Gov.: Palin Is "Perfect Candidate" For Mo.

Gov. Matt Blunt, R-Mo., on "Face The Nation," Oct. 19, 2008.
CBS
Countering new criticism of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Gov. Matt Blunt, R-Mo., called her the "perfect candidate" for his state.

"I can take Sarah Palin to my Stratford hometown or any community in our state and she would immediately connect with people," Blunt said on CBS News' Face The Nation. "She understands the real world. She understands the struggles that ordinary families face. She is the type of person we need in Washington, D.C. She's a proven reformer. And she's been a great help in Missouri, as we move forward this campaign."

Blunt was responding to statements made by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who served in the Bush administration but endorsed Democratic Barack Obama on Sunday.

"I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States," Powell said. (Read more about Powell's endorsement.)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., also appearing on Face The Nation with Blunt, called Palin's selection as a running mate "extremely bad judgment" by John McCain that would hurt him in her state of Florida.

"I mean, there have been several examples of John McCain's bad judgment, Sarah Palin being the top of the list, as far as choices are concerned," she told host Bob Schieffer.

Wasserman Schultz also said Palin has "really disturbed" the Jewish community in Florida, despite the fact that she is strong on Israel.

"She has extreme right-wing fringe views on most of the issues that the Jewish community cares about … opposed to a woman's right to choose, even in the case of rape or incest … really wrong on civil rights and civil liberties, wrong on public education, wrong on health care," she said.

On Israel, Wasserman Schultz said, "It is most definitely of interest to the Jewish community, but the Jewish community wants a president and vice president that share all of our values, not just some of them."

"And Sarah Palin … and John McCain are wrong on the issues that matter to working families - establishing universal health care, investing in alternative energy research, bringing our troops home."

Former Republican Rep. Rob Portman of Ohio and Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia also appeared on Face The Nation. All four guests said they were confident their preferred candidate would win in their states, all battlegrounds.

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Portman (left) countered Wasserman Schultz by pointing to the large crowds Palin has received in Ohio.

"She brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the ticket. She's got great executive experience. As the two governors, probably, on the show this morning, would agree, that's the best experience to be president," Portman said. "She's the most popular governor in America. So I think she has a lot of assets she's bringing to the campaign."

As for McCain's chances in the state, Portman pointed to the Republican nominee's economic message.

"John McCain has, really, a very simple message now, which is that, for the economy, Barack Obama is going to be risky. And it's very clear. If you look at what Senator Obama is proposing, in terms of taxes, he is saying he wants to tax the generators of what little economic activity we have out there," Portman said.

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But Kaine (left), in support of Obama, took an opposite view of the candidates' plans for the economy.

"If you compare the records and plans of Senator McCain and Senator Obama, what you see is that it's Senator Obama that is going to do tax relief for the middle class. 'Joe the Plumber' gets a tax break under Senator Obama's plan, not under Senator McCain's. Senator Obama has tax relief for the middle class and also for small businesses," he said.

All four panelists also reacted to Powell's endorsement of Obama and how it would play in their states.

"I don't know that it will make a difference in Missouri," Blunt said. "Missourians admire Colin Powell for his many years of service to our country, but in the end they're going to evaluate where the candidates on issues that are important to them."

Portman, the other Republican, echoed that sentiment: "I don't think it makes a big difference. Endorsements are typically overrated, I think. But Colin Powell is well-respected. I was interested to see that he said this morning that he thought either man would be a good president."

But Democrats Kaine and Wasserman Schultz disagreed, saying they thought the endorsement would matter.

"General Powell is not seen as a dividing figure but a uniting figure. And so him vouching for Senator Obama convinces those of us who want to see a greater unification of the nation that he's the right guy," Kaine said.

"We have thousands of military retirees in the state of Florida," Wasserman Schultz said. "And I think what Colin Powell's endorsement does say is it shows that Barack Obama can build bridges across party lines. He's going to be able to reach out and bring in and embrace different ideas and, you know, isn't necessarily, you know, cut from one particular cloth."



Read the full "Face the Nation" transcript here.