McCain Hits It Out of the Park With Palin (UPDATE: ABC says Palin is not the pick — still in Alaska, UPDATE: CNBC says it is Palin, now confirmed by many sources)

[UPDATE 10:35 Campaign confirms Palin to Fox News!
UPDATE 10:19 a.m.: CNBC says it is Palin! Update: And so does the Chicago Tribune. The campaign is still mum and I expect it will be until the formal announcement.

[Update 10:05 a.m.: Carl Cameron just said Palin’s staff in Alaska and in Washington say they cannot account for her whereabouts at this time and that their comments about her schedule were as of last night. If it is not her, I think we would be getting a denial by now, but maybe the absence of a denial is just the McCain campaign’s way of keeping speculation alive. Compare this to the Biden leak. McCain sure shows who can keep a secret. Here is the report of the possible Palin sighting on the charter plane.]

Last night at about 3 a.m. I posted the following: “Palin? The talk tonight was almost exclusively Pawlenty, with many all but calling it for him, but I am still wondering if that was meant to throw people off track. Red County predicts Sarah Palin to be McCain’s choice based on a chartered plane from Alaska to Ohio.” Last night I pulled up Palin’s Wikipedia page and someone had added to her bio there that she had been chosen by John McCain as the 2008 Vice Presidential candidate. I Just checked and it has been taken down.

I had not followed the Veepstakes closely and did not know all that much about Palin. After looking into her background last night I went to bed praying McCain had picked her, but was afraid of getting my hopes up and being disappointed. This piece of information from Palin’s biography was emailed to me last night, “Palin was the point guard and captain for the Wasilla High School Warriors when they won the Alaska small-school basketball championship in 1982; she earned the nickname “Sarah Barracuda” because of her intense play. She played the championship game despite a stress fracture in her ankle, hitting a critical free throw in the last seconds. Palin, who was also the head of the school Fellowship of Christian Athletes, would lead the team in prayer before games.”

I then found this list of top ten reasons to choose Palin from Laurie Morrow at Democracy Project. Here are a few of them. Read them all:

REASON #10: PALIN’S YOUTH COMPLEMENTS McCAIN’S EXPERIENCE
For months, Obama’s supporters have touted the Senator’s youthfulness as one of his qualifications for office (a strategy they’re apt to scale back on, given their selection of a Vice President nearly as old as McCain). If youth is seen as a plus by voters, then Alaska Governor Sarah Palin fits the bill. At 44, she is 3 years younger than Barack Obama, and the youngest person ever to be elected Governor of Alaska. Palin is also the state’s first Governor to have been born after Alaska achieved statehood, as well as Alaska’s first female Governor.

REASON #9: PALIN PUTS PRINCIPLE AND THE PEOPLE FIRST
After her initial, unsuccessful, run against him for the Governor’s office, former Alaska Governor Murkowski appointed Palin Ethics Commissioner of Alaska’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. If Murkowski figured this appointment would pressure Palin into overlooking misbehavior by her fellow Republicans, he figured wrong. Within a year, Palin resigned in a very public protest over the ethics displayed by Alaska’s Republican leadership, filing a formal complaint against Randy Ruedrich, who was not only a fellow Oil and Gas Commissioner, but also the chairman of Alaska’s Republican party.

If Senator McCain wants a running mate willing to be a maverick to Party, but never to Principle, he need look no further than Sarah Palin.

REASON #8: PALIN KNOWS HOW TO RUN, AND WIN, AGAINST TOUGH ODDS
To become Governor, Palin had to defeat both a former Democratic Governor and the incumbent Republican Governor – which she did, and won. Palin defeated Murkowski in the Republican primary, and then her Democratic opponent in the election. She knows how to campaign successfully, against seemingly impossible odds.

REASON #7: PALIN IS A REFORM GOVERNOR WITH BIPARTISAN APPEAL
Palin doesn’t just criticize pork-barrel spending – she slashes it. A few days after she assumed office as Governor, she put the Westwind II jet her predecessor had purchased up for sale, on eBay. The jet eventually sold, in 2007, for $2.7 million, slightly above its 2005 purchase price. Palin canceled roads and construction projects designed to benefit friends of the prior administration.

Update (9:05 a.m.): Carl Cameron just said someone told him that Sarah Palin was not on that charter plane and is still in Alaska. I hope that is not true. I am really excited about the idea of Palin as Veep. Whoever it is, McCain has done one heck of a job keeping this thing secret. If John McCain is president, our goverment secrets will surely be safe.

Update 9:10: The report that I mentioned in the update below saying Palin was still in Alaska is posted at the ABC website. Whoever he has chosen, McCain has certainly made it exciting. Michelle Malkin just linked to this list of other possible Veep picks. Scroll to end for additional updates.]

Update (9:25 a.m.): I agree with Erick Erickson at Redstate. McCain has pulled off the ultimate head fake and now no matter who he has picked, there is a frenzied buzz that has knocked Obama’s speech from the top of the page. Brilliant.

Update (9:40 a.m.): Drudge still has a picture of a McCain-Palin button up top. In addition to the story that Palin is still in Alaska, her press secretary has now confirmed her schedule for today which has her in Alaska. The bloggers I am hearing from are virtually throwing out just about every name you can imagine. Barack who?

In spite of the ABC story that Palin is still in Alaska, I have not yet heard a “I’m not it” from Palin. I think at this point the only firm denials have come from Pawlenty and Romney. It looks wide open.

High Stakes Veeping
It's Palin!!