McCain picks Palin for VP – will this spike the Dems' Denver guns?

by Stephen Tall on August 29, 2008

An official announcement is due soon, but the febrile media speculation is that Senator John McCain is about to make history by nominating the Republicans’ first female vice-presidential candidate, Alaskan governor Sarah Palin:

At 44, she is younger than Barack Obama and is credited with reforms during her first term, but she is relatively unknown in US politics. Mr McCain is due to present her on stage at a rally in Dayton, Ohio, to celebrate his 72nd birthday. Analysts say the Republican is keen to wrest back headlines from Mr Obama. Ms Palin is perhaps the most daring vice-presidential choice for Mr McCain.

On the face of it, this looks a smart pick – a young female candidate will dent Senator Obama’s historical USP as the first black presidential candidate, and potentially appeal to those female voters upset at Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

She is, though, far less tested than her rival for the post, Senator Joe Biden – which may be more of a consideration for voters given she is just a heart-beat away from being the Commander-in-Chief. It’s almost certain this news will give the McCain camp a welcome poll boost, following Senator Obama’s widely acclaimed Denver speech.

The real test, though, is how smart this pick will look a couple of months’ time.