McCain selects Sarah Palin for VP

Well, the Alaskan governor can probably be seen smiling from ear to ear, as McCain attempts to add to his ability to get the female vote. There is no question that this selection was timed to combat Obama's speech induction speech last night. Below is an outline of Palan's background

Sarah Louise Heath Palin (born February 11, 1964) is the current Governor of Alaska, and the Republican vice presidential candidate for the November 2008 election.[1] She is expected to be the second female Vice Presidential candidate representing a major American political party (the first was Geraldine Ferraro). After being selected as the runner up in the 1984 Miss Alaska contest, Palin served two terms on the Wasilla, Alaska City Council from 1992 to 1996, was elected mayor of Wasilla in 1996, and ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor in 2002.

Brought to statewide attention because of her whistleblowing on ethical violations by state Republican Party leaders,[2] she won election in 2006 by first defeating the incumbent governor in the Republican primary, then a former Democratic Alaskan governor in the general election.

Family and personal background
Palin was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, the daughter of Charles and Sally (Sheeran) Heath.[3] Her family moved to Alaska when she was an infant.[4] Charles Heath was a popular science teacher and coached track.[4] The Heaths were avid outdoors enthusiasts; Sarah and her father would sometimes wake at 3 a.m. to hunt moose before school, and the family would regularly run 5k and 10k races.[4]

Palin was the point guard and captain for the Wasilla High School Warriors, in Wasilla, Alaska, when they won the Alaska small-school basketball championship in 1982; she earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" because of her intense play.[4] She played the championship game despite a stress fracture in her ankle, hitting a critical free throw in the last seconds.[4] Palin, who was also the head of the school Fellowship of Christian Athletes, would lead the team in prayer before games.[4]

In 1984, after winning the Miss Wasilla contest earlier that year, Palin finished second in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant which won her a scholarship to help pay her way through college.[4] In the Wasilla pageant, she played the flute and also won Miss Congeniality.

Palin holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Idaho where she also minored in politics.

Her husband, Todd, is a Native Yup'ik Eskimo.[4] Outside the fishing season, Todd works for BP at an oil field on the North Slope[5] and is a champion snowmobiler, winning the 2000-mile "Iron Dog" race four times.[4] The two eloped shortly after Palin graduated college; when they learned they needed witnesses for the civil ceremony, they recruited two residents from the old-age home down the street.[4] The Palin family lives in Wasilla, about 40 miles (64 km) north of Anchorage.[6]

She briefly worked as a sports reporter for local Anchorage television stations while also working as a commercial fisherman with her husband, Todd, her high school sweetheart.[4] One summer when she was working on Todd's fishing boat, the boat collided with a tender while she was holding onto the railing; Palin broke several fingers.[4]

On September 11, 2007, the Palins' son Track joined the Army. Eighteen years old at the time, he is the eldest of Palin's five children.[6] Track now serves in an infantry brigade and will be deployed to Iraq in September. She also has three daughters: Bristol, 17, Willow, 13, and Piper, 7.[7] On April 18, 2008, Palin gave birth to her second son, Trig Paxson Van Palin, who has Down syndrome.[8] She returned to the office three days after giving birth.[9] Palin refused to let the results of prenatal genetic testing change her decision to have the baby. "I'm looking at him right now, and I see perfection," Palin said. "Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?"[9]

Details of Palin's personal life have contributed to her political image. She hunts, eats moose hamburger, ice fishes, rides snowmobiles, and owns a float plane.[10][11] Palin holds a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association. She admits that she used marijuana when it was legal in Alaska, but says that she did not like it.[12]

Pre-gubernatorial political experience
Palin served two terms on the Wasilla City Council from 1992 to 1996. In 1996, she challenged the incumbent mayor, criticizing wasteful spending and high taxes.[4] The ex-mayor and sheriff tried to organize a recall campaign, but failed.[4] Palin kept her campaign promises, reducing her own salary, as well as reducing property taxes 60%.[4] She ran for reelection against the former mayor in 1999, winning by an even larger margin.[4][13] Palin was also elected president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors.[7]

