Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama today congratulated Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on her selection as John McCain's running mate, while his campaign highlighted her “zero” foreign policy experience.
Obama called Palin from his campaign bus Friday afternoon and spoke with her for “several minutes,” campaign spokesman Robert
“He told her she would be a terrific candidate and that he looked forward to seeing her on the campaign trail. He also wished her good luck, but not too much luck,” Gibbs said.
In keeping with his pledge to show respect for his rivals despite disagreements over policy, Obama and his running-mate Senator Joe Biden earlier issued a statement congratulating the 44-year-old mother of five and her family.
“We send our congratulations to Governor Sarah Palin and her family on her designation as the Republican nominee for vice president. It is yet another encouraging sign that old barriers are falling in our politics,” the statement said.
“While we obviously have differences over how best to lead this country forward Governor Palin is an admirable person and will add a compelling new voice to this campaign,” it added.
More of the same
Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton meanwhile blasted the choice and highlighted Palin's lack of foreign policy credentials.
“Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency,” Burton said in a statement.
Burton also criticised Palin as a vice presidential pick for her support of oil drilling in the Alaskan wilderness and her anti-abortion stance, referring to the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalised abortion in the United States.
“Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies. That's not the change we need, it's just more of the same,” he said.
Obama tempered his praise for Palin as he toured a biofuel factory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during a campaign swing through battleground states one day after accepting the Democratic Party nomination.
“Ultimately, John McCain is at the top of the ticket,” he said.
“He wants to take the country in the wrong direction. I'm assuming Governor Palin agrees with him and his policies.”