If Sen. John McCain's aim was to shore up his conservative base by selecting Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running-mate he appeared to have hit the mark with many delegates and alternates.
One Republican who was not impressed with the selection, however, was former Gov. Arne Carlson, who is attending the convention as a commentator for a Twin Cities television station.
The two-term governor, who often sparred with his party's conservative base, said that the U.S. probably faces its most serious set of challenges since World War II. Prominent among those challenges, he said was the U.S. deficit and global warming.
Choosing candidates should involve the highest test of proven competency, he said, and the selection of Palin does not meet that criteria.
"And I think that's most unfortunate," he said. "Sen. McCain would not choose a wing man using that criteria. I do not believe Barack Obama passes that test either."
A distinction he made about Obama's selection is that the Democratic nominee was chosen after a series of primaries and caucuses.
Carlson declined to say whether he was supporting Sen. John McCain for the presidency,
"That's a private decision," he said.
He would have preferred McCain picked former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or former Homeland Security head Tom Ridge for the No. 2 spot.
Carlson leveled criticism at both presidential campaigns, stating he had a problem understanding how the government could increase spending and lower taxes and not cause harm to America's economic future.
The former Minnesota governor's view on Palin ran counter to the opinion of delegates and alternates who were interviewed Tuesday night and Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. They were pleased with the choice and eager to hear her address the crowd Wednesday.
Bill Davis, an alternate delegate from New Salem, N.C., said he loved the choice of Palin.
"She's got five children," he said. "She's a good mother. She's a member of the NRA. She's a teacher in church. She's been a good leader. She's a union member. That's something the Democrats think they have control over."
While she might have a learning curve on foreign policy he didn't see that as a problem.
"We need someone from outside of Washington," Davis, a retired cattle rancher and railroad employee, said.
Ron Schutz, a Medina attorney, said Palin's strengths include the fact that she's from a different background than the traditional choice.
"I think she's a really bold choice," the Minnesota delegate said. "She can really identify with the average American," he said.
Pointing out that no candidate would be perfect, he said her weaknesses were that she was 44 and not 60.
John Christina, an alternate delegate from Spokane, Wash., said any weakness she might have relating to foreign policy experience would be offset by the counsel she would receive from experienced advisers.
" I think it was a spectacular choice," he said, claiming that it would solidify McCain's conservative base.
"She connects with an awful lot of people out there," Christina, an account executive in the retirement services field, said.
McCain's pick was a good one according to alternate Bill Daniel of Columbus, Ohio. Daniel is retired from the electrical equipment business.
"She's a woman and I think that will add to the ticket and her background as a governor," Daniel said.
Ed Napolitano, a land developer and a volunteer coordinator for the McCain campaign in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said she must be a driven individual to have accomplished so much at her age.
"I think she's a fantastic choice," the alternate said. "She's been a great governor. She'll be a great vice president.
"She's got a real natural style. She fought corruption in her state."
He's glad she's a fresh face rather than a Washington, D.C., insider who was recycled. Napolitano said if Sen. Joe Biden, the Democrats' vice presidential choice, was going to have any good ideas, he would have had them 30 years ago.
" I don't see she brings any weaknesses," he said.
MIKE O'ROURKE may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5860.
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