A Speech in Minnesota, a Mind Changed in Michigan
The response to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in the convention hall was raucous and supportive -- and it was only slightly less enthusiastic in the living room of one undecided voter in the Midwest.
Linda Beebe, 59, a voter in Michigan, had been leaning toward Sen. Barack Obama before Palin's speech on Wednesday night. Before the Alaska governor had even finished speaking, though, Beebe had changed her mind.
"Could we drop off McCain and just have her?" Beebe said in a telephone interview. "She's talking about the things that concern myself and people I know. I know there's a big world out there, but if we're not healthy at home, how can we help outside home? She sounds pretty good."
Beebe said she did not like the negative attacks on Obama; she also said she did not particularly like McCain. "But I kind of like her," Beebe said. "She sounds like she wants to help Americans bring home the type of lifestyle we've had and help build up America."
But in the home of another independent voter, Laura Bates, 45, of Madison, Conn., the reaction was more muted. "She gives a good speech, and she's talking to the people in her audience -- but she seems antagonistic, and I'm not impressed," said Bates, who supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primaries. "I'd say it's about 100 percent I'd vote for Obama at this point. She hasn't really said anything constructive . . . and she's been a little negative and smug."
Donna Lang, a food services employee in Massachusetts, said before Palin's speech that she would be supporting the Republican ticket -- and did not even need to watch the speech to know it.
After supporting Clinton in the primary, Lang said, she had been undecided until last week.
"Today I'm voting for McCain," Lang said. "I think it's a smart move for him to pick a woman, because all of us who have voted for Hillary Clinton have no one to vote for."
-- Kyle Dropp and Anne E. Kornblut