But it is a female, and a Westerner - Alaska's governor and an Idaho native - who could be a heartbeat away from the presidency.


It's Not Hillary, It's...Sarah Palin

But it is a female, and a Westerner - Alaska's governor and an Idaho native - who could be a heartbeat away from the presidency. John McCain is to announce the straight-shooting Palin - a onetime beauty queen who smoked dope and is married to a native Eskimo - as his vice presidential pick shortly. She's the party of Lincoln's first female veep candidate.

Update: McCain, on his 72nd birthday today, introduced Palin, on her 20th wedding anniversary, as "someone who has an outstanding reputation for standing up to special interests..." Among her comments, Palin mentioned Hillary Clinton's convention speech this week about those "18 million cracks [votes]" Clinton's now-derailed campaign put "in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But," Palin added, "it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all."

She arrived in Dayton for the announcement aboard a Seattle-based Gulfsteam IV, which flew from Boeing Field to Anchorage and then Ohio. FAA records show the plane is registered to Gypsy Two LLC at a Kirkland address that is also the offices of the Weidner Foundation, run by by investor Dean Weidner, a Republican campaign donor.

The mother of five children (one of them, named Track, is about to deploy to Iraq) and a University of Idaho grad (she studied journalism), Sarah Heath Palin, 44, is the youngest and first female governor of Alaska. She's known best for blowing the whistle on her own party's leaders, leading in part to the ongoing Alaska political scandals that reach all the way to D.C. and Sen.Ted Stevens.

Some intriguing snippets from Wikipedia:

In 1984, Palin was second-place in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant after winning the Miss Wasilla contest earlier that year, winning a scholarship to help pay her way through college. In the Wasilla pageant, she played the flute and also won Miss Congeniality.

Palin holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Idaho where she also minored in politics.

Her husband, Todd, is a Native Yup'ik Eskimo. Outside the fishing season, Todd works for BP at an oil field on the North Slope and is a champion snowmobiler, winning the 2000-mile "Iron Dog" race four times. The two eloped shortly after Palin graduated college; when they learned they needed witnesses for the civil ceremony, they recruited two residents from the old-age home down the street. The Palin family lives in Wasilla, about 40 miles (64 km) north of Anchorage.

She briefly worked as a sports reporter for local Anchorage television stations while also working as a commercial fisherman with her husband, Todd, her high school sweetheart. One summer when she was working on Todd's fishing boat, the boat collided with a tender while she was holding onto the railing; Palin broke several fingers.

By the way, she hunts, eats moose burgers, ice fishes, rides snowmobiles, and owns a float plane, Wiki says. She has a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association, and admits she used marijuana when it was legal in Alaska - but didn't like it.

In previous statements, she indicates she's pro-life and against gay marriage.

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