Palin Is Risky Gamble for McCain

Alaska gov. helps with women, conservatives, but lacks experience
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2008 11:22 AM CDT
At 42, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is 30 years younger than running mate John McCain %u2014 and younger than Democratic nominee Barack Obama.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Sarah Palin is an unconventional vice presidential pick for John McCain, the Wall Street Journal notes. Her selection seems like the latest ploy to lure Hillary Clinton supporters to the Republican ticket, while simultaneously appeasing McCain’s conservative base and burnishing his reformer credentials. But Palin also lacks experience, undermining one of McCain’s main criticisms of Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

Palin is popular in Alaska—one pollster dubbed her “Saint Sarah”—thanks to her reformer image. But even there, her lack of experience has been an issue. One Democratic activist joked that Palin has foreign-policy experience “because she’s been fishing in Canada.” Palin is also a strict social conservative, a salve for far-right observers who feared McCain would pick a pro-choice running mate.