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August 29, 2008

John McCain chooses a female vice-presidential running mate


When bidding for the White House it always helps to have the cards stacked in your favour. While Barack Obama turned down Hillary Clinton as his running mate, John McCain has wisely chosen a female in hopes of luring more women voters upset about Hillary Clinton's failed presidential bid.

John McCain announced his choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, a diehard conservative, as his vice-presidential running mate today in a startling selection on the eve of the Republican National Convention. McCain made his selection only six days after his Democratic rival Barack Obama named Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware as his running mate.

McCain said he made his pick after looking for a political partner “who can best help me shake up Washington and make it start working again for the people who are counting on us.”

McCain said that Palin was “exactly who I need. She’s exactly who this country needs to help us fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second.”

Palin, whose name wasn’t even on the short list of prospects so heavily discussed publicly in recent weeks, thus became the first woman named to a spot on a Republican ticket.

Obama picked an older running mate, and a man whom he said at the outset was qualified to be president.

McCain chose Palin a generation younger than he is, and a governor less than two years, and made no such claim about her readiness to sit in the Oval Office.

Unlike Biden, who attacked McCain's record in his debut last week, Palin was indirect in her initial attempts to elevate McCain over Obama. Palin made an immediate play for support from Democratic women, mentioning that she followed in the footsteps of Geraldine Ferraro, who was the Democratic vice-presidential running mate in 1984.

She also referred favourably to Senator Hillary Clinton, who drew 18 million votes in her unsuccessful run against Obama for the Democratic nomination.

A self-styled hockey mom and political reformer, Palin was also mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (population 6,500) before she became governor of Alaska.

NAME - Sarah Heath Palin

AGE-BIRTH DATE-LOCATION — 44; born Feb. 11, 1964; Sandpoint, Idaho.

EXPERIENCE: Alaska governor since December 2006; unsuccessful run for Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in 2002; chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, 2003-2004; served two terms as Wasilla mayor and two terms on city council.

EDUCATION: Graduated University of Idaho, 1987, journalism.

FAMILY: Husband, Todd; five children.

BUSINESS: Worked as sports reporter for two Anchorage television stations; owned with her husband a snowmobile, watercraft, ATV business from 1994-97. Husband is a North Slope oilfield worker. She has extensive ties within the oil industry.

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