NEW YORK - In a surprise move, Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential hopeful, announced Friday that he had chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, in what appeared to be an effort to attract women, especially disaffected supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton, who lost her bid for the Democratic nomination. Palin, a political unknown, was chosen over more experienced and better known contenders as the Arizona Senator grabbed the spotlight away from Democratic rival Barack Obama one day after Obama accepted his party's presidential nomination before 84,000 flag-waving supporters at Denver's football stadium. "Senator, I am honoured to be chosen as your running mate. I will be honoured to serve next to the next President of the United States," Palin said, joined on stage by her husband and family in Dayton, Ohio. She has five children ranging in age from 5 months to 18 years. "As Governor, I've stood up to the old politics as usual," she said. "This is a moment when principle and political independence matter." McCain and Palin will face Obama and his No 2, Joe Biden, a foreign policy expert, in the Nov 4 presidential election.  "I'm very happy today to spend my birthday with you, and to make a historic announcement in Dayton," said McCain, who turned 72 on Friday, explaining that he had been looking for the running mate who can "best help me shake up Washington."  "She's not from these parts, and she's not from Washington, but when you get to know her, you're going to be as impressed as I am," McCain said as he introduced Ms Palin to a crowd estimated by his campaign to be 15,000 at the Ervin J. Nutter Center.  Ms Palin then took the stage with her husband, Todd, who owns a commercial fishing business, accompanied by four of their five children. She said their eldest child, a son, is in the Army, and he is heading to Iraq on Sept 11. Political commentators also expressed their surprise over McCain's selection, with one saying that Ms Palin has more experience catching fish than dealing with foreign policy or national affairs.