In 2002, Palin made an unsuccessful bid for Lieutenant Governor, coming in second to Loren Leman in a four-way race. After Frank Murkowski resigned from his long-held U.S. Senate seat in mid-term to become governor, Palin interviewed to be his possible successor. Instead, Murkowski appointed his daughter, then-Alaska State Representative Lisa Murkowski.[4]

Governor Murkowski appointed Palin Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission,[14] where she served from 2003 to 2004 until resigning in protest over what she called the "lack of ethics" of fellow Alaskan Republican leaders, who ignored her whistleblowing complaints of legal violations and conflicts of interest.[4] After she resigned, she exposed the state Republican party's chairman, Randy Ruedrich, one of her fellow Oil & Gas commissioners, who was accused of doing work for the party on public time, and supplying a lobbyist with a sensitive e-mail.[15] Palin filed formal complaints against both Ruedrich and former Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes, who both resigned; Ruedrich paid a record $12,000 fine.[4]


Governor Palin visits a wounded soldier in Landstuhl, Germany, July 2007In 2006, Palin, running on a clean-government campaign, executed an upset victory over then-Gov. Murkowski in the Republican gubernatorial primary.[4] Despite the lack of support from party leaders and being outspent by her Democratic opponent, she went on to win the general election in November 2006, defeating former Governor Tony Knowles.[4] Palin said in 2006 that education, public safety, and transportation would be three cornerstones of her administration.[12]

When elected, Palin became the first woman to be Alaska's governor, and the youngest governor in Alaskan history at 42 years old upon taking office. Palin was also the first Alaskan governor born after Alaska achieved U.S. statehood. She was also the first Alaskan governor not to be inaugurated in Juneau, instead choosing to hold her inauguration ceremony in Fairbanks. She took office on December 4, 2006.

Highlights of Governor Palin's tenure include a successful push for an ethics bill, and also shelving pork-barrel projects supported by fellow Republicans. Palin successfully killed the Bridge to Nowhere project that had become a nationwide symbol of wasteful earmark spending.[9][16] "Alaska needs to be self-sufficient, she says, instead of relying heavily on 'federal dollars,' as the state does today."[10]

She has challenged the state's Republican leaders, helping to launch a campaign by Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell to unseat U.S. Congressman Don Young[17] and publicly challenging Senator Ted Stevens to come clean about the federal investigation into his financial dealings.[9] Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard praised Palin as a "politician of eye-popping integrity" and referred to her rise as "a great (and rare) story of how adherence to principle—especially to transparency and accountability in government—can produce political success."[10]

In 2007, Palin had an approval rating often in the 90s.[10] A poll published by Hays Research on July 28, 2008 showed Palin's approval rating at 80%.[18]

Energy policies
Palin's tenure is noted for her independence from big oil companies, while still promoting resource development.[10][9] Palin has announced plans to create a new sub-cabinet group of advisors, to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions within Alaska.[19]

Shortly after taking office, Palin rescinded an appointment by Murkowski of his former chief of staff Jim Clark to the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority, one of thirty-five appointments made by Murkowski in the last hour of his administration that she reversed.[20][21] Clark later pled guilty to conspiring with a defunct oil-field-services company to channel money into Frank Murkowski's re-election campaign.[22]

In March 2007, Palin presented the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA) as the new legal vehicle for building a natural gas pipeline from the state's North Slope.[23] Only one legislator, Representative Ralph Samuels, voted against the measure,[24] and in June Palin signed it into law.[25][26] On January 5, 2008, Palin announced that a Canadian company, Transcanada, was the sole AGIA-compliant applicant.[27][28]

In response to high oil and gas prices, and in response to the resulting state government budget surplus, Palin proposed giving Alaskans $100-a-month energy debit cards. She also proposed providing grants to electrical utilities so that they would reduce customers' rates.[29] She subsequently dropped the debit card proposal, and in its place she proposed to send Alaskans $1,200 directly and eliminate the gas tax.[30][31]

