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Her winning campaign painted her as an clean-government outsider willing to take on her own party establishment. As governor, she pushed through a major new ethics bills and - in a move that plays well with Mr. McCain’s career-long drive against wasteful government spending - drove the final stake through the infamous Alaskan “bridge to nowhere,” a federal earmark project that had become the arch-symbol of wasteful government pork.

A social conservative who lists her religion as Protestant, Mrs. Palin has a strong pro-life record and opposes same-sex marriage.

Mrs. Palin and her husband, who is partly of native Yupik Eskimo ancestry, have five children: sons Track, 19, and Trig, 4 months; and daughters Bristol, 17; Willow, 14; and Piper, 7. Track Palin enlisted in the Army last year and is slated to deploy to Iraq next month.