“The question is,” Mr. [Ed] Rogers continued, “what does it do to the argument that Obama’s not ready?”
The question is particularly acute for Mr. McCain, who turned 72 on Friday and would be the oldest person elected to a first term as president if he won in November. His campaign now needs to convince the public that it can imagine in the Oval Office a candidate who has spent just two years as governor of a state with a quarter of the population of Brooklyn.
But Ms. Palin, 44, brings clear assets to the ticket. The “gun-packing, hockey-playing woman,” as the Republican strategist Karl Rove described her, instantly bolstered Mr. McCain’s wobbly conservative base, which rejoiced over the selection of an anti-abortion evangelical Christian.
Her reputation as a reformer who took on her state party over corruption and wasteful spending could reinforce Mr. McCain’s own maverick appeal.
Her personal narrative as a working mother raising five children, including an infant with Down syndrome, with a husband who belongs to a union, might prove attractive to working-class voters in swing states who have been suspicious of Mr. Obama. And her presence on the ticket will allow Republicans to argue that Mr. Obama would not be the only one to break barriers if elected.
“He’s chosen a Washington outsider who will be an ally for him in shaking up the way things are done,” said Ron Nehring, chairman of the California Republican Party. “This is someone with solid conservative credentials but solid credentials as a reformer. And it’s clear after watching today’s event, no one is going to push Sarah Palin around ”” not Barack Obama and not Joe Biden,” the Democratic vice-presidential candidate.
In picking a running mate without deep experience but who would make history, Mr. McCain chose someone who in some ways resembles Mr. Obama. At the same time, by choosing Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware as his running mate, Mr. Obama tapped a longtime Washington hand with even more time in the Senate than Mr. McCain. Just as it might be harder for Mr. McCain to attack his opponent over his level of experience, it might be tougher for Mr. Obama to paint his rival as a creature of the capital.
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