Sen. John McCain made a surprise pick for a running mate, choosing a self-described hockey-mom from Alaska, known for her staunch conservative credentials.
At a rally Friday in Ohio, McCain announced his choice for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is largely unknown outside her state. At 44, Palin is three years younger than Obama.
Click play to watch CBN News Reporter Melissa Charbonneau's report, along with more insight from Dr. Robert Stacey from Regent School of Government.
"I am honored," she said as she stood by a beaming McCain in her first few seconds in the national spotlight. Palin is the first woman named to a spot on a Republican ticket.
McCain said he had been looking for a political partner "who can best help me shake up Washington and make it start working again for the people who are counting on us."
He said Palin was "Exactly who I need. She's exactly who this country needs to help us fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second."
Strong Pro-Life Candidate
Palin, who is strongly pro-life, had her beliefs tested last year while pregnant with her fifth child. Prenatal testing showed the possibility for Down Syndrome.
But the results didn't change her mind to keep her son. In April, Palin gave birth to her second son Trig Paxson Van Palin who has Down syndrome.
"I'm looking at him right now, and I see perfection," Palin told The Associated Press in May. "Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?"
Janice Shaw Crouse, spokesperson for Concerned Women for America said McCain's choice is "refreshing," arguing that she is "pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-family."
"Take that feminists," Crouse said. "Here is a woman of accomplishment who brings a fresh face to traditional values and models the type of woman most girls want to become." Read more here.
Palin also belongs to the pro-life organization Feminists for Life. In 2006, Palin told The Anchorage Daily News that no woman should have to choose between her career, education and her child.
"I believe in the strength and the power of women, and the potential of every human life," she said. Read more here.
Mathew Staver, dean of Liberty University School of Law, also praised McCain's choice.
""It's an absolutely brilliant choice," he said. "This will absolutely energize McCain's campaign and energize conservatives," he predicted.
Former Massachusetts Gov.Mitt Romney, who at one point was considered a top vice presidential pick, also affirmed McCain's choice Friday, in a statement released to the press.
"Governor Palin's story is one that all Americans will find inspiring,"he said. "She's a Washington outsider with a commitment to the conservative principles that will make our nation stronger."
Palin's oldest son, 18-year-old Track, joined the Army in 2007 and will be deployed to Iraq in September. She also has three daughters: Bristol, 17; Willow, 13; and Piper, 7. She gave birth to her youngest son in April.
She became governor of her state in 2006 after dispatching the former governor in the general election.
Source: CBN News, USA Today, The Associated Press