After a night when Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin rocked the Republican-packed Xcel Energy Center with a message of small-town can-doism and mockery of alleged Democratic elitism, Democrats demanded her specifics on national issues.
"She mastered the words by the Bush speechwriters. Unfortunately, although it’s a new face and a new voice, she didn’t talk about what people talk about every day — what are the solutions?" said Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, one of her party’s designated hitters in a conference call on Thursday.
Sebelius and other Democrats detailed by their party to respond to Palin’s acceptance speech for her vice-presidential nomination argued that Palin was long on partisanship and short on prescriptions. They listed creating jobs, slowing the rising cost of health insurance and addressing the rising cost of gas and groceries among the bread-and-butter areas where they said she isn’t discussing the everyday needs of Americans.
"That was missing, not only in Governor Palin’s speech but the past three days of the convention," Sebelius said.
Democrats also claimed that Palin misrepresented both her record and that of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
"Sarah Palin’s not a reformer. She’s under investigation in her own state," Sebelius said, referring to scrutiny of Palin’s dismissal in July of Alaska’s public safety commissioner. "Even her hometown paper said her remarks stretched the truth."
Obama strategist Robert Gibbs conceded that Palin delivered a "great speech. She was very poised." But he accused Palin, like Sen. Joseph Lieberman, of distorting Obama’s legislative record.
He listed ethics reform in Illinois and lobbying reform at the national level as examples of where Obama worked across party lines.
Democrats sought to blunt Palin’s potential appeal to female voters by responding with Sebelius and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. They argued that women are more interested in what Palin has to say about issues of particular interest to women than in supporting a woman just because she’s on the ticket. Among the issues Democrats listed were the cost of health case, pay equity, and pension protection.
Schultz said she’s delivered three children while serving in office, but voters are more concerned about delivering on policy. "The moms want to know that I support the issues that matter to them," she said.