ST. PAUL—Liberal attacks on GOP running mate Sarah Palin are drawing sneers and slaps from Republican leaders, who charge that "Washington elitists" don't like that Sen. John McCain didn't pick one of their own. Leading the assault on the critics of the Alaska governor is House Minority Leader John Boehner. During a chat with reporters yesterday, he repeatedly took swipes at her Democratic attackers, especially those who think she's too inexperienced. "It's this elitist attitude that they portray that 'My God if you aren't a Washington insider you can't possibly know anything about what it's going to take to be president.' I just think it is elitist," says Boehner. "This lady, she's a strong woman who has built a career on her own and is very, very capable and has more executive experience than Senator Obama or Senator Biden, or both of them put together. And to suggest that she is not qualified or [is] inexperienced—what does it say about Senator Obama who three-and-a-half years ago was a state senator in Illinois?" Democrats have said that in picking the new governor McCain has forfeited the experience edge over rookie Senator Obama. But Boehner doesn't agree. He argues that Palin, as a former small town mayor and governor, has to make significant decisions everyday while senators don't. "Executives have to make decisions," he says. As for Washington lawmakers, he adds, "there are no consequences beyond your own vote." Like most of the Republicans at the convention here, Boehner is excited about the Palin choice, saying that it reinforces McCain's reform message and gives the presidential candidate a friendly partner in the race. Palin, says Boehner, is "a perfect compliment" to the GOP ticket leader. "Clearly John McCain has hired someone like himself."