(BLAINE, MINN.) A rally sponsored by a Jewish group to protest Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad's visit to the United Nations has boiled over into a full-blown American presidential campaign controversy.
The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations is sponsoring the rally, which will be held in New York on Monday. New York senator Hillary Clinton had accepted an invitation to attend, but when she found out that GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin would also speak at the event, Clinton promptly dropped out.
The McCain campaign released a statement accusing Barack Obama of not being sufficiently tough on the Iranian regime. Finally, the sponsors of the event decided the rally had become overly politicized and disinvited all elected figures, including Palin.
While the McCain/Palin campaign wasted no time in its criticism of Obama, Sarah Palin said at a massive airport rally here that she appreciated Clinton's commitment to the cause of speaking out against the Iranian threat. She was not, however, so accommodating to others on the opposite end of the political spectrum.
"Iran should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons, period," Palin said. "Unfortunately though, some Democrat partisans put politics first, and now no elected official will be able to appear at that Stop Iran Rally."
Palin did not specify who these "Democrat partisans" were.
Since the day she was announced as John McCain's running mate, Palin has made an overt effort to court former Clinton voters. Nearly every McCain/Palin rally across the nation features female speakers who introduce themselves as Democrats or independents who voted for Clinton during the primaries but now support the Republican ticket.
At the Minnesota rally, Palin echoed John McCain's robust language in condemning the Iranian regime and its alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons.
"John McCain and I are committed to drawing attention to the danger posed by Iran's nuclear program and we will not waver in our commitment," she said. "I will continue to call for sustained action to prevent Iranian President Ahmadinejad from getting these weapons that he wants for a second Holocaust."