Social issues
Palin is strongly pro-life and belongs to Feminists for Life.[12]

She opposes same-sex marriage, but she has stated that she has gay friends and is receptive to gay and lesbian concerns about discrimination.[12] While the previous administration did not implement same-sex benefits, Palin complied with a state Supreme Court order and signed them into law.[32] She supported a democratic advisory vote from the public on whether there should be a constitutional amendment on the matter.[33] Alaska was one of the first U.S. states to pass a constitutional ban on gay marriage, in 1998, along with Hawaii.[34]

Palin's first veto was used to block legislation that would have barred the state from granting benefits to the partners of gay state employees. In effect, her veto granted State of Alaska benefits to same-sex couples. The veto occurred after Palin consulted with Alaska's attorney general on the constitutionality of the legislation.[35]

Matanuska Maid Dairy closure
When the Alaska Creamery Board recommended closing Matanuska Maid Dairy, an unprofitable state-owned business, Palin objected, citing concern for the impact on dairy farmers and the fact that the Dairy had just received $600,000 in state money. When Palin learned that only the Board of Agriculture and Conservation could appoint Creamery Board members, she simply replaced the entire membership of the Board of Agriculture and Conservation.[10][36] The new board, led by businesswoman Kristan Cole, reversed the decision to close.[36] The new board approved milk price increases offered by the dairy in an attempt to control fiscal losses, even though milk from Washington was already offered in Alaskan stores at lower prices.[37] In the end, the dairy was forced to close, and the state tried to sell the assets to pay off its debts but received no bids.[38][39]

In the first days of her administration, Palin followed through on a campaign promise to sell the Westwind II jet purchased (on a state government credit account) by the Murkowski administration. The state placed the jet for sale on eBay three times. In August 2007, the jet was sold for $2.7 million.[40]

Shortly after becoming governor, Palin canceled an 11-mile (18-kilometer) gravel road outside of Juneau to a mine. This reversed a decision made in the closing days or hours of the Murkowski Administration.[41]

In June 2007, Palin signed into law the largest operating budget in Alaska's history ($6.6 billion).[42] At the same time, she used her veto power to make the second-largest cuts of the construction budget in state history. The US$237 million in cuts represented over 300 local projects, and reduced the construction budget to nearly US$1.6 billion.[43]

Commissioner dismissal
On July 11, 2008, Governor Palin dismissed Walter Monegan as Commissioner of Public Safety and instead offered him a position as executive director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which he subsequently turned down.[44][45] Monegan alleged shortly after his dismissal that it may have been partly due to his reluctance to fire an Alaska State Trooper, Mike Wooten, who had been involved in a divorce and child custody battle with Palin's sister, Molly McCann.[46] In 2006, before Palin was governor, Wooten was briefly suspended for ten days for threatening to kill McCann's (and Palin's) father, tasering his 11-year-old stepson, and violating game laws. After a union protest, the suspension was reduced to five days.[47]

Governor Palin asserts that her dismissal of Monegan was unrelated to the fact that he had not fired Wooten, and asserts that Monegan was instead dismissed for not adequately filling state trooper vacancies, and because he "did not turn out to be a team player on budgeting issues."[48] Palin acknowledges that a member of her administration, Frank Bailey, did contact the Department of Public Safety regarding Wooten, but both Palin and Bailey say that happened without her knowledge and was unrelated to her dismissal of Monegan.[48] Bailey was put on leave for two months for acting outside the scope of his authority as the Director of Boards and Commissions.

