Trailing in Pa., Palin asks voters for a comeback

October 18, 2008 6:24:02 PM PDT
Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin on Saturday made a pitch for a ninth-inning comeback from a central Pennsylvania minor-league baseball field. The Alaska governor, trailing with her presidential running mate John McCain in statewide polls, told the packed Lancaster Barnstormers stadium that she was counting on Philadelphia Phillies fans to help turn "an underdog into a victor."

"In just 17 days we're counting on you to step up to the plate, come through in the clutch and take the maverick of the Senate through to the White House," Palin said, hitting Democratic nominee Barack Obama on taxes in Lancaster County, which gave George W. Bush more total votes than did Philadelphia in both 2000 and 2004.

"Sen. Obama will do to those who want to create jobs what shouldn't be done, and we're calling him on it," she said.

She called the race "the choice between a politician who puts his faith in government and a leader who puts his faith in you."

Obama campaign spokeswoman Andrea Mead said Palin "isn't paying too much attention to the playoffs if she's trying to compare her campaign to the Phillies," and said both Obama and McCain have proposed tax cuts.

"The difference is who they're offering them to," Mead said. "We've seen what happens when we put extremely wealthy and well-connected people ahead of working-class people. It is what John McCain's tax proposals would do."

Palin also repeated her call for the Obama campaign to disclose contacts with the group ACORN, which is facing scrutiny for its voter registration efforts in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Obama has said he had "nothing to do" with the group's voter registration drive.

The "Road to Victory" tour stop ended about 12 hours before Palin was due to make an appearance in New York on the NBC program "Saturday Night Live." She spent about 15 minutes after the speech signing autographs for delighted supporters on the baseball field, but a reporter trying to hear the exchanges was shooed away by campaign aides.

More than 10,000 tickets were given out for the rally, which marked Palin's second visit to Lancaster County, said Dave Dumeyer, chairman of the county GOP.

"She plays extremely well in Lancaster County," Dumeyer said. "She has the conservative values I think a lot of people around here respect and admire."

Tracy Cromeans, 47, who works at a visitors' center in nearby Gettysburg, called Palin "a breath of fresh air."

"She's a woman," said Cromeans, wearing a Palin T-shirt and pink campaign button, "so we've got a strong, wonderful woman running with John McCain."

Clad in a green kilt and knee socks and wearing a "Read My Lipstick" button, Ephrata resident Brett Gilbert, 56, called Palin "my kind of person" in part because she's a hunter and has a child in the military.

"She's real," said Gilbert, a vehicle damage appraiser. "I mean, the other day she had to stop at Wal-Mart and buy diapers." Palin's husband Todd started the day in Greensburg and then went to a rally at the Pitcairn-Monroeville Sportsmen's Club.

Todd Palin's next stop was at a tailgate event outside the Penn State-Michigan football game with Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett. Corbett is running for a second term.

To chants of "Todd! Todd!" and "Sarah," Todd Palin spent about 45 minutes shaking hands and signing autographs, including one on a "Joe Paterno for President" sign.

Asked if Paterno was a candidate he could support for president, Palin laughed.

"He is just a legend," Todd Palin said. "Talk about tradition. That is it."

Todd Palin said the outdoors is an interest Alaskans shared with Pennsylvanians and that the McCain-Palin ticket was going to support "hunters, sportsmen and women."

Asked if he spoke to his wife before her appearance later in the day on "Saturday Night Live," Todd Palin said, "Hey, she has been doing Tina Fey long before Tina Fey's been doing Sarah Palin."

McCain's wife, Cindy, meanwhile, appeared at a rally in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday evening and was scheduled to attend a 3 p.m. Sunday event at Gettysburg College.

---

On the Net:

McCain campaign: http://www.johnmccain.com
Obama campaign: http://www.barackobama.com