Rep. Diana DeGette today called Sen. John McCain’s selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate an insult to women. I received her statement by e-mail from her congressional office (no link yet.)

“The selection of Governor Palin is an insult to women. She has obviously been chosen to appeal to female voters, but she lacks both the experience and policy positions to serve as Vice-President of the United States.”

“The announcement of Governor Palin’s selection on John McCain’s 72nd Birthday highlights the fact t hat the Vice-President must be qualified to step into the Presidency from Day One. Sarah Palin is a 2-year governor with zero foreign policy experience whose former position was mayor of a town of 9,000.”

“To assume that women will simply support Governor Palin because of her gender is insulting. In fact, the Governor is out of step with mainstream America on women’s economic and social issues. For example, Governor Palin embraces John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade and protecting a women’s right to make her own health care decisions.”

“Governor Palin has also enthusiastically supported the Bush-McCain doctrine of standing up for Big Oil and failed economic policies that has led to a struggling economy.”

“American women need quality health care for themselves, economic security for their families, an energy plan that will give us energy independence, and a plan to bring our troops home from Iraq responsibly. “Barack Obama will give us the change we need, while John McCain and Sarah Palin will give us more of the same.”

Senator Salazar, according to the Denver Post, was more diplomatic:

“I have never heard of her. It is, in my view, still about what this election is all about, that we can’t have four more years of George Bush,” Salazar said. “His selection of someone we’ve never heard of from Alaska I don’t think will change a thing for this election.”

Salazar also questioned whether Palin has the experience she needs but said the Democratic vice presidential candidate, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, does. “Joe Biden could step into the presidency if something were to happen to Barack Obama,” he said.

Among Colorado Republican leaders, the Post reports, the reaction was much different. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave said:

“I am delighted with John McCain’s choice and I think it’s going to inspire women around this country to think about a woman being able to be governor of the great state of Alaska and do the things that she has done already in her young life,” she said.

Whether McCain’s choice of Gov. Palin turns out to be the death knell for his campaign or a brilliant move remains to be seen. There’s no denying, however, that he succeeded in dominating the media coverage Friday and moving the focus off the Democratic convention and Sen. Barack Obama’s speech.