In response to Palin's statement that she had nothing to hide, in August 2008 the Alaska Legislature hired Steve Branchflower to investigate Palin and her staff for possible abuse of power surrounding the dismissal, though lawmakers acknowledge that "Monegan and other commissioners serve at will, meaning they can be fired by Palin at any time."[49] The investigation is being overseen by Democratic State Senator Hollis French, who says that the Palin administration has been cooperating and thus subpoenas are unnecessary.[50] The Palin administration itself was the first to release an audiotape of Bailey making inquiries about the status of the Wooten investigation.[48][51]

Wooten and the police union alleged that the governor had improperly released his employment files in his divorce case. However, McCann's attorney released a signed waiver from Wooten demonstrating that Wooten had authorized the release of his files through normal discovery procedures.[52][53]

The above information was found at wiki

Joe Biden picked as Obama's VP

Here are the Democratic Vice President's stance on the issues.

Domestic issues

Joe Biden has been given a 71% approval rating from Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) indicating a pro-rehab record on crime. He voted in support of funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. He voted for the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which greatly increased the number of federal capital crimes, but also voted against limiting death penalty appeals. He voted for heavier punishments for hate crimes and supports a Federal Bureau of Investigation registry for sex offenders. The Violence Against Women Act was drafted by Senator Joseph Biden, which enhanced the investigation and prosecution of violent crime perpetrated against women, increased pre-trial detention of the accused, provided for automatic and mandatory restitution of those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted.

Biden received a 91% voting record from the National Education Association (NEA) showing a pro-teacher union voting record. He supports abstinence education, is against student vouchers and affirms the Constitutional right to voluntary prayer in school.[1] He voted in favor of Educational Savings Accounts. In regard to the No Child Left Behind Act Biden stated,

Classrooms are too big; we need smaller classrooms, period. A lot of teachers are going to be retiring. We need a program where we attract the best and brightest students coming out of our colleges to be teachers, and pay them.[2]

He voted in favor of the Act in 2001, but has subsequently called that vote "a mistake."[3] He feels that the program is underfunding the education system.

He also supported the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which abolished education grants for prisoners.[4]

Biden opposes drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and supports governmental funding to find new energy sources.[5]

Biden believes action must be taken on global warming. He supports the creation of a new treaty on climate change that would require emissions reductions from developing countries such as Brazil, India, China, and Mexico. He has also stated his support for investment in technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the creation of a "cap and trade" system. Biden supports the promotion of renewable energy, including biodiesel fuels but not ethanol.

While campaigning for president in 2007, Biden said that, if elected, his top priority would be "energy security." He has also been quoted as saying "If I could wave a wand, and the Lord said I could solve one problem, I would solve the energy crisis."[6]

He co-sponsored the "Sense of the Senate" resolution calling on the United States to be a part of the United Nations climate negotiations and the "Boxer-Sanders Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act", the most stringent climate bill in the United States Senate.[7] He voted "Yes" on a $3.1B for emergency oil assistance for hurricane-hit areas and "No" for drilling in ANWR on national security grounds and defunding renewable and solar energy.[8]

Gun issues
Biden was given an "F" by the National Rifle Association (NRA) showing an anti-gun ownership voting record.[9] He supports reinstating the Federal Assault Weapons Ban and voted against prohibition of lawsuits against gun manufacturers. He has voted to ban assault rifles and to end the "gun show loophole", stating that no one should be able to walk into a gun show and buy a gun more easily than they could at a normal store.

Biden supported the 2007 Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill. He supports guest-worker visas, and the building of a wall along the border as a deterrent to drug trafficking. He voted to provide Social Security to illegal immigrants and supports a path to citizenship.

Homeland Security
After the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, a domestic terrorist bomb attack that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Biden drafted anti-terrorist legislation, which was ultimately defeated. He later claimed publicly on several occasions that the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 — which eased restrictions on the Executive branch in the surveillance and detention of those suspected of terrorism or facilitating it — was essentially a duplicate of the anti-terrorist legislation he had drafted years earlier.[10] Biden, naturally, supported the PATRIOT Act but voted to limit wiretapping on the bill. He supports implementing the 9/11 Commission's recommendations to fight terrorists but voted to preserve habeas corpus rights to the alleged terror suspects serving in Guantanamo Bay. In the 1990s he voted in favor of 36 vetoed military projects and supports efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation. He was given a 60% approval rating from the American Civil Liberties Union reflecting a mixed voting record on civil rights issues. During a debate on November 15, 2007 Biden clarified the effect of the PATRIOT Act and his continued support for it and his opposition to racial profiling.[11]

