Head Winds: Palin a Hit With the Base, but Outside Pressures Leave Clouds Over RNC

"Alaska's former commissioner of public safety claims that Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain's pick to be vice president, personally talked to him on two occasions about a state trooper who was locked in a bitter custody battle with the governor's sister," Lisa Demer writes for The Anchorage Daily News. "In a phone conversation Friday night, Walt Monegan, who was Alaska's top cop until Palin fired him July 11, told The Anchorage Daily News that the governor also had e-mailed him two or three times about the trooper, Mike Wooten, though the e-mails didn't mention Wooten by name."

"Palin is likely to be deposed soon in the case, according to State Sen. Hollis French, who leads the state Senate's Legislative Counsel Committee," per ABC's Marcus Baram. "French's committee unanimously authorized an investigation into the dismissal of the state's public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, who claims he balked at pressure to remove Trooper Mike Wooten, who had an acrimonious divorce from Palin's sister."

The Democrats were as surprised as the rest of us: "The Obama campaign and the Democratic Party had prepared advertisements and lines of attacks directed at the two men who had been most prominently mentioned as vice-presidential possibilities for Mr. McCain, Mitt Romney and Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, but had not considered Ms. Palin a likely enough choice to do the same for her," Adam Nagourney, Jim Rutenberg, and Jeff Zeleny report in The New York Times.

"Mr. Obama's campaign does not plan to go directly after Ms. Palin in the days ahead," they report. "Instead, it is planning to increase its attacks on Mr. McCain for his opposition to pay equity legislation and abortion rights -- two issues of paramount concern to many women -- as it tries to head off his effort to use Ms. Palin to draw Democratic and independent women who had supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton."

The choice was about the brand: "McCain, the Republican Party's best- known maverick, allowed the names of many expected candidates to be raised -- only to be rejected -- to call attention to the fact that he wasn't following the usual political script," Peter Canellos writes in The Boston Globe.

Let's reignite everyone's favorite fight: "McCain's camp converted the glass ceiling into thin ice for the Obama campaign. They did it with a pick that almost dares Democrats to criticize Sarah Palin and risk charges of insensitivity or sexism," Newsday's Tom Brune and Nia-Malika Henderson write.

It's about the base: "By tapping the anti-abortion and pro-gun Alaska governor just ahead of his convention, which is set to start here Monday, McCain hasn't just won approval from a skeptical Republican base -- he's ignited a wave of elation and emotion that has led some grassroots activists to weep with joy," Politico's Jonathan Martin writes.

The Palin pick will go down as a "masterful stroke of genius by John McCain and his team," writes David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network. "For the most part, social conservatives and the Evangelical base are now about to come fully on board. Obama's enthusiasm gap has narrowed considerably."

"I would pull that lever," said James Dobson, no great fan of McCain, but now a fan of McCain-Palin.

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