McCain taps outsider Palin to be VP

Republican presidential hopeful picks governor from Alaska--the first woman ever named to the Republican ticket--to be his surprise running mate.

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Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate, a surprise choice on the eve of the National Republican Convention.

John McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Alaska governor's office

Palin, a little-known first-term governor with a reputation for being fiscally conservative, is the first woman named to the Republican presidential ticket. McCain officially introduced Palin as his vice presidential candidate during a rally Friday in Dayton, Ohio.

The selection of Palin, 44, surprised many GOP observers. Palin's name had not even been mentioned among prospective running mates. In making this choice, McCain passed over contenders with higher national profiles, including Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge among them.

Palin is a former city council member and mayor of the small town of Wasilla who rose to prominence on a reform policy. She was installed as governor in December 2006 after challenging the incumbent governor of her own party in a primary.

Palin served on Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission from 2003 to 2004 until resigning in protest over what she called the "lack of ethics."

Palin has proposed providing electrical utilities with grants to reduce customers' rates. In response to higher gas prices, Palin proposed giving Alaskans $100-a-month energy debit cards, a plan she later abandoned in favor of a proposal to send Alaskans $1,200 directly and eliminate the gas tax.

She is married with five children. Her husband, Todd, is an engineer in the oil industry.

We'll have more on her technology policies following this report.