Palin in Pa., at Flyers game

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - October 11, 2008 Palin said she and Republican presidential candidate John McCain would be "defenders of the culture of life." She opposes abortion in all cases except where the pregnancy threatens the woman's life.

Alaska's governor also touched upon common campaign themes during her speech to about 5,000 supporters in Johnstown, but she focused on children with special needs and then abortion. Palin, whose infant son, Trig, has Down syndrome, said she and McCain would make protecting such children a priority.

"Every child has something to contribute ... if we give them that chance," she said.

Palin said it was about time that Obama was "called" on his abortion views.

"Please, it is not negative and it's not mean-spirited to talk about his record," she said.

In the Illinois Senate, Obama opposed legislative efforts in 2001, 2002 and 2003 to give legal protections to any aborted fetus that showed signs of life. The 2003 measure was virtually identical to a bill President Bush signed into law in 2002 that unanimously passed the U.S. Senate.

Obama and others who opposed the Illinois bill said the state already had a law to protect aborted fetuses born alive and considered able to survive. They contended that the proposed legislation would have undermined abortion rights in ways that the federal law would not.

Palin called Obama's ideas and votes on abortion "radical." "In short, Sen. Obama is a politician who has long since left behind even the middle ground on the issue of life. He's fighting with those who won't protect a child born alive," she said.

"A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for activist courts that will continue to smother the open and democratic debate that we deserve and that we need on this issue of life - that's OK, that debate - at both the state and federal level," she said.

Palin did not raise, as she has recently, Obama's ties to William Ayers, a Vietnam-era militant who helped found the violent Weather Underground. A week ago, she told supporters that Obama was "palling around with terrorists," touching off arguments over whether Obama's work with Ayers, now a college professor, on nonprofit projects several years ago was pertinent to today's campaign.

Although audiences at Palin and McCain events had been getting angrier as the GOP campaign's attacks on Obama became sharper and more personal, the Johnstown crowd was largely in check. It booed Obama several times, including when Palin referred to his comments about rural people clinging to guns and religion.

"We prefer candidates who don't talk about us one way in Johnstown then another way in San Francisco," she said.


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