Thousands Flock to Carson to Hear Sarah Palin
Carson -- Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin praised running mate John McCain and criticized Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama Saturday while spelling out goals of a McCain-Palin administration during a speech at The Home Depot Center.
A enthusiastic crowd estimated by Home Depot Center officials to be between 15,000 and 20,000 jammed the Carson facility's tennis stadium -- whose capacity is around 8,000 -- and an overflow area for a rare general election public appearance in Southern California by a major party presidential or vice presidential candidate.
In a 25-minute speech, interrupted about 20 times by applause, Palin demonstrated a folksy and feisty manner that seemingly had disappeared during a much-criticized interview with CBS anchor Katie Couric.
In her first visit to Southern California since McCain named her as his running mate Aug. 29, the Alaska governor said her father was born in Los Angeles and her paternal grandfather was a photographer who lived in North Hollywood.
"His specialty was taking photographs of boxers," Palin said. "I learned from him there are times it is necessary, there is a time to take the gloves off and that time is right now."
When Palin was heckled, she responded, "My son is over in Iraq now fighting for the freedoms that person is exercising."
What was dubbed as a "Victory '08 Campaign Rally" made a determined effort to build support among women for the McCain-Palin ticket.
Palin was introduced by Shelly Mandell, president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Organization for Women, who described herself as a lifelong Democrat.
In rarity for a Republican event, Mandell bragged about her efforts campaigning for the failed Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and her support for Geraldine Ferraro, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984.
"I know Sarah Palin cares about women's rights," Mandell said. "As vice president, she will fight for you. She cares about our children and she cares about women's lives."
In another rarity for a major party national candidate, Palin discussed a quotation she found on a cup of coffee from Starbucks Friday by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, a Democrat who served in the Clinton Administration.
"`There's a place hell reserved for women who don't support other women,' " Palin quoted."Let's see how that comment is turned into whatever it's turned into in tomorrow's papers."
Palin also made reference to a question she received from Couric about what newspapers and magazines she reads.
"I was reading a copy of The New York Times," Palin said, with the newspaper's name drawing boos. "I was really interested to read in there about Barack Obama's friends in Chicago."
Palin was referring to a front-page story on William Ayers, who participated in bombings of New York City Police Headquarters, the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon in the early 1970s, and later become a college professor who was associated with Obama during a 1990s school reform effort in Chicago. "Our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country," Palin said amid another chorus of boos.
She also drew distinctions between the Republican and Democratic tickets on foreign policy, energy and taxation, expressing Republican support for victories in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, encouraging domestic energy production and supporting lower taxes.
California Democratic Party communications director Brian Brokaw told City News Service, "What we heard today comes as no surprise. Sarah Palin and John McCain have announced that they'll be throwing more punches in the coming weeks, which is just another sign that they are losing ground all over the country.
"They will be smearing Obama so that they don't have to talk about McCain's dismal economic record. But voters will see through their desperate tactics."
As Palin spoke, a giant mobile screen outside, sponsored by the California Democratic Party showed questions "Palin refuses to address (or is perhaps unable to address)" while about 100 to 200 Obama supporters held signs and shouted.
Major party presidential and vice presidential candidates rarely make public appearances in California during the general election campaign because it is considered a safe Democratic state. Most prefer to concentrate on the so- called battleground states.
When candidates do come to California, the trips are usually for fundraisers.
Palin was scheduled to attend a fundraiser in Costa Mesa following the Carson speech and is also scheduled to attend a fundraiser Sunday in the Bay Area.
At the Home Depot Center, Palin spoke at an event where all the tickets were free because "California has been a very important state to Senator McCain" playing an "integral part of his success in the primaries" and to thank volunteers who "have just been tremendous" in their efforts on behalf of the Republican Party, said Rick Gorka, a McCain-Palin campaign regional communications director.
"The amount of work that they've been putting into the McCain-Palin campaign is incredible," Gorka said. "This is a great opportunity for folks to come see Gov. Palin so she can thank them and show her appreciation for all the hard work they do."
In all equality is there a hell for men who do not back other men?