(CNN) – A leading House Democrat said Thursday John McCain’s choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is a “risky” move that could ultimately prove disastrous to the Republican prospects in November.
Meanwhile, a top Senate Democrat said the pick is a “Hail Mary pass” and a “roll of the dice,” in what is the initial reactions from McCain’s rival party.
Speaking on a South Carolina radio station, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn likened the choice of Palin to Walter Mondale’s choice of Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and George H.W. Bush’s pick of Dan Quayle in 1988. Both picks — relatively unknown political figures at the time — generated initial excitement but were ultimately deemed poor choices by many political observers.
“I think (her selection) would be something similar to Dan Quayle — Dan Quayle proved to be sort of an embarrassment as a campaigner, being thrust on a national stage like that could be very tough,” Clyburn said. “Now Mondale tried to shake things up by going with Geraldine Ferraro, she proved to be a disaster as a running mate. And as a campaigner, she was absolutely awful.”
“And so I just think that it is very risky for McCain to do this, but it may be all he has left,” Clyburn also said.
In an issued statement, Sen. Chuck Schumer said Palin is significantly mismatched to Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden and said the prospect of her becoming president is “troubling.”
“It is a real role of the dice and shows how John McCain, Karl Rove et al realize what a strong position the Obama-Biden team and Democrats in general are in in this election,” Schumer said. “Certainly the choice of Palin puts to rest any argument about inexperience on the Democratic team and while Palin is a fine person, her lack of experience makes the thought of her assuming the presidency troubling. I particularly look forward to the Biden-Palin debate in Missouri.”
The Obama campaign also told CNN Friday the choice of Palin takes the question of experience “off the table.”
“Experience is being taken off the table considering you’re putting someone within a heartbeat of the presidency with the thinnest foreign policy experience in history,” spokesman Bill Burton said.