Internet privacy and file sharing gave Biden a 37.5 in its Technology Issues Voter's Guide.[12]They referred to Biden as "Pro-RIAA" and "Pro-FBI" in his file sharing and privacy stances. Biden sponsored a bill that would make it a felony to record internet radio,[13] and signed a letter that urged the Justice Department to prosecute file sharers.[14] Biden also sponsored two bills, the Comprehensive Counter Terrorism Act and the Violent Crime Control Act, both of which contained language effectively banning encryption.[15] Phil Zimmerman, creator of PGP, has said it was Biden's legislation (SB 266) that "led me to publish PGP electronically for free that year, shortly before the measure was defeated after vigorous protest by civil libertarians and industry groups."[16]

Economic issues
Biden is against the Bush administration's tax cuts and would "take back one year of the tax cuts for Americans who make over a million dollars a year, and put this money in a dedicated Homeland Security and Public Safety Trust Fund to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations and invest in law enforcement."[17][dead link] Biden supports a balanced budget amendment.

Biden was given a 32% approval rating from the United States Chamber of Commerce. He favors taking burdens off corporations to prevent outsourcing.[vague] He voted yes on repealing tax subsidies for companies that outsource jobs and yes on restrictions on personal bankruptcy.

Biden cites high health care and energy costs as two major threats to the prosperity of American businesses, and believes that addressing these issues will improve American economic competitiveness.[18][dead link]

Biden was given a 100% approval rating from AFL-CIO indicating a heavily pro-union voting record. However, he was one of the Democrats to vote for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993.[19] Biden was given a 42% approval rating from the Cato Institute, revealing a mixed record on free trade. He opposed the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) but supports normalizing relations with China, Vietnam and the Andean nations. He opposes free trade agreements with Oman, Singapore, and Chile.

Biden was given a 100% approval rating from the American Public Health Association (APHA). He supports funding for health care to allow all people access. Biden is opposed to the privatization of Social Security and was given an 89% approval rating from the Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA), reflecting a pro-senior citizen voting record. Voted in support of welfare block grants and supports welfare reform.

Foreign policy
The Council on Foreign Relations reported on Biden's political positions.[20]

As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2002 he stated that Saddam Hussein was "a long term threat and a short term threat to our national security" and that United States has "no choice but to eliminate the threat".[21] After the Bush Administration rejected his effort to pass a resolution authorizing military action in Iraq only after the exhaustion of diplomatic efforts,[22] Biden voted in favor of the invasions of Iraq in 2003. Biden has since said that he believes it was a mistake to support the Iraq war because it has been mismanaged by the Bush Administration. Regarding his belief that Iraq maintained stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, Biden stated in 2007 that inspectors had seen and cataloged the existence of the materials required to make such weapons prior to their expulsion from Iraq and pondered why Hussein didn't tell the international community that he had disposed of them.[21]

Biden is a leading advocate for partitioning Iraq.[23] He supports a "five-step plan" towards removing troops from Iraq. In November 2006, Biden and Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, released a comprehensive strategy to end sectarian violence in Iraq. Rather than continuing the present approach or withdrawing, the plan calls for "a third way": federalizing Iraq and giving Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis "breathing room" in their own regions.[24][dead link] The key points include:

Giving Iraq's major groups a measure of autonomy in their own regions. A central government would be left in charge of interests such as defending the borders and distributing oil revenues.
Guaranteeing Sunnis — who have no oil rights — a proportionate share of oil revenue and reintegrating those who have not fought against Coalition forces.
Increase, not end, reconstruction assistance but insist that Arab Gulf states fund it and tie it to the creation of a jobs program and to the protection of minority rights.
Initiate a diplomatic offensive to enlist the support of the major powers and neighboring countries for a political settlement in Iraq and create an Oversight Contact Group to enforce regional commitments.
Begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces in 2007 and withdraw most of them by 2008, leaving a small follow-on force for security and policing actions.
The plan, named The Biden-Brownback Resolution, passed on the Senate floor 75-23 on September 25, 2007, including 26 Republican votes.

