Vermont’s Republican delegation happy with VP pick

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(Host) Vermont Republicans have rallied around Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, John McCain’s pick as a vice presidential running mate.

The state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention say revelations about Palin’s family have done nothing to dampen their enthusiasm.

VPR’s Ross Sneyd reports.

(Sneyd) Vermont’s Republican delegates say Sarah Palin adds depth to their party’s ticket.

They say the party rank-and-file have welcomed the Alaska governor to their ticket – despite revelations about her personal life.

Former Vermont House Speaker Walter Freed is one of those delegates.

(Freed) “I think she’s an excellent choice. … The things that made Senator McCain want to pick her as a choice, being a maverick, being a reform candidate, having the executive experience of the governor’s office, these things are the things that all of us as Republicans are looking to out of Sarah Palin and we think she’s a fine choice.”

(Sneyd) Over the weekend, the McCain campaign announced that Palin’s 17-year-old daughter was five months pregnant and would marry the baby’s father.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie said the situation is no reflection on Palin’s qualification to be vice president.

(Dubie) “Things happen in a family. We all can learn from our families. But families aren’t a part of politics. Senator Obama knows that. I’ll just reiterate the conversations that I’m having with people I talk to in Vermont, people here in Minneapolis: Everyone’s excited.”

(Sneyd) Critics have also questioned Palin’s one-time association with the Alaska Independence Party, which wants a statewide vote on whether Alaska should secede from the U.S.

And some Republicans worry about a state investigation into the dismissal of an Alaska state trooper who was involved in a divorce and custody battle with Palin’s sister.

Walter Freed says those issues haven’t come up in conversations he’s had at the convention.

(Freed) “The real discussion is about the greater issues of this campaign and what she adds to the ticket. This is a ticket of two reformers, two mavericks, looking to create change in Washington and I think that’s the part that inspires so many of us.”

(Sneyd) Freed says when Americans will also support Palin when they get to know her.

For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd.

(Host Outro) Palin is scheduled to speak to the convention – and accept the vice presidential nomination – tonight.

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