McCain picks Palin as vice president

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain named the youngest and first female governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, as his running mate today.





In an election which will be about change, so-called "hockey mum" Ms Palin is virtually unknown outside Alaska, where she has a reputation for government reform and an approval rating higher than 80 per cent.



The 44-year-old former runner-up of the 1984 Miss Alaska beauty pageant will be the second female vice-presidential nominee of a major party, following Geraldine Ferraro as Democratic nominee in 1984.



Democratic nominee Barack Obama is making an aggressive play for the traditional Republican stronghold of Alaska and its three electoral votes, and polls show the race is close.



Whoever wins, America will either have its first black president or its first female vice president in history.



At a raucous rally in the swing state of Ohio, Mr 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".



He said Ms Palin was "exactly who I need" and "exactly who this country needs to help us fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second".



The decision to pick a woman for his ticket may help Mr McCain attract some of Hillary Clinton's former supporters who have been disillusioned with the Democrats after a prolonged and often-bitter primary election battle against Mr Obama.



To huge cheers, Ms Palin said she wanted to honour the former first lady who had shown "such determination and grace in her presidential campaign".



"But it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all," she said.



"If you want change in Washington, if you hope for a better America, then we're asking for your votes on the fourth of November."















Ms Palin also borrowed Mrs Clinton's remark that the former first lady had put 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling for women, a reference to the 18 million votes the 60-year-old New York Senator won in her unsuccessful presidential campaign.

One former Clinton supporter, lifelong Democrat Debra Bartoshevich, has already defected to Mr McCain and has featured in an attack advert encouraging others to do the same.



Taking to the stage with her family watching, mother-of-five Ms Palin said she never set out to become a vice presidential nominee and was instead a "hockey mum".



But after joining her children's Parent Teacher Association, she became involved in her local council, was elected mayor of her home town, and said her agenda was "to put the people first".



"It's always safer in politics to avoid risk, to go along with the status quo, but I didn't get into government to do the safe and easy things," she said.



"Politics isn't just a game of competing interests and clashing parties."



She said she wanted to serve America "to challenge the status quo and to serve the common good".



Mr McCain reportedly chose Ms Palin as his vice presidential nominee yesterday, but the decision has been shrouded in secrecy.



Speculation only moved to mother-of-five Ms Palin, who, like Mr McCain calls herself a maverick and was considered an outside bet, after airport officials confirmed a private plane flew from Alaska into Middletown Regional Airport in Butler County, near Cincinnati, Ohio, ahead of the official announcement in the state.



Many US political pundits ruled her out because her office remains under investigation over the dismissal of a commissioner who refused to fire her brother-in-law.



She is a pro-life devout Christian, a fiscal and social conservative and holds a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association.



Ms Palin also hunts, eats moose burgers, ice fishes, rides snowmobiles, owns a float plane, according to US reports.



She rose to attention in Alaska after blowing the whistle on ethical violations by state Republican Party leaders and was elected in 2006 after beating the incumbent Republican governor in the primary and a former Democratic Alaskan governor in the general election.



On 18 April, Ms Palin, gave birth to her second son, Trig Paxson Van Palin, who has Down's syndrome, after she refused to let the results of antenatal genetic testing change her decision to have a baby.



Born in Sandpoint, Idaho, on 11 February 1964, Ms Palin moved to Alaska with her family as an infant.



In the 1980s, she earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" for the intensity of her play as captain for the Wasilla High School Warriors basketball team in Wasilla, Alaska.



In 1984, Ms Palin came second in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant after winning the Miss Wasilla contest earlier that year, winning a scholarship to help pay her way through college. She also won the Miss Congeniality award.



She has a journalism degree from the University of Idaho, where she also minored in politics.



Ms Palin has also admitted using marijuana when it was legal in Alaska, but has said she did not like it.



Her husband, Todd, is a Native Yup'ik Eskimo who works for BP outside the fishing season and is a champion snowmobiler, winning the 2,000-mile "Iron Dog" race four times.



The couple, who are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary today, eloped after she finished college and reportedly recruited two residents from a nearby elderly care home when the pair realised they needed witnesses for the civil ceremony.



Their eldest son, Track, 18 at the time, joined the US Army on 11 September last year and will be deployed to Iraq next month.



She also has three daughters - Bristol, 17, Willow, 13, and Piper, seven.



Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, and Democrat-turned-independent Joe Lieberman were among others thought to be considered for the job.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas