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From the Floor: Online and On Camera

Sam White
Sam White is a Maryland alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention, who will be blogging from Minneapolis-St. Paul for Maryland Moment. He is from Odenton in Anne Arundel County.

Sam participated in a live online discussion from our media space in St. Paul, Minn.

Sam White:
Hey there everyone, Sam White here. I am a little late, but I am here to answer any questions that you may have.


Kensington, Md.: I understand that Sarah Palin only got her first passport just last year. Presumably she's been out of Alaska at least. If something happened to McCain, would you really feel comfortable with her pulling the reins in the complicated world scene we are faced with today? Please be honest.

Sam White: Sarah Palin was first elected to office in 1994. She has since gone on to be the executive of a city and then the executive of a state. Also, you have to think about who her mentor is. You can have NO better teacher than John McCain who has over forty years of experience in leading and serving his country. Honestly, she is a very good pick.


Bristow, Va.: I wanted to say I am a middle of the road independent who leans conservative. I am appalled at the treatment John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin and her family have received from the mainstream media. How dare they treat this 17-year-old like this. I have an 8-year-old, and if something like this happened it would be our family's issue not the New York Times's. I also wanted to say that the more I see Sarah the more I like her. I am not the far-right, but she is a normal American. Sarah went to University of Idaho -- my neighbor went their. I can relate to her. I was leaning toward voting for John McCain to begin with, but the choice of Sarah Palin has made up my mind.

Sam White: I can understand your thoughts on wanting to keep the children out of the equation especially if they are minors. I think what you have to do is look at Palin and how she has reacted to her daughter. We all know that we are human and we will make mistakes and her daughter is no different. The question is what do we do after we have made a mistake? Palin is standing behind her daughter that speaks wonders about her.


San Juan Hill, N.Y.:
Did any of you also watch the Democratic convention? If so, any thoughts on how they compare to each other?

Sam White: I watched the Democratic convention and in both I see the great things that make this country wonderful which is the ability for people to come together and be a part of the process of nominating candidates for their party. It is an awesome thing!


Read the entire transcript.

By  |  September 3, 2008; 3:32 PM ET
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I can appreciate the question from Bristol, VA. I don't think anyone should be dragging this girl into the spotlight, but the reason this is being brought up is not because of her actions, but the actions of her mother, the Vice Presidential candidate.

This is a politician who is staunchly anti-choice, who believes in abstience-only education, and line item vetoed funding for a shelter for homeless teen mothers.

Frankly, I am an adult. I really don't need to hear someone telling me to do as I say, not as I do.

No one has a right to question the choices of the daughter, but I think everyone has a responsibility to question the decisions of the person that is asking the country to make her a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

Posted by: teen pregnancy in general | September 3, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Glad so many Republicans agree with Barack Obama who unequivically ruled out brining any candidates' family situation into the campaign. As a Dem, I hope both campaigns will be run cleanly and the focus will be on the issues.

Palin and the RNC should be fully aware and weary about the real issues coming out of Alaska concerning Palin's tenure as a mayor and governor. Unfortunately for her (trial by fire) "Troopergate", her management of Ted Steven's 527, her support of the "bridge to nowhere", and her dealings with lobbyists are all going to be open season.

Posted by: Donny | September 3, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Palin needs to define herself on the issues. Attacks on Obama may please "The Base", but swing voters will need to see a lot more. She has stopped the flow of blood, momentarily.

Posted by: Hoffmann | September 4, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin made a nice speech. Sarah Palin mocked Obama pretty bad, bad that is the key word; "MOCKED". Hillary did that for 10 months, and gave up; IT DOESN'T WORK!!!! She didn't even mentioned his name, and that's something she should have done, keep saying his name, over and over. If she can't pin point where Obama is wrong, she can't be effective with her speach at all. Oh well, we all know her speach is not effective in her own house!!! Can it be effective under these USA skies? YOU DECIDE, AND THINK TWICE.

Posted by: BOBSTER | September 4, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

She going to have to answer the following;
Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is "a task from God."
Change or more of the same?

Posted by: Hoffmann | September 4, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin introduced herself to the country last night and here's what I learned: she can bunker down in a hotel room for two days with a Bush speech writer and give a good line. What I did not learn, however, is what qualifies her to be President of the United States of America, the most demanding job in the world? Is it her ability to negotiate the sale of an Alaska state jet on Ebay? If, God forbid, she becomes president, will her main accomplishment following her first term be the sale of Air Force One?

Posted by: Joe | September 4, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"We are a political nation. We talk politics. So fill that area with humor: sly humor, teasing humor, humor that speaks a great truth or makes a sharp point."

Truer words have never been spoken 'my friends' when the oppositions platform is solely based on hatred and revenge directed at Bush

Posted by: rtfanning | September 4, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Palin is as qualified to be VP or Pres as Stevie Wonder is to be a watchmaker. I'd rather be on a bus driven by Jose Feliciano than in a country run by McSame and Palin. I'd stand a better chance on the bus.

Posted by: The Rodentman | September 4, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Palin brings reform to the Republican party like I bring a turd to the toilet in the morning.