Biden favors an American deployment of troops to Sudan. In support of this, Biden said senior U.S. military officials in Europe told him that 2,500 U.S. troops could "radically change the situation on the ground now".

Biden is opposed to American financing of abstinence only programs to combat HIV-AIDS in Africa. In 2007, he cosponsored the HIV Prevention Act which would end President Bush's mandate that one third of all funds be earmarked to abstinence only programs.

Biden is highly supportive of Israel and favors a two-state solution to the Palestinian Conflict. He stated that "the Arab nations have known that there is no daylight between us and Israel." Biden sponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006.

North Korea
Biden favors open dialogue with North Korea and describes them as a "paper tiger", unable to directly cause harm to America. However, in June 2008, he called the situation one of the "the three most important things that the next president is going to have to deal with", along with Iran and Iraq.

Biden favors direct diplomacy with Iran but supports strategically placed sanctions on the regime if it does not comply with American demands. He stated, "we should complement this pressure by presenting a detailed, positive vision for U.S.-Iran relations if Iran does the right thing." In 2007 Biden voted against a measure to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.

Biden strongly opposes the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba and supports the continuation of the trade embargo as well as the democratization of the island after the dictator's death. In 2006, Biden stated, "We should be putting together a plan as to how we are going to play a positive role in moving that country, after the Castros are gone, to—more toward democratization and liberalization in their society."

Social issues

Abortion, stem cell research, cloning
Joe Biden believes that the Roe v. Wade decision should remain intact. He is quoted as saying, "The best policy for our country on the question of abortion is a policy of Government neutrality. Put another way: I do not believe that the government should be involved in making judgments on whether a woman can, or should have an abortion, or – if she chooses to do so – in paying for that abortion."[citation needed]

He voted in favor of a 1999 bill to ban in most circumstances "partial birth abortion"[25] and on the 2003 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.[26] Biden has defended these votes as recently as April 2007.[27][dead link] He has also stated his opposition to federal funding of abortions.[28][dead link]

He has joined with Democrats in voting against parental notification and a ban on abortions on military bases. Biden's record on abortion is pro-choice, receiving a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America in four of the last five years, although he received a 36% as recently as 2003. Biden pledged that he would appoint Supreme Court justices that share his beliefs.[29][dead link] He has also stated his opposition to the Mexico City Policy, and voted in favor of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act in 1994. Biden supports federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and voted to expand development and voted against a 1998 ban on cloning.

Drug law
Biden favors diverting drug offenders out of the nation's prison system. He is ostensibly against making stricter laws for drug offenses, but helped in the creation of a Drug Czar, a government official overseeing all anti-drug operations. According to his campaign website, he is for increased penalties against those caught selling drugs within 1000 feet of schools.[30] He voted against restrictions on children obtaining violent videos and supports funding for the Boys and Girls Clubs in underprivileged areas. He was the drafter and chief sponsor of the RAVE Act, a law that aimed to crack down on MDMA-fueled raves but which was criticized by some as being too broad in scope.[31] The law, which was later renamed the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act of 2003, was additionally controversial because it was passed without public hearing or debate in Congress, attached to an unrelated child protection bill. Critics of the law assert that it has since been used by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration to intimidate those organizing rallies and fund-raisers to support drug-law reform.[32]

LGBT issues
Biden voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act[33] and against the Federal Marriage Amendment.[34] He supports states rights to establish civil unions and favors adding sexual orientation to the criteria for a hate crime.[35]

The above information was found Wiki, here is Biden's stance on various issues.