State GOP leaders praise bold VP choice

CHICAGO Illinois Republican leaders are calling this a bold and inspired choice, that Palin is a maverick much like McCain, unafraid of the establishment, unafraid of change. She took on, they say, her own party's old guard in Alaska; when voters get to know her, they will quickly embrace her.

The Democrats, on the other hand, are gleefully calling McCain's selection risky and strange. To have selected someone who is an extreme unknown outside of Alaska, someone with minimal executive experience ought to remove from the table, the Democrats say, this business about Barack Obama and Joe Biden not having enough foreign policy experience.

"This is something new: a person with a new kind of record, a true reformer. Someone from Alaska which is such an important state, an interesting state. Someone who has been strong on energy solutions and someone who has been strong on fiscal reforms," said Andy McKenna, Illinois GOP chairman.

"She took on the status quo in Alaska. She and John McCain stopped the bridge to nowhere. I think it speaks volumes about what she thinks the role of government is. It shouldn't be about making your friends rich. It's about serving people," said Il. Rep. Jim Durkin, Illinois McCain campaign.

Congressman Mark Kirk calls Palin the "Patrick Fitzgerald Of Alaska" for her grit and determination in taking on the old-line Republican guard in Alaska.

Some Democrats see this as an obvious attempt to siphon off disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters. Democrat Delmarie Cobb, a long-time Clinton supporter, said Thursday, if McCain was trying to appeal to Hillary Clinton voters, he would have been better off picking Mitt Romney because at least he understands the economy.

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