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Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, Is McCain's Surprise Choice

Hours earlier, Barack Obama accepted the Democrats' presidential nomination, the first black candidate of a major U.S. party. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

On Friday, Republican candidate John McCain announced his choice for vice president: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. She is forty-four years old and largely unknown in national politics. She was elected governor two years ago.

She will be the first woman on a Republican presidential ballot. The Democrats nominated Geraldine Ferraro for vice president in nineteen eighty-four. Governor Palin praised Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton for their historic campaigns. And she said her own candidacy means that women still have a chance for the White House.

She appeared with John McCain in Ohio Friday, on the Arizona senator's seventy-second birthday. The Republican Party opens its nominating convention Monday in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota.

On Thursday night, in Denver, Colorado, Democrat Barack Obama accepted his party's nomination to be the forty-fourth president.

BARACK OBAMA: "With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States."

The first-term senator from Illinois is the first black nominee of a major American political party. He is forty-seven, the Hawaiian-born son of a father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas. He narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in the primary season. She received eighteen million votes.

The race against John McCain was very close heading into the conventions. In large part, this week's Democratic convention was aimed at uniting the party.

Hillary and Bill Clinton gave speeches in support of Barack Obama. And she called on delegates during a roll call vote of the states to vote for him "with one voice." They suspended the voting and declared him the nominee.

His running mate is Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The longtime Delaware senator ran for president twenty years ago and again this year.

Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech before tens of thousands at an open-air sports stadium. He said America is at a defining moment, with the nation at war and the economy in great trouble. He said "the American promise" is threatened from eight years of what he called "the failed policies of George W. Bush."

Barack Obama said he does not think Senator McCain knows what is going on in the lives of Americans. The Democrat promised to cut taxes for ninety-five percent of working families. And he promised a goal to end dependence on oil from the Middle East in ten years. He also said he would only send troops into harm's way with a clear mission.

BARACK OBAMA: "I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression."

Barack Obama spoke on the anniversary of a major event in the American civil rights movement. Thursday was forty-five years since Martin Luther King Junior's "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve Ember.