In January 2007, Palin's husband, Todd … invited Monegan to the governor's office. Todd Palin asked Monegan to look into the Wooten matter. Monegan did and later told Todd there was nothing he could do because the matter was closed."

"Monegan told The Washington Post that Palin called him a few days later on his cellphone, and that he told her the same thing. She brought it up again in February 2007 in the state capitol building and Monegan warned her to stay at arm's length. Monegan said Palin mostly backed off, but kept raising the matter indirectly through e-mails. In the fall of 2007, Monegan said he alerted her to a bad jury verdict against a trooper in rural Alaska, and she replied by mentioning Wooten, but not by name… In July, Palin's chief of staff told Monegan he was being fired because the governor wanted to 'go in a different direction,' Monegan said."

At yesterday's Obama-Biden press conference, when asked what it said about McCain's judgment that he chose someone with little national security or foreign policy experience, Obama simply said she was a "compelling person" with a "great person" and "engaging personality."

"I think that ultimately, she subscribes to the same economic theories and foreign policy theories as John McCain does," he added.

Asked to respond to the McCain camp's statement that Palin has more executive experience than he and Biden, Obama simply defended his own choice. "I think you guys can take a look at Gov. Palin's record [and] Joe Biden's record and make your own judgments in terms of who you think has what it takes to be an outstanding vice president," he said. "I feel confident about my choice. I'll let John McCain talk about his."

A campaign surrogate had some stronger words about the Republican ticket earlier in the day, saying the Palin selection showed a failure of judgment on McCain's part. "Palin was mayor of a town half the size of Bexley," Sen. Sherrod Brown told a large, boisterous Buckeye State crowd. "Nothing against Bexley, but I don't know that the mayor of Bexley's really quite ready to be in the White House."

The New York Daily News tracks down Palin's mother in law who is considering voting for Obama. "Sarah Palin's hometown rallied around her as mayor -- now Republicans wonder if the rest of America will warm up to the surprise pick from cold country. Though her mother-in-law has doubts. Faye Palin admitted she enjoys hearing Barack Obama speak, and still hasn't decided which way she'll vote… 'I'm not sure what she brings to the ticket other than she's a woman and a conservative. Well, she's a better speaker than McCain," Faye Palin said with a laugh. "People will say she hasn't been on the national scene long enough. But I believe she's a quick study."

More: "Scores of reporters descended Saturday on the A-frame wood hunting lodge where Sarah Palin's parents live amid hundreds of sets of trophy antlers and a taxidermy collection that includes a giant moose head and a full-grown mountain lion."