The Power of Palin

Huge TV viewing numbers last night for Gov. Sarah Palin, amazingly nearly matching Barack Obama's tally and far outstripping the viewership for Vice President Joe Biden, who is after all her opponent. Sarah Palin is not running for president. And only six networks carried Palin's speech, vs. 10 for Obama, so her numbers are even more impressive. She apparently also dealt smoothly with teleprompter problems-- I certainly didn't notice when she ad-libbed:

Several of the drafts were scribbled on, so one aide gave Palin a wrinkled, folded copy out of his pocket.

Officials said Palin responded in mom-like fashion, concluding, “Well, I suppose I could put a book on it and smooth it out a little. “

During one part of her speech, she couldn’t see the teleprompter because signs were blocking it. That was when she ad-libbed a line about the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull — “lipstick.”

This yielded one of the best lines of the night and evoked huge applause and laughter.

Palin has already achieved superstar status in the political world, and interestingly, even prior to her phenomenal speech last night she was closing the gap in the polls on the experience match-up, especially with independent voters. Rasmussen:

Democrats and Republicans agree on their willingness to vote for a woman for president and the belief that a woman candidate will be elected in the next 10 years. But they split on predictable partisan lines when Clinton and Palin are introduced into the equation.

In the head-to-head match-up, 87% of Democrats support Clinton, while 85% of GOP voters support Palin. Unaffiliated voters go for Clinton 48% to 39%.

It's the power of Palin, and it's just the beginning of the general election campaign.

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