(JOHNSTOWN, Pa.) Under fire over an Alaska ethics probe which found that she abused her authority in pressuring subordinates to get a state trooper fired, Sarah Palin sought to change the subject at a hockey rink rally here, devoting the better part of her remarks to the issue of abortion.
Before hammering Barack Obama for his "radical" position on abortion, Palin spoke at length about her own baby son Trig, who was born with Down syndrome.
"Now, when I learned that my son Trig would have special needs, to be honest with you, I had to pray that my heart would be prepared for the challenges to come," Palin said. "It was a shock, I wasn't ready for this. I had to ask for that strength."
Palin added that her own baby reaffirmed to her that every life is deserving of protection and has something to contribute to the world
"And as for our beautiful baby boy, for Todd and for me, he's only more precious because he is vulnerable," Palin said. "And in some ways, you know I think that we stand to learn more from him than he does from us. So when we hold Trig and when we care for him, we don't feel scared anymore. We feel blessed."
The Alaska governor then shifted gears to hammer Obama over the Illinois senator's record on abortion.
"So I listened when our opponent defended his unconditional support for unlimited abortions and he said he said that a woman shouldn't have to be quote punished with a baby," Palin said. "Ladies and gentlemen he said that right here in Johnstown—punished with a baby."
When Obama made those remarks, he was not talking about abortion, as Palin suggested. Instead, he was talking about the importance of sex education in the context of his own children.
"But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby. I don't want them punished with an STD at the age of 16," Obama said.
Palin portrayed Obama as out of the mainstream on the hot-button issue.
"Senator Obama has voted against bills to end partial birth abortion," she said. "In the Illinois Senate it was thankfully a bipartisan majority that passed legislation against that practice. Senator Obama opposed that bill. He voted against it in committee and then voted 'present' on the Senate floor and in that legislature. Just so you know, 'present' is how you vote when you are against something, but you don't want to be held to account."