ST. PAUL — After days of mounting questions about her qualifications, Gov. Sarah Palin rallied the Republican National Convention tonight by touting her small-town government experience and ridiculing concerns about whether she is up to the job of vice president.

“Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown,” Ms. Palin said. “And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.”

The remark was a not-so-veiled shot at the career of Senator Barack Obama, who began his public service as a community organizer in Chicago.

In spirited remarks that were embraced by a crowd that was thirsty to learn more about her, Ms. Palin also took on what she portrays as an elite media establishment unwilling to accept that her government service in a small town and a sparsely populated state gives her the resume to serve at the highest levels of the federal government.

“I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone,” she said in her remarks. “But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion – I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country.”

At the conclusion of her address, Senator John McCain joined her on stage and asked the cheering crowd, “Don’t you think we made the right choice for the next vice president of the United States?

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