View Full Version : Elections Palin Drawing big Crowds

09-14-2008, 06:30 AM

Solo in Nevada, Palin draws big crowd
Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:45pm EDT

By Steve Holland

CARSON CITY, Nev., Sept 13 (Reuters) - Out on the road as a solo act, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin fired up a large crowd in Nevada on Sunday by pledging to shake up Washington if elected with John McCain on Nov. 4.

After a farewell rally in her home state of Alaska, Palin flew to the "lower 48" U.S. states to campaign on her own in Nevada, Colorado and Ohio over the next few days before rejoining McCain.

Alaska Gov. Palin, 44, has quickly soared from political unknown to popular Republican politician in the space of two weeks, helping the 72-year-old McCain vault into a slight lead in public opinion polls over Obama.

The Obama campaign, which has struggled to respond to the Palin phenomenon, has issued fierce attacks against her in an attempt to undermine her credibility as a self-styled reformer.

She sought to reach out to voters beyond the traditional Republican base to independents who may well make the difference in McCain's battle against Obama.

"We're going to take our case for reform, that needed reform in Washington D.C., to voters of every background, of every party or no party at all," she said.

Only the second woman ever to win a vice presidential nomination, she urged voters to help her break "the glass ceiling" and elect a woman to the No. 2 U.S. office.

Having helped McCain generate large rallies when appearing with him, she showed herself to be a powerful draw as a solo act. Thousands of supporters cheered "Sarah, Sarah."

"It's going to be a hard-fought contest here in beautiful Nevada," she said. "With your help, we are going to win. We're going to Washington D.C. to shake things up."

She stuck to some parts of her record that Democrats have sought to question. She said she killed a controversial $398 million bridge project in Alaska dubbed "the Bridge to Nowhere," without mentioning she had initially been for the project.

"I told Congress thanks but no thanks on that Bridge to Nowhere, that if the state wanted to build that bridge, we would build it ourselves," she said.

And she said again that, as Alaska governor, she put up for sale on eBay a "luxury jet" used by the previous governor, without mentioning that it did not sell and she had to hire a broker to sell it.

Palin hewed closely to Republican doctrine on calling for increased drilling for offshore oil due to gasoline prices that have soared to record levels this year. She also said McCain would expand development of alternative sources of energy.

"Drill baby drill," the crowd cheered.

Out of respect for U.S. efforts to grapple with Hurricane Ike, Palin held back from criticizing Obama.

At her rally in Anchorage, Palin made an indirect reference to some critics who have argued that her experience leading sparely populated Alaska did not prepare her to be a heartbeat away from the presidency if John McCain were to win the Nov. 4 election.

Palin said she had heard critics say "'Oh, you're a sparsely populated state,' and at a time like this, I say, you know, thank you, God, for this."

"We're small enough to be family and we can look past some political differences to work as a family and to protect one another and to make each other's lives a bit better, a bit more secure. We're going to look out for each other in Alaska," she said.

She spoke a day after a state legislative committee in Anchorage ordered subpoenas of her husband, Todd Palin, and 12 others to question them about charges that the Palin as governor abused her power by firing a public safety commissioner who refused to fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce with her sister.