Palin Missouri Reaction
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Palin Missouri Reaction

Date: September 3, 2008
By: Valerie Insinna
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee denounced Sarah Palin's appointment as the Republican vice presidential nomination as "offensive" Wednesday days after State Treasurer Sarah Steelman announced her endorsement of Palin.

"I felt a little offended, from a woman's point of view, when I heard that her speech and the whole part about making it like a gender issue," Montee said.

Montee, a Democrat, said Palin's comparison of herself in her acceptance speech to Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton was "somewhat offensive" -- arguing that Palin's positions on several women's issues were opposite those of Ferraro and Clinton.

"The support Hillary Clinton has, among not just women but people in general, had a lot to do with her views, her experience, and her positions on women's issues," Montee said.

Palin said in statements when she was introduced by John McCain that Clinton had cracked the glass ceiling, but that Palin would shatter it by winning the vice presidency.

Montee's position was just the opposite State Treasurer Sarah Steelman -- the only Republican woman to hold statewide office in Missouri.

"I am thrilled with John McCain's bold selection of Sarah Palin," Steelman was quoted as saying in a statement issued by her office within a few hours of McCain's announcement.  "She has fought against cronyism and corruption and restored faith in what principled leadership can accomplish."

One of the legislature's leading Republican female members, House Education Committee Chair Jane Cunningham echoed Steelman's endorsement in an interview Wednesday.

Cunningham, R-St. Louis County, said she doesn't think a majority of Clinton's supporters will vote for Palin because of ideological differences. However, Cunningham praised Palin's accessibility and said it would be a draw to voters.

"Families all over the country will be able to relate to her in a real way," she said. "I mean, she calls herself a hockey mom. How many moms can relate to that?"

 Like Steelman, Cunningham said Palin's nomination is exciting and energizing for herself and other Americans.

"She has a record of facing corruption and cleaning it up, and she has a record of reform," she said. "The voters are just hungry for someone who isn't bought and sold and controlled," Cunningham said.

Cunningham said Palin's experience in executive roles such as mayor and governor "absolutely" qualifies her to be the vice president.

Montee, however,  said Palin's speech portrayed her appointment as a gender issue.  The state auditor predicted that women voters are unlikely to be swayed by gender alone.

"Women will not just fall into some kind of box where they are all going to vote because of their gender," she said. "Women in general...have a history of looking at the candidate and not just supporting women candidates."

Montee said Palin's appointment after a short time in officer undermines McCain's assertion that Obama is too inexperienced for the presidency.

"While I'm all for more women being in the legislature the elected office, it has to be the right woman," Montee said.

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