Friday, August 29, 2008

John McCain picks Sarah Palin as VP running mate

Sen. John McCain surprised many people by selecting Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential partner in an apparent attempt to woo disgruntled supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton.

The location of the announcement, in Dayton, Ohio, also appears to key in on opponent Barack Obama's perceived weakness in the "Rust Belt" among voters who strongly supported Clinton.

Clinton received 18 million votes, almost as many as Obama himself, and inspired millions of women to become active in her campaign. After her loss, many were reluctant to support her opponent who also broke new ground by becoming the first African American presidential nominee. Obama's VP pick, Sen. Joe Biden, may also have some clout in the Rust Belt as he has strong ties with his birth-state of Pennsylvannia, but he received far fewer votes in the region than Clinton and has no special appeal to women voters other than he is pro-choice.

This latter position may not help much in the Rust Belt, where another 2004 pro-choice Catholic nominee John Kerry suffered due to Catholic resistance toward Catholics who support abortion.

The selection of Palin might also be an attempt by McCain to distance himself from the Bush administration. Like McCain, Palin has a "maverick" reputation and she has a running feud with the head of the Republican Party in her home state.

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