Juneau Republicans cheer Palin's performance

Posted: Friday, October 03, 2008

Capital city supporters of Gov. Sarah Palin converged on Marlintini's Lounge in the Mendenhall Valley on Thursday to watch the vice-presidential debates on big screen TVs, eat chili and cheer on their candidate.

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David Sheakley / Juneau Empire
David Sheakley / Juneau Empire

Afterwards, there wasn't much debate about how the governor did.

"She brought what mainstream American people want to hear," said Rick Carter, who works for Goldbelt security.

"She showed she's just fine being a candidate for vice president," said Ben Brown, chairman of the Juneau Republican Party and a personal friend of Palin.

The appreciative crowd clapped and cheered at Palin's one-liners. Some booed and laughed at her opponent, Sen. Joe Biden.

Supporters said it was encouraging to see Palin comfortable and confident during the debate after a few weeks of embarrassing appearances in national media interviews.

"It was disconcerting to see her on some of the interviews recently," said state House candidate Cathy Muñoz. "I'm glad to see her do well."

Muñoz added that it wasn't a surprise to see the governor turn in a strong performance to those who had seen her debate during her run for governor.

Carter said he heard Palin speak at a ceremony in Wasilla when his daughter graduated from high school with the governor's son.

"I've seen her speak a few times. She's down to earth," he said. "That's the way she is; that's the way she's always been."

Across town at TK Maguire's, Democrats also gathered to watch the debate.

Rep. Andrea Doll, D-Juneau, said Palin did "an amazing job of doing what she set out to do," which Doll said was to speak directly to "hockey moms and Joe Six Packs."

Doll added that Biden had stood "head and shoulders" above Palin in terms of showing a grasp and understanding of complex issues, but that Palin had proved to be a "quick study" at learning talking points.

"I really have to hand it to her that she picked up an awful lot in a few days of tutoring," Doll said.

• Contact reporter Alan Suderman at 523-2268 or alan.suderman@juneauempire.com.

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