FINDLAY - With the election now less than two weeks away and the race still tight in the Buckeye State, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was in the area yesterday stumping for the Republican ticket.
Palin warmed up the crowd by inviting country singer Lee Greenwood on stage to sing the national anthem and his own "Proud to Be an American" - a reward for her supporters who woke early to wait in the cold, long lines outside the University of Findlay, she said.
Joined by her husband, Todd, and daughters Willow and Piper, Palin began her speech by addressing comments made by Sen. Joe Biden at a recent fundraiser in Seattle.
On Sunday, the Democratic vice presidential candidate said there would be four or five scenarios that would place America at risk in the first six months of an Obama administration. He said the situation would be a generated international crisis "to test the mettle" of Obama.
"First, got to say thanks for the warning, Joe," Palin said. "And that's just another case of Joe getting carried away at the podium."
But Biden didn't identify exactly what the four or five crisis scenarios could be, Palin said, and then identified four of them as Obama's plans to sit down with "some of the world's worst dictators with no preconditions," his intentions to employ American troops in Pakistan, to prematurely pull out of the War in Iraq and conflicts between Russia and Ukraine.
"I guess that the looming crisis that most worries the Obama campaign right now has got to be Joe Biden's next speaking engagement," Palin said.
Fitting her stump speech to the Flag City crowd, Palin said it's great to be in the hometown of Pittsburg Steeler's quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger.
"I would be so proud of him," she said. "Ben and Findlay obviously know a little bit about victory, and I am hoping we can count on you to put us over the top on Election Day."
But not everyone in attendance was a McCain/Palin supporter. Wearing an Obama '08 button, 18-year-old Colin Walker, of Findlay, said he just wanted to see Palin in person. According to him, there are plenty of reasons why he opposes the Republican ticket.
"The war was started in false pretenses," Walker said. "And I disagree with capital punishment and pro-life."
But Palin never mentioned capital punishment and only touched on abortion. She focused mainly on the economy and energy independence.
Referencing another Northwest Ohioan, Palin congratulated "Joe the Plumber" for finally getting Obama to speak his intentions in a clear language. She criticized Obama's plan to hike taxes and increase spending, coining him the name "Obama the Wealthspreader."
"The first thing you do when you find yourself in a hole and you don't want to be there is you stop digging," Palin said, referring to the federal government's $10 trillion debt.
Besides limiting government spending, Palin stressed energy independence, which she said is at the top of McCain's list of things he wanted her to speak about.
By developing clean-coal technology and off-shore drilling, and utlizing wind and solar energy, Palin said thousands of American jobs will be created.
Suzie Altiere, of Monroe, Ohio, saw McCain on Sunday and said Palin was "tons better." She was accompanied by her husband and four sons.
"I really like the fact that there's a woman running - that there's a woman running and she's a real person," Altiere said. "I think she brings the campaign to an average-person level."
But Altiere can relate to Palin on more levels than just being a woman. Like the Alaskan governor, Altiere has a child wit special needs, and believes if McCain becomes president, education will be a priority of the administration.
Comparing herself and McCain to former President Ronald Reagan, Palin said she and McCain don't believe America is the problem, but the solution.
"And we still believe that America is that shining city on a hill that Reagan used to speak of," she said. "And I thank God we have a man ready and worthy to lead it - someone who inspires us with heroic and trustworthy deeds and not just words."