Local 'hockey moms' react to Palin speech

A few local hockey moms in the Chicago area gave their opinions of the Republican vice presidential candidate.

It was one of the more memorable parts of her speech Wednesday night, when Palin said, "The only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull - lipstick."

"I thought it was a very good joke. I will say, I have met some pit bulls in that rink before," said Linda Witek.

From hockey mom to vice presidential candidate, a few weeks ago many people had never heard of her. But on Thursday, there were plenty of Republicans in the Chicago area who said they were confident Palin will be the country's next vice president.

"It was pretty powerful. At least she's open and honest. She's not hiding anything and she's basically rebutting at the people who've made comments towards her," said Tracy Caliendo.

It's easy to find supporters of Palin in the Republican stronghold of DuPage County. Those ABC7 spoke with said they were thrilled with the speech, saying she clearly articulated her ideas and had the right mix of poise and humor.

Another self-proclaimed hockey mom, and registered Republican from Downers Grove, Witek says Palin scored big time with GOP voters.

"Absolutely phenomenal, I thought she did an amazing job, just the best speech I could imagine," Witek said.

Many political analysts, including communications professor Irving Rein at Northwestern University, said they agree that Palin succeeded in firing up conservatives.

"I think she met the expectations. I think that she had good communication skills and she handled the TelePrompter well. Her inflection was good. I think she kind of caught the spirit of what a convention's all about, that is, get the enemy," Rein said.

Many Ill. Sen. Barack Obama supporters say she failed to address the issues and only succeeded in slamming her Democratic rivals.

"It was a good speech, good attacks, only problem was she didn't get into the specific issues, like the economy or health care, stuff like that," said William Carter.

And others have doubts it helped convince undecided voters to vote either way.

"I thought it was very partisan. I think she connected with her base, I'm not sure how much she connected with her larger audience of undecided voters," said Justin Stoner.

That is the big question. Was Palin's speech strong enough to convince working-class voters to vote for McCain? It's those voters in key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania that could determine the outcome of this election.

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