• This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," August 30, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    PAUL GIGOT, HOST: Coming up next on the "Journal Editorial Report," John McCain's VP surprise. What Alaska Governor Sarah Palin brings to the ticket and the risks of nominating a newcomer.

    Plus, our GOP convention preview. After eight years of a Bush presidency, is John McCain poised to remake the Republican Party? And a look back at the Denver Democrats. What Barack Obama's big speech says about his strategy for the fall.

    The "Journal Editorial Report" begins right now.

    Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.

    In a major surprise, John McCain announced Alaska's Sarah Palin as his running mate yesterday, saying that he's found in the 44-year-old first- term governor a fellow maverick and political reformer.


    SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She knows where she comes from and she knows who she works for. She stands up for what's right and she doesn't let anyone tell her to sit down.

    She's fought oil companies and party bosses and do-nothing bureaucrats and anyone who puts their interests before the interests of the people she swore an oath to serve. She's exactly who I need.


    GIGOT: Joining the panel this week, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor Dan Henninger, editorial board member Jason Riley, Washington columnist Kim Strassel and in St. Paul opinionjournal.com columnist John Fund.

    Kim, you advised John McCain to pick Governor Palin. Now you have to defend yourself. What does she bring to this ticket? 44-year-old, 20- month governor?

    KIM STRASSEL, WASHINGTON COLUMNIST: She's a moose hunter! I think you've got to look at this strategically. Look at who Sarah Palin is. You know, you have a Republican base that continues to be very demoralized about corruption, about overspending. This is a woman who has staked her claim in Alaska on ethics, on spending reform, on getting rid of earmarks and corruption. She's probably going to have an appeal for independents who like her ideas of good governance, that she's an outsider from Washington. She's going to strengthen John McCain on the social conservative front. She is a mother of five children, pro-life and the social base is going to like that a lot. This adds a lot to his ticket.

    GIGOT: All right, Jason, what's the down side?

    JASON RILEY, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: All true what Kim said, but I think she brings diversity to this ticket which is important. There are a lot of disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters out there. This is a play for some of those voters. Also, this would be difficult for Joe Biden, the VP Democratic nominee, to go after her very hard, a mother of five, that is. It won't look very good.

    GIGOT: You're saying that's an asset.

    What about the risks, Dan? Isn't this risky in the sense she doesn't have a lot of experience, hasn't been on the national stage. We know what the media can do to particularly to a Republicans who make any mistake.

    DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST AND DEPUTY EDITOR: That's right. The presidential election is truly the big leagues. That was one of the arguments made on behalf of Mitt Romney. He knew the drill. He had been out there. He had been vetted. And by and large he was a successful candidate as a candidate. Sarah Palin has never been on the national stage. She is — first of all she has to learn the policy details quickly.

    GIGOT: Particularly foreign policy. She has to debate Joe Biden. Already you can here the Democratic talking points, saying, boy, I'm looking forward to that debate, Biden versus Palin on pronouncing the name of Saakashvili, Georgia vs. Russia.

    HENNINGER: She may only talk about foreign policy for 15 minutes in that debate. Look at the fishbowl this people campaign in. She will be followed every waking moment. If she stumbles it can just blow up in John McCain's face.