I'm writing this quickly before leaving Denver to go to Minneapolis for the Republican Convention, where John McCain will be nominated for President, and now Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be his running mate.

After watching her speak at a rally in Dayton, Ohio, I was struck by several things.

First, she is a political reformer who has made her name by shaking things up in government, especially in her own party.

That is exactly what John McCain was well known for.  So this tells me the McCain people have decided to try to capitalize on the desire for "change" in the country by emphasizing their reform credentials.

If I have ever seen Palin before, I don't remember that.  She seems to be confident speaking in a big setting like that, and one would think she would only improve as she makes speech after speech after speech.

Her story of having a child with Down Syndrome is something that will certainly humanize her for voters.  Her husband is a blue collar oil worker.  One of their kids is going to Iraq.  It's an interesting mix.

I can easily imagine her being a bit hit in small town America, in both Red and Blue states.  And she mentioned Hillary Clinton several times in her speech, clearly making a direct appeal to some of those women still angry that

Is she a political novice?  Yes, she doesn't have that much experience.  But then again, some will argue that neither does Barack Obama. Maybe it's a draw on that?  I sort of doubt it.  Both sides will go after the other on the experience issue.

We shall see how it is received in coming days.  But I tend to think that she has an interesting life story that should attract GOP support.

It's definitely a gamble.  And so that makes me think of my all time favorite quote along those lines from sportscaster Don Criqui, who did NFL games on NBC for years.  When a team would go for it on 4th down, he would invariably say:

"Everybody loves a gambler 'til he loses."

John McCain is gambling.  We'll see if he loses in November.

About the Author