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Excerpts: Palin introduces herself

Excerpts from Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's speech Wednesday night, as prepared for delivery:

It was just a year ago when all the experts in Washington counted out our nominee because he refused to hedge his commitment to the security of the country he loves. With their usual certitude, they told us that all was lost – there was no hope for this candidate who said that he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war. But the pollsters and pundits overlooked just one thing when they wrote him off.

They overlooked the caliber of the man himself – the determination, resolve, and sheer guts of Sen. John McCain. The voters knew better. …

In our family, it's two boys and three girls in between – my strong and kind-hearted daughters Bristol, Willow and Piper. And in April, my husband Todd and I welcomed our littlest one into the world, a perfectly beautiful baby boy named Trig. From the inside, no family ever seems typical.

That's how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other … the same challenges and the same joys. Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge. …

Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities. …

I'm not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I've learned quickly, these past few days, that if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone. But here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion – I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country. …

This was the spirit that brought me to the governor's office, when I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau … when I stood up to the special interests, the lobbyists, big oil companies, and the good-ol' boys network.

Sudden and relentless reform never sits well with entrenched interests and power brokers. That's why true reform is so hard to achieve. But with the support of the citizens of Alaska, we shook things up. And in short order we put the government of our state back on the side of the people. I came to office promising major ethics reform, to end the culture of self-dealing. And today, that ethics reform is the law. …

Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America's energy problems – as if we all didn't know that already. But the fact that drilling won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all. …

I've noticed a pattern with our opponent. Maybe you have, too. We've all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers. And there is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform – not even in the state senate. This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word “victory” except when he's talking about his own campaign. But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed ... when the roar of the crowd fades away ... when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot – what exactly is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet?

The answer is to make government bigger ... take more of your money ... give you more orders from Washington ... and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.

America needs more energy ... our opponent is against producing it. Victory in Iraq is finally in sight ... he wants to forfeit. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay ... he wants to meet them without preconditions. Al-Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... he's worried that someone won't read them their rights? Government is too big ... he wants to grow it. Congress spends too much ... he promises more. Taxes are too high ... he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan, and let me be specific. The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes ... raise payroll taxes ... raise investment income taxes ... raise the death tax ... raise business taxes ... and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars. …

Here's how I look at the choice Americans face in this election. In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change. …

Among politicians, there is the idealism of high-flown speechmaking, in which crowds are stirringly summoned to support great things. And then there is the idealism of those leaders, like John McCain, who actually do great things. They're the ones who are good for more than talk ... the ones we have always been able to count on to serve and defend America. …

My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of “personal discovery.” This world of threats and dangers is not just a community, and it doesn't just need an organizer. And though both Sen. Obama and Sen. Biden have been going on lately about how they are always, quote, “fighting for you,” let us face the matter squarely. There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you ... in places where winning means survival and defeat means death ... and that man is John McCain. …

If character is the measure in this election ... and hope the theme ... and change the goal we share, then I ask you to join our cause. Join our cause and help America elect a great man as the next president of the United States. Thank you all, and may God bless America.

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