Grading Sarah Palin's speech

Behind The News
September 4, 2008 12:48:34 PM PDT
If feisty counts, then Sarah Palin gets an "A" for her speech. There's not much debate about that. It is not easy getting up and speaking before 15,000 people - and millions of people watching at home.

And in that way, I suppose, she nailed her speech.

Whether or not folks at home now believe that, just because she got up at the microphone and read the prompter well and with vigor, she's qualified to become President if something should happen to her 72-year-old running mate -- well that's another matter altogether.

And, the latest instant poll aside, we may not know the answer to that until Nov. 4.

Does it matter that the erstwhile Vice Presidential candidate never traveled abroad before 2006 - and then to visit the troops overseas? Does it matter that the grandmother-to-be's counterpart from 20 years ago, Dan Quayle, publicly trashed the TV character "Murphy Brown" for being an unwed mother, but that Palin's own 17-year-old daughter is pregnant and unmarried? Does it matter that Palin pushes abstinence as the sex education philosophy in Alaska? Does it matter that John McCain disagrees with her on most of the crucial social issues of our time?

Again, we may not know until the election in November.

Tonight, the focus, finally, is on John McCain. The speakers so far have pretty much thrown huge hunks of raw meat at delegates, and the so-called "base" of the Republican party has eaten it up, figuratively speaking. We'll see if Sen. McCain, who prides himself on reaching across the aisle, on being a maverick, and on being beholden to no one, continues the hard-line tone of the convention so far at this, his fourth and inarguably biggest Republican Convention speech.

We're told he will do less "contrasting" than Barack Obama did last week.

We continue to have the largest contingent of any New York area broadcast TV station at the convention. Diana Williams anchors our coverage again tonight at 11, from St. Paul.

Oh, and is it just me, or is the U.S. suddenly cranking up the war on terror in Pakistan just in time for the beginning of the election season? Go ahead - take a look at the latest newswires.

Also at 11, Lee Goldberg is tracking several hurricanes, including Hanna, which is due to hit our area this weekend. When will it arrive? And how much rain will it dump?

And we're following a terrible crime in Jersey City. A Merrill Lynch executive, commuting to work this morning, was stabbed to death allegedly by a man whose family says was off his meds. Jim Dolan is on this story for us - dealing with the victim's family, and the family of the man now under arrest.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Marvell Scott, in for Scott Clark, with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

Bill Ritter