CANDY CROWLEY: Well, I don’t think that’s going to happen in a single speech…but tonight she basically
has to introduce herself. This is a woman who so far has been defined by stories about her, not about her own speech…[T]onight she has to tell a little bit about who she is and to me, this may well be the most important speech for the McCain ticket during this convention…She has to prove herself something other than a small town mayor and a two-year governor of Alaska. She has to show that she has some stuff that she can rouse the crowd. It’s not a big deal here to rouse this crowd because they’re for her. She’s got to connect through that tv screen and say here’s who I am.


JOE SCARBOROUGH: What does she have to do, Mike Murphy?

MIKE MURPHY [“REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST”]: She has to tell her story. The hall is going to love her. And she has to make people understand that she is a real life governor ready day one to be there as John McCain’s right hand and a mission to change Washington. She is going to kill tonight…

MSNBC, again:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Harold, what does Sarah Palin need to do tonight to deliver for the McCain campaign?

HAROLD FORD [DLC Chairman]: She needs to be a sympathetic figure. And I don’t say that because she is a woman but she has to be sympathetic. She has had to lay out who she is and what her family represents and list two or three accomplishments as governor…

More from MSNBC:

NORA O’DONNELL: Michael, what does she need to say tonight?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH [Radio talk show host]: I don’t think that it’s so much what she needs to say but the way in which she says it. She needs to have a commanding presence….everybody wants to look at her and see if she’s in command. I think if it’s a strong delivery, it matters not what she says but how she appears.

In sum, Sarah Palin, you must: introduce yourself; tell your back-story and sell your maverick-ness. Actually, what you say doesn’t matter. It’s how you “appear.” So, connect through the TV; seem presidential but also be “sympathetic” — oh, and, also, “commanding.”

Got it?

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.