ST. PAUL, Minn. -- So this is "Pit bull Palin."
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin --in the GOP convention's most anticipated appearance -- asked the delegates Wednesday night who got their first look at John McCain's surprise pick as a running mate if they knew "the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull."
"Lipstick," said Palin.
"Pitbull Palin" was talking about herself as she made history by becoming the second female in U.S. history to be part of a major party presidential ticket.
Palin did not flinch as she sliced, diced and mocked Barack Obama in her debut speech on a major stage. "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities," she said to a roar.
The hockey mom needled Obama for writing two memoirs and not passing much major legislation. The presidency, she dryly noted later, getting back to an important chapter in the Obama story, "is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery. This world of threats and dangers, it's not just a community, and it doesn't just need an organizer."
"Don't you think we made the right choice," said McCain, beaming when he popped on stage at the end of Palin's speech, in a stage visit the night before he makes his acceptance speech.
With steely grit and humored determination, Palin started the job of righting her turbulent political launch -- capped with the sensational news of an unwed pregnant daughter. That teen, Bristol, her fiance and her siblings -- her father holding baby Trig -- joined Palin and McCain on stage as the nation figures out if it wants to hang in the White House this family picture.
Before Palin spoke, a string of speakers warmed up the crowd in the Xcel Center to boost her thin credentials. The skeptical media, daring to raise questions if she was qualified, was denounced as a bunch of "Washington elites." I'm writing this sitting in one of the press stands at the side of the stage, and at one point the crowd started hooting and pointing at the press boxes with unfriendly gestures. We'll be seeing more of this.
Cranking up the audience -- the most important not in the hall but those watching on television -- former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani showed that he was able and willing to throw grenades at Obama that Hillary Clinton could only dream of lobbing during the long and at times bitter primary.
The Clinton operation expected the press to cut down Obama. Never happened. The McCain team showed Wednesday it will run against the press and simply say what they think needs to be said about Obama, who is on track to beat McCain as things stand now.
Said Giuliani, "I'm sorry that Barack Obama feels that her hometown isn't cosmopolitan enough. I'm sorry, Barack, that it's not flashy enough. Maybe they cling to religion there."