McCain presents young female governor as his running mate

By Xinhua,

Washington : Beating all conventional expectations, U.S. Republican presidential hopeful John McCain on Friday introduced 44-year-old female governor of Alaska Sarah Palin as his running mate to national stage.

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“She’s exactly who this country needs to help me fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second,” McCain said at Dayton, Ohio, in front of a rally of about 15,000 supporters.

The audience welcomed the surprise pick of the relatively unknown politician with cheers and flags.

“She’s got the grit, integrity, good sense and fierce devotion to the common good that is exactly what we need in Washington today,” McCain said.

Palin told the crowd: “To have been chosen brings a great challenge. I know that it will demand the best that I have to give and I promise nothing less.”

Palin is a first-term governor who unseated incumbent governor Frank Murkowski in the Republican primary in 2006 and went on to defeat former governor Tony Knowles, a Democrat, in the general election.

She will be the first woman to be nominated for vice president as a Republican and only the second to run for vice president on a major party ticket, after Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.

Palin also will be the first Alaskan to be on the ticket for either party.

She made her name in part by backing tough ethical standards for politicians.

Analysts said by picking Palin, McCain apparently is making a concerted effort to reach out to former supporters of senator Hillary Clinton who may be unhappy with the choice of senator Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential nominee.

She is married to Todd Palin, an oil production operator on Alaska’s North Slope. They have five children, including a son who enlisted in the Army last year.

Little known outside Alaska, Sarah Palin is a lifetime member of the right-wing National Rifle Association and takes part in two of the state’s popular pastimes — fishing and hunting, according to her biography on the governor’s Web site.

Palin has focused on energy and natural resources policy during her short stint in office, and she is known for her support of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a position opposed by McCain but supported by many grass-roots Republicans.

McCain and Palin are expected to formally accept the presidential and vice presidential nomination at the upcoming Sept.1- Sept. 4 National Republican Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.