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Sarah Palin Draws Large And Enthusiastic Crowd At Rally In North Carolina

Greensboro, North Carolina -- As the large crowd outside of Minges Area on the campus of East Carolina University continued to grow in anticipation of a chance to see Gov. Sarah Palin, chants of "Sarah, Sarah" began to fill the air. Palin was scheduled to speak at 7 p.m., but the auditorium was filled by 6:30 and those who could not get inside waited in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Republican nominee for vice president.

they were not disappointed. Arriving about 7 p.m., she stepped from her vehicle and ignited the crowd by smiling and waving enthusiastically to them for several minutes before entering the auditorium.

Sitting inside the auditorium, we could tell the minute she arrived as the crowd yelled an even louder: "SARAH, SARAH." As one student seated next to me commented, it had the feel of a student pep rally, only louder and more enthusiastic.

Nearly one half-hour later, the crowd was joined on stage by Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr, North Carolina's two Republican senators.

It was Burr who introduced Palin as a "gun-totin' Mama" to wild and seemingly unending cheers from those in attendance. they had waited long enough to see her and went absolutely wild with her appearance. Palin, red-faced and smiling, waved to the cheering crowd who loved her on first sight.

The cheering and applause continued for at least five minutes as a smiling Palin made several attempts to begin her prepared remarks, but the audience would not quit until they had delivered their welcome message.

She began her remarks by criticizing Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden as claiming to be agents of change but who dwell on nothing but the past. She said the Democrats often attempted to link her and John McCain to the Bush administration.

"For a campaign that claims to be looking to the future they spend a lot of time talking about the past, " she said.

Palin continued to raise the issue of Obama's relationships with people of bad character, reminding the crowd of Obama's questionable relationships with the 1960s radical and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and of Obama's close relationships with those involved in the failed leadership of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Palin continued to insist that senator Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers, the 1960 terrorist who has admitted to bombing government facilities, is a relevant issue as it speaks to character.

"This campaign is about truthfulness and judgment, " Palin said. "And John McCain has it and his opponent doesn't." The audience roared in support of this claim and shouted "Sarah, Sarah" for several minutes. To the delight of those in attendance, Palin concluded that Obama "has neither the character nor experience to be president."

Palin also stood firmly in favor of John McCain's position on the Iraq war, reminding the audience that her son was serving in Iraq and that she could think of no one she would rather see as commander-in-chief than John McCain. She also reminded the crowd that Obama voted against funding of the troops, something even his VP candidate, Biden, widely criticized. This brought a rousing cheer from the many ex-military and veterans in attendance.

Palin also reviewed McCain's commitment to an aggressive energy plan that would include more drilling and exploration, which she hoped would include opening the ANWR oil fields for drilling, something McCain has been reluctant to support.

As to health care, Palin said the McCain Palin administration would provide a $5, 000 tax credit to everyone to help pay for health insurance coverage.

"With regard to taxes, a McCain-Palin administration will maintain the Bush tax cuts and will not foolishly raise taxes during these terrible economic times, " said Palin. "Our opponents will tax small business, which will result in the loss of thousands of jobs when we need them most, " said Palin, shaking her head in disbelief.

Palin reminded those in attendance that it was John McCain who warned of needed oversight of both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae years before the current collapse of these over-extended organizations. She also noted that it was the Democratic leadership that opposed any additional regulation as this would deny loans to low income (and unqualified) potential homeowners, and that it was Democratic operatives, two of whom served as Obama advisor's who had executive positions in both organizations.

"John McCain is the one person in this race who has a proven record of standing up to the special interests and even to those in his own party, " said Palin. In an election in which truthfulness, integrity and proven leadership make the difference the choice is clear.... John McCain will be our next great president, " Palin said in concluding her remarks.

Those in the audience appeared unwilling for Palin to leave the stage. They chanted "Sarah! Sarah!" for several minutes as if asking for an encore.

As we departed the arena we were met by small, but vocal group of Obama supporters, who appeared to be students on the East Carolina campus. Carrying Obama '08 signs they shouted in unison "Yes, we can. Yes, we can" to which the unorganized McCain supporters returned: "No-bama, No-Bama."

This exchange ended in a friendly draw, in my opinion.

Without exception, those in attendance appeared to embrace Sarah Palin in Greenville, North Carolina.

By Charles Willoughby - Retired professional engineer. Have traveled much of the world, but have concluded the USA is still the finest place in the world.  

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