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September 4, 2008

RNC chairman gives Palin good review; optimistic about McCain's prospects

Kentucky's Mike Duncan is RNC Chairman

FRANKFORT — Contributions by small donors to the Republican Party have picked up with all the attention showered on vice presidential pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan said in a phone interview Thursday the party raised “$1.8 million yesterday from small donors. That’s about three to five times what we raise on a normal day.”

It might get better because of positive reviews of Palin’s speech at the national convention Wednesday night in St. Paul. National pundits gave Palin high marks on network broadcasts Wednesday night and Thursday morning for poise and delivery, as well as for jabs at Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain surprised the political world last week by choosing the first-term governor and one time mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a community of fewer than 7,000 residents. Her first big test came with Wednesday’s eagerly awaited speech.

“She took control of the stage, she ad-libbed, she talked about her family,” said Duncan of Inez, Ky.. “It was very electrifying.”

Duncan said the better than usual contributions from smaller donors indicates it played well in living rooms of people watching on television, as well as in the convention hall. And, he added, more people are volunteering to work in the McCain-Palin campaign or man phone banks.

“There’s real excitement. She just goes off the charts,” Duncan said of Palin.

Her choice by McCain has drawn criticism from those who say she is too inexperienced to be a heartbeat away from the presidency and Republican activists have responded by criticizing media scrutiny of her record and family.

Immediately after McCain announced her selection last Friday, the Obama campaign put out a statement that Palin’s choice as vice presidential candidate removes experience as an issue. Lack of experience and judgment are criticisms McCain has often leveled at Obama, the first-term Illinois Senator. That was also a line of attack by Obama’s main competitor in Democratic primaries, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

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