Republicans gathering early here in St. Paul are ecstatic about the Palin pick and--not surprisingly--less than blown away by the Obama speech in Denver last night. I talked to some experienced Republican operatives this morning and they shared thoughts on both topics.
First, on Obama last night, a senior GOP communications consultant said this:
"One of the first rules of communication is â€˜Don't reinforce a negative stereotype.' For Obama, that stereotype is â€˜I'm more of a rock star and a celebrity than a person with the experience necessary to be commander-in-chief.' I would have given a more sober, serious speech in a less-hyped setting. I think it was over the top from a visual perspective, and I'm not sure your average guy in Ohio shares the enthusiasm that was in the stadium."
A GOP operative working at the convention in St. Paul said this: "I guess we now know the kind of â€˜change' he has in mind. He wants to bring about a bunch of liberal, redistributive policies. I don't think that's the type of change people want."
Finally, an experienced GOP campaign veteran I talked to worried about younger voter reaction to the speech. "I can see how young people might buy into this whole thing. The hype, the music, the enthusiasm--it's like nothing they've every seen in politics before. The problem is it's the same old product with just a new salesman. I worry that young voters don't get that."
Participants here are still digesting the Palin pick, but early reactions are glowing. Here's a sampling of immediate reactions from folks here in the Xcel Center:
"It's a great pick. The team will have broad generational appeal."
"I'm glad it's not a Washington insider."
"I can't wait to see her debate Joe Biden."
The selection should also sit well with delegates who worried Senator McCain might pick a pro-choice candidate or even a Democrat. Bottom line: The Palin pick is generating a lot of initial enthusiasm in the convention hall right now--passion the McCain camp hopes will build into next week.