Posted by: Ace | September 4, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Palin's line-item veto of the homeless shelter for teen mothers still provided it with a budget three times larger than what the shelter organization originally requested. I have a friend in Alaska who looked it up...the original budget request was $1.3 million, but by the time it made it across Palin's desk, it had been ballooned up to $5 million. She "slashed" it to $3.9 million; heartless woman, huh?

Posted by: 23112 | September 4, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Strange how Obama's & Biden's speech writing is not discussed. Well, then again, we would not want to remind the youth of America that Joe B had problems writing his own speeches in the past. What is that called again? Plagiarism! Look that up on Google with Neil Kinnock.
On to Gov Palen's leadership, when people are handing out money, good leaders get in line to help her people. How many of Obama's student grants did he give back to help his country? When people are handing out money, go get it. When you are handing it out, that is a problem. How much did Sen Binden and Obama send home? Or did Obama can vote "present" on that too? Or is he busy writing a new book? Joe can copy it for him!

Posted by: Ed Williams | September 4, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Though I want to like McCain, I honestly don't see a huge difference between Bush and what he is offering.

The foreign policy seems to be the same (tough on our enemies, etc. etc.). That hasn't worked in the last 8 years even after we had the most world sympathy ever right after Sept. 11. We need to be more diplomatic and not threaten everyone. The world is no longer afraid of our military might. We need to talk to them like people and that's what Obama would bring to the table.

Half this country is obsessed with Social Conservatism. It's not the government's business in how we live and what God we worship. Conservatism is supposed to believe in smaller government. Why do they still want the government to stick their noses in our business?

I just don't understand "conservatives".

Posted by: Dan | September 4, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

So far between DNC and RNC, I think John Kerry gave the best speach with a best proof and meaning. He is right, John McCain is not the same guy that lost in 2000 against George Bush. He is not the good John McCain that we all know, he changed to fit Bush agenda. His pick for VP, proves that, just wait and watch.

Posted by: BOBSTER | September 4, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

In really tough economy for any country, the meaning of slogan "COUNTRY FIRST" has good feeling and sight for the good future, but for any country in the middle of the war, "COUNTRY FIRST" has some different meaning, not so good and insight of the future. What is behind John McCain's slogan "COUNTRY FIRST". We need to go beyond that sign and slogan.

Posted by: Bobster | September 4, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Bobster, try looking under the "Change" slogan. Maybe there is something there.. Maybe Biden can change that like he did the Bankruptcy law for his Credit card companies. Or do they own him? Change is what you will have left when the Obama is done. Which Obama will that be by the way?

Posted by: Ed Williams | September 4, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

The clearly defined efort to lie here is disturbing. Since when is a small town of 7000 a city. Less than 800 people voted for Sarah Palin to put her into office. This number of voters does not define credibility.

This is not at all about the presidential election which Republicans know they have no chance of winning. It is the inside battle for the Republican party and it is clear the extreme right wing evangelicals are taking over that party. Yet another legacy of Bush who is ranked least in approval not only by democrats but by republicans across the board.

Posted by: dg | September 4, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin's Administrative Record: Summary
During her (Palin’s) mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.
Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%.
During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.
The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too.
She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million.
What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later–to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit- generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.
While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once.
These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.
As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.
In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today’s surplus, borrow for needs.
While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire the highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.
As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated” her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska’s top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it’s pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn’t fire her sister’s ex- husband, a State Trooper.
When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).
As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.
As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects–which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance– but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.
She is solidly Republican: no political maverick.
Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state initiative that would have either a) protected salmon streams from pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar bears as threatened species.
*”Hockey mom”: true for a few years
*”PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary school, not since
*”NRA supporter”: absolutely true
*social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships (said she did this because it was unconstitutional) .
*pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it.
*”Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life legislation
*”Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska. No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city administrator to run town of about 5,000.
*political maverick: not at all
*gutsy: absolutely!
*open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at explaining actions.
*has a developed philosophy of public policy: no
*”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro- drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
*fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
*pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built streets to early 20th century standards.
*pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on residents
*pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla’s history.
*pro-labor/pro- union. No. Just because her husband works union doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro- union.

Posted by: Sonia Kermaz | September 4, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Sonia Kermaz, Do you live there in Wasilla? How is the record of "community organizer" for Sen Obama? How are his communities going? You make it sound like she built these things herself. Unlike Sen Biden and Obama who have built or led... Let me see, I have forgotten. I might want to check one of his books for facts on what he has led.
I just wonder if you have been here or not? Wasilla is a nice town with great things for a city of 9,000.

Posted by: Ed Williams | September 4, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Liberal = Sexist

Obama uses his kids for photo ops and noone questions him about his kids. The double standards are still there folks. Scratch any liberal and you will reveal a sexist pig.

Posted by: julie | September 4, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

How wonderful it must be to live in a state such as Alaska where yearly checks are mailed out to each and every man, woman and child who has lived in the state for at least one year. This year's check will be approx $1500. That would be a big boost to families in the lower 40.

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