To nearly everyone’s surprise, Sen. John McCain announced on Friday that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is his pick for a vice-presidential candidate. The two gathered for a rally in Dayton, Ohio, in front of a crowd of 15,000 supporters, to tell the world that the 44-year-old mother of five (her youngest born last April) and first-term governor is his chosen running mate.
Rumors had swirled all week that McCain would make the announcement during the Democratic National Convention, stealing some of the media thunder from Democratic nominees Barack Obama and Joe Biden. But McCain waited until the rally to confirm reports about Palin and silenced talk that he was choosing either former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman.
In a statement issued on his Web site, the 72-year-old presumptive Republican nominee called Palin “a tough executive who has demonstrated during her time in office that she is ready to be president. She has brought Republicans and Democrats together within her administration and has a record of delivering on the change and reform we need in Washington.”
As the youngest woman ever elected governor of Alaska, Palin is also the first female Republican nominee for vice-president and the first Alaskan to ever be on the ticket. She has superseded a role many thought would be held by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
At the rally she remarked, “I will be honored to serve next to the next president of the United States. To have been chosen brings a great challenge. I know that it will demand the best I have to give, and I promise nothing less.”
McCain and Palin are packing up, on their way to celebrate at the Republican National Convention which officially starts next Monday in St. Paul.
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