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McCain Picks Alaska Gov. Palin As Running Mate

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McCain Picks Alaska Gov. Palin As Running Mate

Election 2008

McCain Picks Alaska Gov. Palin As Running Mate

McCain Picks Alaska Gov. Palin As Running Mate

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Republican presidential candidate John McCain has named Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. Palin, 44, is the first woman named to a spot on the GOP ticket. She has been Alaska's governor since 2006.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

And I'm Melissa Block. Less than 24 hours after Barack Obama accepted his party's presidential nomination, John McCain grabbed the headlines with a history-making pick of his own. McCain chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. She's only the second woman ever to occupy the vice-presidential slot on a major party ticket.

Coming up, we'll have a profile of Governor Palin, but first, this report from NPR's Scott Horsley, traveling with the McCain campaign.

SCOTT HORSLEY: John McCain managed to keep his vice-presidential pick a secret until just hours before the formal announcement in front of a packed basketball arena in Dayton, Ohio.

The choice marked the end of a months-long selection process, in which McCain considered governors, fellow senators and people outside of politics altogether.

Senator JOHN McCAIN (Republican, Arizona; Presidential Candidate): I have found the right partner to help me stand up to those who value their privileges over their responsibilities, who put power over principle, and put their interest before your needs.

HORSLEY: Sarah Palin's name appeared on many lists of potential running mates, but nowhere near the top. Still, McCain saw in the 44-year-old governor a kindred spirit who's battled wasteful government spending, corruption and the Republican Party itself in Alaska.

Sen. McCAIN: She's not from these parts, and she's not from Washington, but when you get to know her, you're going to be as impressed as I am.

HORSLEY: Most Americans will have to spend some time getting to know Palin, who has little national name recognition. Cheryl Erickson(ph) of Beaver Creek, Ohio was like many in the audience today who were essentially asking: Sarah who?

Ms. CHERYL ERICKSON (Beaver Creek, Ohio): I know she's for oil drilling, which is good, and that's - other than that, I don't know too much about her.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HORSLEY: Palin is married to a part-time oil-field worker who spends his summers as a commercial fisherman. The one-time hockey mom describes herself as an accidental politician who went from working on the PTA to the city council in Wasilla, Alaska, and then to the governor's office just two years ago.

Governor SARAH PALIN (Republican, Alaska): And I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress...

(Soundbite of cheering)

Gov. PALIN: ...I told Congress thanks but no thanks on that Bridge to Nowhere.

HORSLEY: Palin has little if any foreign policy experience, which could undermine one of McCain's chief arguments against Barack Obama. She does command the Alaska National Guard, and she has a son in the Army who's headed for Iraq next month.

Palin and her husband have five children, the youngest, born in April, with Down syndrome. She's a fierce anti-abortion advocate, but she offered praise today for two women who favor abortion rights: Geraldine Ferraro, who was Walter Mondale's running mate, and Hillary Clinton.

Gov. PALIN: Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America, but it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.

HORSLEY: Palin's surprise addition to the ticket has already helped Republicans capture some of the media spotlight. The next two months will tell if she also helps her party hold on to the White House. Scott Horsley, NPR News with the McCain campaign in Ohio.

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McCain Picks Alaska's Gov. Sarah Palin For VP Spot

NPR's Martin Kaste talks to Madeleine Brand about Palin's background on 'Day to Day'

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Republican strategist Dan Schnur discusses whether Palin is a risky choice with Madeleine Brand on 'Day to Day'

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Republican Sen. John McCain announced Friday that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be his vice presidential running mate, a move that brings youth and a staunch abortion opponent to the GOP ticket.

"She's exactly who this country needs to help us fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second," McCain said at a rally in Dayton, Ohio.

Palin is the first woman to be named to a spot on the GOP ticket. "I am honored," she said, as her husband and four of her children stood behind her. Her eldest child was absent from the event, pending his deployment to Iraq.

McCain's campaign touted Palin as a maverick who has challenged the influence of big oil companies and used her veto power to cut budgetary spending since becoming governor two years ago.

"Governor Palin has the record of reform and bipartisanship that others can only speak of. Her experience in shaking up the status quo is exactly what is needed in Washington today," the campaign's news release said.

Palin, 44, was elected Alaska's first woman governor in 2006 on a platform of ethics reform. She has extensive influence in Alaska politics, having served as mayor of Wasilla and ethics commissioner on the state's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Palin has also been a steadfast opponent of abortion, giving birth earlier this year to a child she knew would have Down syndrome. Her addition to the ticket could bolster McCain's support among the Republican Party's Christian base.

Palin and her husband, Todd, have five children, ranging in age from 18 years to 4 months. Todd Palin is of native Alaskan Yup'ik ancestry.

McCain's announcement comes a day after Illinois Sen. Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. McCain and Palin will face Obama and Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden in the Nov. 4 election.

Palin will become only the second female vice presidential nominee of a major party. Democrat Geraldine Ferraro was Walter Mondale's pick as a running mate in 1984.

From NPR and wire reports.