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Ohio Mayor Says Palin Doesn't Live In "Real World"

(CBS)
From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro:

(YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO) - Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams went after Sarah Palin as he introduced Joe Biden at a rally tonight in Ohio, saying her tenure as mayor did not make her able to understand "real world" problems.

"One of the things that bothers me is the fact that Governor Palin talks about, she's ready to be the vice president because she's been a mayor and that's something I want to talk about for just a minute. Now, I've never been to Wasilla Alaska, and I'm sure it's a nice little town. In fact, it's so little we could invite them all to sit down in the Chevrolet Center and probably still have room left over," said Williams.

While his comments got the crowd riled up, they weren't as accurate as they were amusing for voters. A factual check shows the mayor is wrong in his quip. The Chevrolet Center seats 7,000 people. Wasilla's 2007 Census numbers said the population was over 9,000. A Wasilla City website puts the number at above 7,000.

"I did a little investigation on Wasilla and I would love to be the mayor of Wasilla. I could probably do it from my home and not show up to work too often because in Wasilla, you know, they don't have a crime problem. There were two homicides in Wasilla in the past 13 years."

Numbers show there were 3, including a murder-suicide, in the last seven years.

"Wasilla, I'm sure it's a nice town but their average income is above the national average of what all of us are making. In Wasilla the median average price for a house is $200,000. The education, they have small student/teacher ratios. That's not the world that we live in ladies and gentlemen, you all know that here in the real world, we're struggling," Williams continued.

"Here in the real world, we have to deal with issues of crime, and poverty, and education. That's what happens."

The mayor spoke before a crowd of 1,200 Ohio voters, who laughed at his sarcasm.

"The other thing that she talks about is her foreign policy experience. Now, she says she lives that she lives next door to Russia, I mean I don't think that that really counts. That would be the equivalent of me wanting to do your heart surgery because I live next door to a doctor. It just doesn't add up," said Williams.

"Being mayor is a very good preparation for a lot of things, even potentially being vice president, but only if you're the mayor and have to deal with real world issues."

McCain campaign spokesman Ben Porritt responded, "Barack Obama first insulted Americans by saying when times are tough those in small towns cling to religion and guns. Now his campaign is dismissing millions of Americans who make up the soul of our country by saying they don't live in the real world or deal with real issues. Senator McCain and Governor Palin have spoken to those families, they understand they are hurting, and they are going to Washington to change things for the better for millions of people in small town America."