Seven years ago today, then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took the convention stage in St. Paul, Minn.,  and formally accepted the Republican vice presidential nomination offered to her by GOP nominee John McCain.

The speech she gave, which ran just under 45 minutes, was Palin's introduction to the vast majority of Americans. And she slayed.

Palin spent the first half of the speech telling what remains a very compelling life story -- about her eldest son's service in the military, about the birth of her special-needs son and about her unique and, at the time, uniquely appealing life story. She segues into an attack on President Obama's lack of political experience and, in a sign of things to come, bashes the media for their "unfair" treatment of her.  And then she details her life in politics -- as a reformer who "took on the old boys network in Juneau."

Palin was pointed, charming and funny.  And the crowd was IN LOVE with her.

I remember vividly watching Palin speak from The Washington Post's space at the St. Paul convention site and thinking that she was an absolute natural -- a star who McCain had plucked from obscurity and who had the very real possibility of becoming the face of the Republican party for years to come.

What came next -- both in that 2008 race and then everything that followed it -- reduced Palin from a star politician to a sort-of celebrity to, now, something less than that.

But watching her 2008 convention speech again today reminded me of how much talent and potential she had at one time. It's impossible to watch just how good she was in that speech and think her story -- politically speaking, at least -- would end the way it did.