The Note: Shades of Palin

Writes Pat Buchanan, at Real Clear Politics: "By passing over his friends Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge, and picking Palin, McCain has given himself a fighting chance of winning the White House that, before Friday morning, seemed to be slipping away."

It's a party in search of a hero: Palin "was on nearly everyone's version of the up-and-comer list even before she was picked," USA Today's Ken Dilanian writes. "Her elevation to the national ticket means that if she performs well, she'll be a top prospect. If not, she could go the way of former vice president Dan Quayle, who is out of politics."

"The party now has a new national leader whose personal story resonates precisely with those Sam's Club Republicans," Gerald Seib writes in his Wall Street Journal column. "Regardless of how it plays out, the Palin pick was designed in part to reinforce the image of Republican presidential nominee John McCain as a maverick agent of change who is willing to shake up the party. . . . Those happen to be the same goals of reformers within the party who have been clamoring for an updated message."

"The culture wars are making a sudden and unexpected encore in American politics, turning more ferocious virtually by the hour as activists on both sides of the ideological divide react to the addition of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket," Politico's Jim VandeHei and David Paul Kuhn report.

More on the pushback:

"Sen. John McCain's top campaign strategist accused the news media Tuesday of being 'on a mission to destroy' Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin by displaying 'a level of viciousness and scurrilousness' in pursuing questions about her personal life," Howard Kurtz writes in The Washington Post.

"In an extraordinary and emotional interview, Steve Schmidt said his campaign feels 'under siege' by wave after wave of news inquiries that have questioned whether Palin is really the mother of a 4-month-old baby, whether her amniotic fluid had been tested and whether she would submit to a DNA test to establish the child's parentage," Kurtz writes. Said Schmidt: "We are being bombarded by e-mails and phone calls from journalists asking when she will be dropping out of the race."

"Sarah Palin represents everything they hate," said radio talk-show host Laura Ingraham, per ABC's Teddy Davis. "They ought to be ashamed of themselves," said conservative activist Gary Bauer.

Yet the storyline remains, about judgment as well as process.

"Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was not subjected to a lengthy in-person background interview with the head of Sen. John McCain's vice presidential vetting team until last Wednesday in Arizona, the day before McCain asked her to be his running mate, and she did not disclose the fact that her 17-year-old daughter was pregnant until that meeting, two knowledgeable McCain officials acknowledged Tuesday," Dan Balz writes in a Washington Post front-pager.

"McCain officials said that questionnaire and the personal interview revealed three new facts previously unknown to the team: Palin's daughter's pregnancy, the arrest of her husband two decades ago for driving while intoxicated, and a fine Palin paid for fishing without proper identification," Balz writes.

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