Palin goes on the attack at BGSU

Kiera Manion-Fischer

Alaska governor defends campaign

Vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaks at the Xunlight Energy in Toledo yesterday morning. If elected, Palin said she and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, plan to invest $2 billion a year until 2024 in clean coal research and developmen

Credit: DKS Editors

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spent most of her stage time criticizing her opponent for his tax plan and associations at a rally yesterday morning at Bowling Green State University in what is proving to be a tight race for the White House during the next six days.

Palin opened her speech by mentioning an L.A. Times story that appeared six months ago suggesting that Sen. Barack Obama is open to pro-Palestinian views, though he takes a pro-Israel stance in public.

The article described Obama as being friends with Rashid Khalidi, a scholar and advocate for Palestinian rights who decries suicide bombings. Palin, however, described Khalidi as “another radical professor from the neighborhood,” clearly a reference to Bill Ayers, former member of the Weather Underground, and current distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago who has been linked to Obama.

“It’s not mean-spirited, it’s not negative campaigning to call someone out for their records or associations,” Palin said.

Palin as well as Sens. John McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Biden are focusing on appearances in key swing states such as Ohio in the final moments of the election.

Former attorney general Betty Montgomery introduced Palin as “a woman who understands the needs of ordinary Americans and, in fact, she shops at Wal-Mart.”

Palin spoke for about 30 minutes to a crowd of about 5,500 supporters in Anderson Arena, which is normally home to basketball and volleyball games. She was joined on-stage by her husband Todd as well as Joe Wurzelbacher, also known as “Joe the Plumber.”

Palin criticized Obama’s spending priorities, saying, “Barack Obama is for bigger government and higher taxes.”

Palin also took time to warn of a democratic “monopoly on power in Washington,” that is, control of the White House as well as both houses of Congress.

Palin reminded supporters of McCain’s campaign promises, including helping families keep their homes, cleaning up corruption in Washington and lowering income and business taxes.

“We have a pro-growth, pro-private sector agenda,” she said. “It’s going to get this economy back on the right track.”

She promised the ticket would balance the federal budget by the end of its second term as well as achieve energy independence by relying on drilling for oil in the United States.

Finally, adding a promise possibly inspired by her own experiences, Palin promised to provide more support for children with special needs.

“We have a vision of America where every innocent life counts,” she said.

Carol Cartwright, interim president of Bowling Green and former Kent State president, reassured students, faculty and staff in a mass e-mail that the university was not showing bias by allowing the event to take place on campus.

Palin was the only visitor to the campus from either presidential ticket this election season.

“I want to assure you that we would extend the same courtesy to the Obama/Biden campaign and/or the Democratic National Committee if they approached us about renting a campus facility,” Cartwright wrote.

She also wrote that the Republican National Committee would reimburse the university for all expenses incurred during the event.

Tyler Owens attended the rally with his fiancee who goes to Bowling Green. Owens, who is joining the Air Force, said he appreciated hearing about how Palin presented problems with Obama’s tax plan.

“I currently work in a factory,” he said. “We had to lay off people. Raise taxes on corporations, they’re going to have to lay off way more people.”

Kelcey Dendinger, a high school student from Bellevue, said she loves Palin.

“She’s very interesting. We like her. She’s spunky,” she said. “She’s down to earth. My favorite was when she (Montgomery) said she shops at Wal-Mart.”

Dendinger said she enjoyed hearing about how the McCain-Palin ticket would support small businesses.

“My Dad has been thinking about starting a business, and I live out in the country,” she said. “We’re all down to earth.”

The rally also attracted a couple hundred student protesters, who supported Obama.

Lauren Emmerson, a junior broadcast journalism major at Bowling Green, said the protest wasn’t intended to be against Sarah Palin, but instead to show support for Obama.

The protesters yelled slogans such as, “People first!” and “Health care now!”

Contact public affairs reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].