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Sarah Palin Stumps in Missouri

By Jacob McCleland, KRCU

Cape Girardeau, MO – As the Presidential campaign comes to a close, candidates have been paying close attention to Missouri. This morning, Sarah Palin swung by Cape Girardeau to rally support for John McCain. KRCU's Jacob McCleland has this report.

Republican Party faithful waited for hours in 30 degree temperatures this morning to hear from Sarah Palin. The Alaska Governor filled the Show-Me Center not only with spectators but also with a rock concert atmosphere.

{Mike Renick Band SND}

Inside, the Mike Renick Band warmed up the crowd. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Ron Herr was among those in attendance. He admires the wisdom and military background of Senator John McCain.

"He's a man of duty, honor country, and country first," said Herr. "That's, uh, uh, that's just how I believe in him that strongly. I'd lay down my life for John McCain."

Palin was preceded on stage by a cadre of Missouri Republican All-Stars, such as Senator Kit Bond, Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, Representative Jo Ann Emerson, and gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof, among others.

The crowd cheered warmly for the local politicians, but saved the biggest round of applause for the main event.

Rep. Emerson provided the introduction: "Let's give a warm Show-Me State welcome to the next Vice President of the United States Sarah Palin and Todd Palin!"

Palin, with Alaska's "first dude" at her side, hit upon several topics, starting with taxes. She criticized Democratic rival Barack Obama for comments he made about "spreading the wealth" and characterized the Illinois Senator as a tax-and-spend liberal

"Senator Obama has an ideological commitment to higher taxes {boos}," said Palin. "And though granted he's changing, it seems, his tax plan pronouncement almost every day now, flipping flopping around on the details, his commitment to higher taxes, though, never changes."

As she did in the vice-presidential debate, Palin devoted considerable time to United States energy policy. The Alaska governor pronounced that the U-S must free itself from foreign oil and, of course, "drill, baby, drill!" She called current energy policy "nonsense" because the U-S sends billions of dollars to foreign countries to produce the energy which is consumed here.

According to Palin, "Some of these dollars end up in the hands of volatile foreign regimes that do not like America. And they use energy as a weapon. Those hundreds of billions of dollars need to be circulated here, creating the jobs for you and making our nation more secure."

Palin also spoke about families with special needs kids, saying that children with disabilities are often excluded. She wants to help these kids feel that there is a place for them in society. She also talked about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stating that John McCain has the foreign policy and military record to bring victory. Palin blasted Senator Obama's war strategy as defeatist: "Our opponents go on and on in the speeches that they make about the wars that America is fighting, and just once I would love to hear Barack Obama say he wants America to win!"

Throughout the speech, the crowd roared with approval. Afterwards, Sue Gleason, a secretary at Shivelbine's music store in Cape Girardeau, was extremely impressed with what she heard from the Governor.

{Outside ambiance}

"She just brings the family aspect of everything," said Gleason." She brings out the truth, and she just has one of those personalities that you just really are drawn to."

Jason Davis is a Baptist pastor. A young-looking man with sunglasses and a faux-hawk, Davis says he chose the Republican ticket because he feels that McCain and Palin line themselves up with Scripture. He was shocked to hear that the governor would come to Cape Girardeau a mere five days before the general election.

"I think it's amazing," said Davis. "You know, Missouri is an important state and so, for her to come here, she knows what she needs to do, and I think that's pretty awesome."

Polls show the race between McCain and Obama to be excruciatingly close in Missouri, perhaps the closest in the nation. While it's doubtful that Palin won many converts in Cape Girardeau, she certainly inspired the base of her party.

I'm Jacob McCleland.

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