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'Rock star' Palin doesn't disappoint 20,000 strong

October 22, 2008
At a place that is used to hosting rock and country music stars, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin held her own in crowd attendance and fans on Friday, giving a stump speech that had many chanting such slogans as "Drill, Baby, Drill" and "USA! USA!" and, at times, cheering before she could even finish a sentence.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, above right, addresses some 20,000 faithful, many waving American flags, red-and-white pom-poms and signs that read "Maverick" and "Read My Lipstick," at the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Noblesville late Friday afternoon. (Photos by Chris Adams)
The rally, held at Verizon Wireless Music Center at Noblesville, just outside of Indianapolis, drew a crowd of about 20,000, some of which came from as far away as Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky to see the new star of the McCain campaign.

The Alaska governor, who many believe energized the fledgling campaign, came prepared to rally the troops, and if the cheers from the crowd were any indication, she succeeded in her quest.

"For me, it's the economy and wages," said Wayne Flick, an off-duty Indiana State Police officer. "I'm afraid if we elect the other guys, things will just get worse."

Flick, who admits to being a Democrat at one time, likes what has happened in Indiana under a Republican administration.

"I haven't always been a Republican," he said, "but I've gotten a little older and, I hope, a little wiser. And my views have changed. I got behind Mitch Daniels right from the start and I'm pleased with everything he has accomplished (as governor). I believe John McCain and Sarah Palin will do a good job for the country, also."

After a trio of songs from country-music star Aaron Tippin, Palin was introduced and immediately turned on her best Hoosier hospitality, saying that "it is easy to see why Indiana is known as the 'Crossroads of America,' " and announced that the movie "Hoosiers" is at the top of the list of her all-time favorite films. Then, the vice presidential candidate got down to the business at hand.

Following her speech, Palin walked through the immediate crowd, holding babies, including this one, above left, dressed in GOP attire, and shaking hands. For more photos, visit www.clarionnews.net.
"You all know the stakes in this election are important," she said. "The choice will be yours — and we must carry this state. Are you ready to send us to Washington, D.C.?"

The crowd answered with an uproar that could not be confused with anything other than an affirmative response.

"You have an opportunity to choose between a politician and a leader," Palin continued. "A politician who wants to raise taxes. We want to cut taxes — our opponent wants to raise them. Sen. Obama says he wants to spread the wealth. I call that bad medicine for the economy — and we're calling him on it."

The Indiana stop was a first for Palin since she was picked as McCain's running mate, and with polls indicating the state is up for grabs, more visits are likely by both parties. Obama's campaign, flush with money from recent fundraising attempts, will most likely increase the number of commercials airing in the state during the next two weeks, even though no Democratic presidential candidate has carried Indiana since 1964.

"Here, in the home of the Indy 500, you all know something about close races," Palin told the crowd. "And you know how to sprint to the finish line. That's why I'm here. Our opponent wants to talk about the past. John McCain is looking forward, toward the future. That's where you find solutions. And if our opponent wanted to run against George Bush, he should have run four years ago."

Palin has given a few carefully chosen interviews that many believe were less than helpful for the campaign.

"I gave a national interview recently and it didn't go over too well," Palin told the crowd. "I was just giving Tina Fey more material for her sketches."

Tina Fey, the "Saturday Night Live" comedian, has portrayed Palin on the show recently. The real Palin dropped by the show Saturday night, sending ratings on the show their highest levels in 14 years.

"She looks just like Tina Fey," Barbara Konkle, of Scottsburg, said with a laugh. "I was hoping she would say something new here — something besides the same speech she always gives — but I don't think she added much. I still haven't decided who I'll vote for, but she has made a difference in the campaign, at least for me. I'd vote for Sarah before I'd vote for McCain. Choosing Sarah was the smartest thing McCain has done during this campaign."

Although Palin touched on the war in Iraq, her focus during the speech was clearly on the economy.

"Our country is facing hard economic times," Palin said. "We need a leader with quick judgment, one that will take the country in a new direction. We need John McCain. We need to keep families in their homes. We need to be able to pay for college for our children. We need to help all of us afford good health care. There is now a $10-trillion debt the government has run up. If you're in a hole, and don't want to be there — stop digging. John McCain will invoke a spending freeze. He will balance the Federal budget by the end of our first term. Our track record shows that we can reform. We've seen wasteful spending and abuse of power. John McCain will end it — once and for all. The best of America is not found in Washington, D.C., but right here."

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