Senator John McCain has tapped little-known Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his vice-presidential running mate.
The 44-year-old Palin, a mother of five, is a self-styled hockey mom and political reformer who has been governor of her state less than two years.
Palin's selection is a surprise, as McCain passed over many other better-known prospects, some of whom had been the subject of intense speculation for weeks or months.
At 44, Palin is a generation younger that Joe Biden, who is Barack Obama's running mate. She is three years Obama's junior, as well. McCain has made much in recent weeks of Obama's relative lack of experience in foreign policy and defense matters.