How Are Republicans Reacting To Palin?

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Senior Producer Steve Proffitt offers a rundown of the week's schedule from the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. He also speaks with conventioneers about vice presidential running mate Sarah Palin.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Now that it appears that Hurricane Gustav was no Hurricane Katrina, the Republicans are trying to get their convention back on track. Steve Proffitt is in St. Paul. He's covering the Republicans for Day to Day. And Steve, what will we see tonight and even tomorrow from the convention hall?

STEVE PROFFITT: Well, now, as you said, that the hurricane didn't seem to be as bad as it might have been, Republicans are trying to get things back on track. Tonight, the theme will be service. There'll be a speech, probably by video, with the first lady and the president. And then the two main speakers tonight are Fred Thompson, he's the senator from Tennessee who ran against John McCain, and then from Connecticut, Senator Joe Lieberman. He is, of course, a former Democrat, independent, and speaking now at the Republican National Convention.

BRAND: OK, so that's for tonight. And let's just talk about last night. Steve, where were you?

PROFFITT: Well, I went to a party. There were a few parties. This one was a 500-dollar-a-ticket fundraiser. It was held by this group called Friends of New Orleans. And the talk there was about how Gustav had spared the city. And also, of course, the talk was about Sarah Palin, the news that her teenage daughter was pregnant. Actually, it was taken as a positive thing by a lot of people I spoke to, Madeleine. They said that it made Palin seem just like part of a normal American family. Here's Jim and Chichi O'Connor (ph). They're from New Orleans, and he's an alternate delegate.

Mr. JIM O'CONNOR (Alternate Delegate, New Orleans): I think a person ought to be very reluctant before they throw the first stone.

Ms. CHICHI O'CONNOR (New Orleans Resident): Well, I'm amazed that you're all trying to make such a big issue out of it, frankly. It's their private business, and with some of the options that kids and families do have with abortion, I'm real proud that they chose not to do it. I think that takes a lot of courage.

PROFFITT: And then, Madeleine, I met another woman from New Orleans. She was really pumped up about the GOP vice presidential candidate.

Ms. LINDA GREY (Representative, Mothers of Louisiana): I'm here to represent Mothers of Louisiana for Sarah Palin.

PROFFITT: This is Linda Grey (ph), and she's not a delegate, not a party operative. She's just a committed Republican. She came to the convention with her husband on her own dime.

PROFFITT: You are really excited about Sarah Palin.

Ms. GREY: I know that. I'm jumping out of my skin. I'm over, I'm - you know what? It has completely energized the entire campaign. This was very flat, and we had absolutely no interest. I would have stayed in New Orleans and hunkered down, hung out with my kids, and not even bothered to come up here. It's a different ball game. We have energy. We have hope.

PROFFITT: Madeleine, Linda Grey told me that she thinks that the news that the VP candidate has a pregnant teenage daughter actually makes her feel closer to Palin.

Ms. GREY: It humanizes her. She's just like everyone else. She's not perfect. This is not an ideal situation, but it's an opportunity to teach and learn from and embrace, you know. She's just a mom like everyone else. And it's also another demographic that she could potentially win over. Who has not been in a difficult situation with their children?

BRAND: Hmm. Well, Steve, when can we expect to hear from Sarah Palin herself?

PROFFITT: Tomorrow night, they're going to try to get back on the regular schedule, more or less, so we're taking that to mean that Sarah Palin will, in fact, speak tomorrow night, and we'll get to see her then.

BRAND: And Steve Proffitt will be there. Thank you, Steve.

PROFFITT: You're welcome, Madeleine.

BRAND: That's Day to Day's Steve Proffitt reporting for us all week from St. Paul Minnesota.

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