Rowan GOP Chairman Kidd says Palin ‘really delivered’
By Shavonne Potts
ST. PAUL, Minn. ó The lipstick came off Wednesday night, says Rowan County Republican Party Chairman Stephen Kidd.
Kidd was talking about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president.
Kidd was in the crowd when Palin spoke Wednesday night to thousands at the Republican National Convention inside the Xcel Energy Center.
As a matter of fact, Kidd has spent the past few days in Minnesota at his first national GOP convention.
In what many had called the most important speech of her political career, Kidd gave Palin rave reviews. He said she did a fantastic job.
Near the beginning of her speech, Palin joked about the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull ó the lipstick.
“The lipstick definitely came off tonight,” Kidd said.
Wednesday was the third day of the convention to adopt a platform and nominate U.S. Sen. John McCain as the party’s nominee for president.
Kidd said the first day was more subdued as most of the attention shifted to Gulf Coast residents affected by Hurricane Gustav. Governors of four states affected by Gustav delivered messages during the opening session via video.
“Monday was very low key. Everyone was concerned about the Gulf Coast folks,” he said.
Kidd said many who attended the convention made donations to help with relief and said prayers for those affected.
Kidd said Tuesday seemed “like a normal convention” with a lighter mood and speeches by former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson and U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman.
Before Palin took the stage Wednesday, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee spoke. They, along with Thompson, ran against McCain the Republican presidential primaries.
As the delegates and others awaited Palin’s speech, Kidd said he sensed a lot of “anxiousness” around the room.
“There was a question of how she was going to perform in front of the massive crowd we had tonight,” he said.
Kidd said he believed the speakers who preceded Palin “warmed” and “prepped” the crowd.
But she won them on her own.
“Once she got up, she really delivered,” he said.
Kidd was impressed with Palin and felt inspired by Giuliani and Huckabee.
The speeches, he said, really showed that Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Barack Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, are all show.
“They have no substance,” Kidd said.
He said many of the issues Palin spoke about ó including oil and energy, as well as lowering taxes ó affect North Carolinians.
“North Carolina doesn’t want to be taxed more. Those issues definitely are reflected in North Carolina. They want to keep more of their own money,” Kidd said.
In another common theme, Palin talked about how she was able to fight corruption within her own state. North Carolina has had it’s share of corruption, Kidd said. He cited as one example Jim Black, the imprisoned former N.C. House speaker convicted of accepting illegal payments from campaign contributors.
“We could use some of that kind of cleanup in North Carolina,” Kidd said of Palin’s work in her own state.
Other delegates who shared their impressions of Palin with Kidd called the Alaskan governor a “tough cookie” and a good speaker, he said.
Also attending the convention are Ada Fisher, a Salisbury resident and Republican candidate for the 77th N.C. House District seat, and former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, husband of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole.
Kidd ranked the opportunity to attend the convention with military service.
“It’s a major experience that I wish every Republican could take part of,” he said.
“It’s really a part of the American process. This is another form of service to our country.”
Kidd is serving his second year as chairman of the Rowan Republican Party after two terms as vice chairman.
McCain will make an acceptance speech tonight. The Rowan Republican Party will host a McCain/Palin acceptance speech party at 8 p.m. tonight at its headquarters, 100 W. Innes St.