Palin: "I Know Obama Loves America"

(CBS)
From CBS News' Scott Conroy:

(MUNCIE, IND.) - Just two weeks ago, she accused him of palling around with a terrorist, but Sarah Palin left no doubt at an impromptu press conference on Friday that she believes the Democratic nominee is acting in what he thinks is in the best interest of the country he loves.

"I know Obama loves America," Palin said on the short flight from Cincinnati to Indianapolis when asked by CBS News whether she thinks the Democratic nominee loves his country as much as she does.

"I'm sure that is why he's running for president. It's because he wants to do what he believes is in the best interest of this great nation. I believe that our ticket can do a better job for America as we reduce taxes and rein in government and allow our private sector and our families to prosper, to grow, and to keep more of what they earn and produce so that they can reinvest according to our own priorities. I think that that is best to get the economy back on track. It's a better agenda for America. But I don't question at all Barack Obama's love for this great country."

Though she continues to hammer Obama on a daily basis on issues ranging from alleged voter registration fraud to taxes, Palin has stopped mentioning Obama's relationship to 1960s radical William Ayers on the stump. The Alaska governor told reporters that it's now up for the public to decide whether that relationship is relevant.

"Well, I think that American voters are understanding that association—that it's OK to talk about fact," she said. "Of course, Barack Obama had been bringing it up, even in challenging John McCain on that, saying if you want to talk about it, talk about it, too, so McCain did that, and the association is out there. It's up now to the people of America to decide whether that association is important enough to them to research and find out more about a person's judgment and truthfulness."

Asked why it was appropriate to question Obama's judgment over his association with Ayers, while John McCain has declared off limits the Illinois senator's relationship with his former pastor Jeremiah Wright, Palin said that the decision to bring up Wright was "up to John McCain to decide." CBS News pointed out that Obama had sat in Rev. Wright's church for 20 years (the senator's relationship with Ayers has been shown to be something far less than a close friendship).

"That's true," Palin said. "He sat in the pews for 20 years and heard Reverend Wright say some things that most people would find a bit concerning. But again that is John McCain's call."
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    Scott Conroy is a National Political Reporter for RealClearPolitics and a contributor for CBS News.

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