(O'FALLON, MO.) - In an effort to bring the disparate part of the Republican Party together, John McCain and Sarah Palin appeared with former Republican contenders Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee at a rally in this conservative stronghold outside St. Louis.
Huckabee and Romney spoke first, intoducing McCain and complimenting him on his choice of Palin, who's job as McCain's running mate they both coveted. McCain thanked them and said they both will play large roles in the future of the Republican Party.
"I'm proud to share th stage with two great governors and two great competitors," McCain said.
He then spoke about the need to keep the people of the Gulf Coast in their thoughts, trying to erase the memory many have of the Bush administration's response to Katrina three years ago.
"This natural emergency is the first concern of all Americans," McCain said. "I'm encouraged by the level of preparedness."
Earlier today, McCain toured a hurricane response center in Pearl, Mississippi, an area that was devastated by Katrina.
Palin also spoke about the government's reaction to Katrina, saying that the suffering there was a "harsh reminder" of what happens when the government fails to fulfill its obligations.
"They need to know that government at every level is ready for the worst," she said about the residents in Hurrican Gustav's path. "A crisis on this scale can bring out the best of our country."