When Senator John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate two Fridays ago, the first-term governor and would-be vice president was a complete stranger to the vast majority of Americans. But, as we soon found out, she had already charmed not just her fellow Alaskans and a devoted University of Colorado at Colorado Springs undergraduate student--the one who launched "Draft Sarah Palin" early in 2007--but also some of the most influential members of D.C.'s conservative establishment. Who were her earliest boosters in the chattering class, and how did they fall so hard, so fast?
...Rising gas prices gave Palin the opportunity to impress another key Republican constituency: the pro-business, oil-friendly, anti-regulation wing of the party...[H]ere was an attractive, plainspoken Alaskan, with a blue-collar husband in the oil business, who seemed dying to drill in her backyard. Such credentials won Palin some highly influential admirers, most notably Larry Kudlow, the host of CNBC's "Kudlow & Company," and Rush Limbaugh.
...Kudlow, who describes his attitude on ANWR as "drill drill drill," says he hadn't heard of her until this spring. "Somebody tipped me off to Palin--I can't remember who. He just said, 'You ought to get her on your program. She'll defend [drilling in] ANWR, and nobody else will.' She came on the program, and we hit the bid pretty fast." Kudlow even managed to coax Palin into chiding McCain over his early anti-drilling stance. "I had interviewed everyone over the course of a year who was running for president or vice-president, and to tell you the truth, her knowledge and delivery on-air really impressed me. She has a better grasp of the energy story than anyone, and she has an attractive personality." Kudlow named Palin his favorite pick in late July.
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