"A star is born," said Chris Wallace on Fox.
"A star is born," Blitzer said.
"A star is born," said Anderson Cooper on CNN.
Palin combined jokes about being a hockey mom with searing criticism of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. It was a spur to a convention audience ready to get worked up, to a large extent because Republican leaders had pushed the notion that the news media was being sexist or too aggressive in questioning her qualifications for the job.
For a relative rookie on the national stage, however, she understood the nuances of speaking to a television audience better than the more experienced and fiery Rudolph Giuliani.
Cameras lingered on shots of her family in the audience — her dozing infant passed from her husband to a daughter, her pregnant teen-aged daughter gripping the hand of her boyfriend, her soldier son about to be dispatched to Iraq.
"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," Palin said.
At that, some on the convention floor chanted "N-B-C, N-B-C."
Her speech was the main event Wednesday, and may prove the most important in the convention for the GOP. During its coverage, CNN ran a countdown clock in the corner of its screen, ticking down the hours, minutes and seconds to when Palin was due to take the stage in St. Paul, Minn.
"So far this week the focus has been on John McCain's running mate, perhaps because everyone loves a good mystery," Katie Couric said in opening CBS' prime-time coverage.
Former McCain rival Mike Huckabee, part of the undercard Wednesday, thanked the "elite media" for uniting Republicans behind its ticket.
"The reporting of the past few days has proven tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert," Huckabee said in an applause line to the convention.
Republicans may have been betrayed by the giant video screen that has been an effective backdrop for convention speakers. Giuliani spoke in front of a New York City skyline rising out of the water, but in close-up shots it seemed he was backed by a wall of undulating mud.
The political infighting extended to the rapid Internet distribution Wednesday of an exchange, reportedly done after an MSNBC segment on the campaign with NBC News' Chuck Todd, the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy, a former McCain aide. Their comments were caught on a live microphone but weren't played on the air; NBC News wouldn't comment on how the material became public.
The remarks could not be independently verified, but Murphy and Noonan appear to be critical of Palin's selection. Noonan is heard to question whether Palin was the most qualified choice, and says, "It's over."
But Noonan later wrote on The Wall Street Journal Website that her remarks were taken out of context, and the "it's over" comment did not refer to McCain's chances. She said questions about whether she was the most qualified were raised in her own mind Wednesday when she happened to see Texas Sen. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Noonan wrote that she suspected Palin's candidacy "will be either dramatically successful or dramatically not; it won't be something in between."
Obama planned to strike back against GOP criticism on Thursday with an appearance on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor," cable news' top-ranked show. Not only will Obama face an audience crammed with Republicans, it will take time on Fox away from watching the final night of the GOP convention.
Host Bill O'Reilly acknowledged he's getting heat from his fans for the timing, and for his general tendency to ignore the convention podium (He was interviewing comic Dennis Miller Wednesday when CNN, MSNBC, PBS and C-SPAN were showing a speech by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina).
"I would have rather had him on next week," O'Reilly said. "I might not get another shot at this so I better take it."
As has been the case throughout the campaign, Republicans are proving less of a television draw than Democrats. An estimated 21.5 million people watched the second night of the GOP convention on Tuesday between 10 and 11 p.m. The same night for the Democrats last week had just under 26 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.
An estimated 4.6 million black Americans watched the Democrats on Aug. 26, and 2.1 million watched the Republicans on Tuesday, Nielsen said.
For both the Republicans and Democrats, women are watching the political speeches in greater numbers than men, Nielsen said.
AP writer Sara Kugler contributed to this report.