Sarah Palin: How do you like me now?

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If there's one song the McCain campaign is singing this morning - probably very loudly - it's Toby Keith's "How do you like me now?"

Vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin might be humming it too after a speech that's being called electrifying, amazing, even "Reaganesque."

The consensus among pundits was that the speech was well delivered and that she gave a confident, forceful performance -- no wonder her nickname is "Sarah Barracuda."

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Smooth sailing ahead?

And it should, barring any other unvetted controversies, put the focus back on the soon-to-be Republican nominee John McCain.

Yesterday, it seemed the only ones not doubting the pick were McCain and campaign managers Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt.

In fact, two high profile Republican strategists - thinking they were off-mic - lambasted the Palin pick.

On-mic or off-mic, no one was questioning the pick immediately after the speech.

Palin vs Obama

Comparing her qualifications versus Barack Obama's? Palin mockingly compared them.

"I was mayor of my hometown," Palin said. "And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves.

"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities," she said to an erupting crowd.

Newsflash

Her message to the media? Get over it.

"I've learned quickly, these past few days, that if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone," she said setting up a wallop.

"But here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country."

The fourth estate

How'd the media react?

CBS's Bob Schieffer said, "I think she passed the first test. The people in this hall absolutely loved this speech. ... Now we'll see how it plays with the rest of the country."

"Two things are clear after Sarah Palin made her do-or-die debut before 20-plus million people tonight," explained Time Magazine's Jay Carney. "She is amazingly self-confident. And she knows how to nail a speech."

His colleague Joe Klein agreed calling it 'brilliant.'

George Stephanopolous lauded the speech on Nightline. "She definitely gets an A," he said. "It was appealing and funny and warm at times. Very, very tough at times as well. And she really did have an ability to bring these things down to earth, bring it down to earth."

CNN's Wolf Blitzer agreed. "She really did hit it out of the park tonight not only here but for millions of Americans watching across the country," he said.

MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Palin's role as attack dog? Effective. "She is a torpedo aimed directly at the ship of Barack and Michelle Obama," he said.

The sourpuss of the group, not surprisingly, was Keith Olbermann. "People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like," he said dourly.

Even the Obama campaign praised it's delivery -- but that's where they stopped.

"The speech that Gov. Palin gave was well delivered, but it was written by George Bush's speechwriter and sounds exactly like the same divisive, partisan attacks we’ve heard from George Bush for the last eight years, a campaign spokesman said.

Summing up the evening perhaps best is Tom Shales over at the Washington Post:

"If the Republicans win the presidential election in November, it may well be said that they won it last night -- the night that John McCain's brilliantly screwy choice for a running mate changed from laughingstock to national star," he wrote.

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