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Posted at 09:07 PM ET, 06/09/2011

Background: Sarah Palin as VP nominee

In advance of the release of thousands of e-mails from Sarah Palin’s time as governor, we take a look at some of the issues that marked her tenure.

John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin for the No. 2 slot on the 2008 Republican ticket helped him regain his “maverick” tag, elevated the obscure governor of a distant state to GOP stardom and ignited his race for the White House by galvanizing conservatives.

Palin had been elected governor of Alaska in 2006 and, before the presidential campaign, she had been little-known nationally, although she was a darling of the conservative elite. Once on the campaign trail, the mother of five quickly became a favorite among grass-roots activists with her folksy, everywoman charm. From her first days on the ticket, the former mayor of Wasilla made a direct appeal to women, praising Geraldine A. Ferraro, the only other woman named to a presidential ticket, and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America, but it turns out the women of America aren’t finished yet,” she said shortly after she was named to the ticket. “And we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.”

On stage at the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn., in September 2008, Palin commanded a television audience of 37 million and established herself as a plain-speaking candidate not afraid to challenge Barack Obama’s credentials.

On the stump, she matched that intensity and helped to swell fund-raising efforts and add considerable buzz to the GOP ticket. Palin ran as a pro-life outsider who could shake up the status quo and “boys’ club” in Washington. While her appeal to evangelicals helped McCain, questions about her experience and readiness for office dogged her throughout the campaign.

The 24,000 e-mails set to be released Friday morning in Alaska cover Palin’s selection and her first month on the campaign trail as she dealt with the glare of the national spotlight, including a tough interview with Katie Couric, and how she prepared for her debate against then-Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. The messages could shed light on the vetting process, her reaction to being thrust into a heated campaign, how she navigated McCain’s inner circle, and how she understood her role in the campaign for the White House.

By  |  09:07 PM ET, 06/09/2011

 
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