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Palin comes out throwing punches

  • Story Highlights
  • Delegate says Palin delivers one-two punch to Barack Obama's face
  • Palin rips Obama as a man who didn't author a major piece of legislation
  • "I accept the challenge of a tough fight," Palin says
  • Rudy Giuliani calls Obama a "celebrity senator"
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ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin introduced herself to the world Wednesday by calling herself a "hockey mom" and then asking what the difference was between a hockey mom and a pit bull.

Sarah Palin ripped Barack Obama and said she's ready for the "challenge of a tough fight."

"Lipstick," the Republican vice presidential nominee said.

She promptly went on to prove the point, tearing into Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama as two-faced, inexperienced and intoxicated by the sound of his own voice.

"This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word 'victory' except when he's talking about his own campaign," she said.

She slammed Obama for "saying one thing in Scranton and another in San Francisco," argued that he had written two memoirs but never authored a major piece of legislation and asked what he would do "when those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot," a reference to the stage where Obama gave his acceptance speech last week. Video Watch Palin attack Obama »

Thousands of delegates at the party conference roared their approval at Palin's speech, bursting into chants of "Sarah! Sarah!" and "Zero! Zero," the amount of executive experience Republicans say Obama has accumulated. Palin was phenomenal

"I think Sarah Palin can do a one-two punch better than Muhammad Ali," Kansas state Sen. Karin Brownlee said after the speech. "And I think she delivered it just square on the opponents' face. I think she has energized the Republican Party like we haven't seen in a long time." Report card: Rate Palin's speech »

Jose Rodriquez-Suarez, a delegate from Puerto Rico, said simply, "It's about the best speech I have heard at any convention." Photo See photos of Palin take the stage »

Conventioneers waved banners reading "Palin Power" and "Hockey moms for Palin." Delegates from her home state of Alaska were spotted wearing buttons calling her "the hottest VP from the coolest state."

"I love those hockey moms," she said.

Palin began with a lengthy, minutes-long standing ovation as she accepted the Republican Party's nomination for vice president. It marked the first time in history that a woman has taken the stage as the GOP vice presidential pick.

"I accept the challenge of a tough fight," said the woman nicknamed "Sarah Barracuda."

The Obama campaign dismissed Palin's speech as "well-delivered" but said it was "written by George Bush's speechwriter and sounds exactly like the same divisive, partisan attacks we've heard from George Bush for the last eight years." Share your reaction to the convention speeches

Bush aide Matthew Scully was largely responsible for the speech.

Palin's opposite number, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, praised her speech as "incredibly well crafted and delivered," but said Palin's rhetoric lacked substance.

"I didn't hear the phrase 'middle class.' I didn't hear a single word about health care. I didn't hear a single word about helping people get to college," Biden, a U.S. senator from Delaware, told CNN's "American Morning" on Thursday.

"They don't have a single answer [for] how to dig us out of the hole we've been dug into the last eight years," Biden added.

Palin, whose son is to deploy to Iraq soon, praised her running mate John McCain as a man who has met grave challenges and "knows how tough fights are won." She criticized Obama's stance on Iraq, saying he "wants to forfeit" while victory is "finally in sight." Video Watch Palin say McCain has fought for change his entire life »

She praised McCain, a decorated war hero, as a "true profile in courage."

"In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change," she said.

Throughout the speech, it was clear the first-term governor of Alaska had won over the hearts of the crowd.

"What exactly is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make the government bigger and take more of your money."

Palin, the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, contrasted her résumé as a former mayor of a small town with that of Obama. "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities."

Palin presented herself as both a mother and as an outside-the-Beltway reformer in the McCain mold, saying she "took on the old politics as usual in Juneau" and "stood up to the special interests, the lobbyists, big oil companies, and the good ol' boys network."

She tied oil, a major industry in her home state of Alaska, to foreign policy and national security on a night when convention delegates repeatedly burst into chants of "Drill now, baby, drill now!"

She insisted that the United States seek "energy independence," including through more drilling, in the face of threats as diverse as hurricanes in the Gulf and Russian military power in the Caucasus. A 'free for all' on Obama

And Palin dismissed criticism about her that have appeared in the media. "Here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country." CNN's political team analyzes Palin's speech »

Palin, whose youngest child has Down syndrome, also promised that families of special needs children will have "a friend and advocate in the White House."

At the end of the speech, McCain came on stage amid raucous cheers and said, "Don't you think we made the right choice for the next vice president of the United States?" Video Watch McCain take stage, get crowd fired up »

Just before Palin took center stage, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani warmed up the crowd by continuing the barrage on Obama, calling him a "celebrity senator" with no leadership experience.

"He's never had to lead people in crisis," Giuliani said. "This is not a personal attack; it's a statement of fact. Barack Obama has never led anything. Nothing. Nada."

"The choice in this election comes down to substance over style. John McCain has been tested. Barack Obama has not. Tough times require strong leadership, and this is no time for on-the-job training."

His speech was the third of the evening by former GOP presidential candidates who pumped up the Republican faithful ahead of Palin.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee got the crowd cheering when he ripped Obama for looking to Europe for ways to change America.

"Barack Obama's excellent adventure to Europe took his campaign for change to hundreds of thousands of people who don't even vote or pay taxes here," he said.

"The fact is, most Americans don't want more government; they want a lot less."

Huckabee said McCain represents small government and has ideas for change that will make the nation's economy better. He added that McCain is "a man with the character and stubborn kind of integrity that I want in a president."

Huckabee took a jab at the "elite media" for "unifying the Republican Party and all of America" in support of McCain and Palin.

"The reporting of the past few days has proven tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert," Huckabee said.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney blasted "liberal Washington," saying McCain is a "prescription for every American who wants change in Washington."

He added that it's time to take a "Weedwhacker" to excessive regulation and to impose lower taxes and to stop big-government spending.

"Throw out the big-government liberals and elect John McCain," Romney said. "We need change, all right: change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington."

He also threw his support behind Palin, saying the McCain-Palin ticket "will keep America as it has always been: the hope of the world."

"We will never allow America to retreat in the face of evil extremism," Romney said.

The Republican Party officially nominated McCain for president at the convention Wednesday. McCain will give a speech accepting the nomination Thursday night.


Police said two protesters were removed during Palin's speech. They said they were members of the anti-war group Code Pink. A representative for the Joint Information Center said the two women were escorted by law enforcement officers from the Xcel Center for heckling.

They stood and yelled off to the side of the podium during Palin's speech. They were not charged and have been "sent on their way," this representative said.

CNN's Kristi Keck, Dana Bash, Ed Hornick, Paul Steinhauser and Scott J. Anderson contributed to this report.

All About John McCainSarah PalinMitt RomneyMike HuckabeeRudolph Giuliani

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