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Palin: Hillary to respond?

The New York Times says that with Palin on the ticket, that could mean an even more visible role for Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. Mrs. Clinton's friends said she was galled that Ms. Palin might try to capitalize on a movement that Mrs. Clinton, of New York, built among women in the primaries… Nevertheless, Clinton advisers said they expected that a bloc of her female supporters would give Mr. McCain a second look because of Ms. Palin, and that Mrs. Clinton was probably Mr. Obama's best weapon in response."

The Times also notes that Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.  I told Congress "thanks but no thanks" on that Bridge to Nowhere,' she said in a speech on Friday after being introduced by Mr. McCain as his vice presidential pick. But Ms. Palin's history with the infamous bridge - and earmarks, which many critics call pork - is more complicated."

"As the new mayor of tiny Wasilla, Alaska, in 2000, Ms. Palin initiated a tradition of making annual trips to Washington to ask for more earmarks from the state's Congressional delegation, mainly Representative Don Young and Senator Ted Stevens, both Republicans… And she expressed support for the Bridge to Nowhere earmark as well. 'I do support the infrastructure projects that are on tap here in the State of Alaska that our Congressional delegations worked hard for,' Ms. Palin said when asked about that bridge and another in an October 2006 television debate while campaigning for governor."

The Washington Post runs a similar story. "'She campaigned here, she knew what the project entailed, and she was very affirmative, unqualified: "We've got to get the bridge done,"
basically,' Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein, who supported [Democrat Tony] Knowles, said Sunday."

"McCain's campaign said Palin never fully committed to the project and ultimately made the right call. 'Governor Palin acted like a responsible and effective executive. After taking office and examining the project closely, she consistently opposed funding the "Bridge to Nowhere" and ultimately canceled the wasteful project,' said Maria Comella, Palin's campaign spokeswoman."

McCain defended Palin's experience. "As governor, she has enormous responsibilities, none of which Senator Obama had. When she was in government, he was a community organizer," McCain said on Fox News Sunday. "When she was taking tough positions against her own party, Senator Obama was voting 'present' 130 times in the state Legislature. On every tough issue, whatever it was, she was taking them on. That's the kind of judgment that I'm confident that we need in Washington."

Meanwhile, Obama said, "I feel confident about my choice. I'll let John McCain talk about his."

Bill Kristol, after seeming to want Lieberman as McCain's VP, praises the Palin pick. "There are Republicans who are unhappy about John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin. Many are insiders who highly value - who overly value - 'experience.' There are also sensible strategists who nervously note just how big a gamble McCain has taken. But what was McCain's alternative? To go quietly down to defeat, accepting a role as a bit player in The Barack Obama Story? McCain had to shake up the race, and once he was persuaded not to pick Joe Lieberman, which would have been one kind of gamble, he went all in with Sarah Palin." (Of course, with polls suggesting that the race is still kind of close, did McCain really need to shake up the race?)

EJ Dionne, however, blasts the pick. "McCain, as far as anyone can tell, met Palin only once before considering her for vice president, and once more before settling on her, which is to say he barely knows her. For the purpose of courting disaffected Hillary Clinton voters and satisfying the social conservatives, McCain is willing to place someone he knows mostly from press clippings and, okay, what his staff insists was thorough vetting, in the direct line of succession to the presidency. There is a breathtaking recklessness about this choice."

"There are many who say that in choosing Palin, McCain has taken the issue of experience off the table. I disagree. Now, the balance on experience shifts toward the Democrats, and it's not just for the obvious reason that Joe Biden is manifestly more qualified than Palin. Conservatives have complained that we barely know Obama. This is nonsense. Obama has been put through the journalistic wringer since he entered the public spotlight four years ago. We have been given fewer than 70 days to get to know Palin."