The initial reaction of Florida's Republican elite to John McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is a very mixed one.
One top GOP advisor summed it up this way: "It's crazy.'' Palin's lack of experience in the hard-knocks world of presidential politics will be hard to overcome, the advisor said.
McCain fundraiser and campaign advisor Brian Ballard likes the choice: "She's going to add some zest to the ticket and is going to have some appeal to the disaffected Hillary voters."
Ballard said the momentum moved against Romney after McCain's gaffe about not knowing how many houses he owned. "It came down to three governors: Pawlenty Crist and Palin," Ballard said. "The house issue nudged out Romney....For many in the party though, Lieberman was not acceptable...Pawlenty has never won 50 percent of the vote in Minnesota and he might not have carried it."
RPOF Chairman Jim Greer called it an "historic ticket'' and predicted McCain and Palin will "offer common sense solutions and principled leadership based on a deep-rooted belief in putting country first.”
Predictably, Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was happy to make the comparision between Sarah and Hillary and told MSNBC: "Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton....Women in this country don't want a candidate on the ballot just because of the parts that she has....It's not just electing a woman for the sake of getting a women over there." Instead, she said, women want equal pay for equal work, protection of reproductive rights, access to affordable health care for their children etc.
So the questions remains what impact this will have. Ballard notes: "Over the next couple of days, it's going to be a Dan Quayle pick or the greatest thing since sliced bread." He's ready to count on the bread -- and butter -- appeal of "hockey Mom'' Palin.