Thousands turned out for rallies on Saturday featuring Sarah Palin campaigning solo for the Republican ticket.
Two neighbors from Ames who caucused for Hillary Clinton were in the crowd. Dee Croker and Genni Ricke say they were curious, and wanted to take Palin’s picture. But both say they’ve already cast their ballots early, for the Obama/Biden ticket.
Sandy Sydnes of Des Moines was standing next to the two Ames women. She caucused for McCain and will cast her vote for him on November 4th. "I’m a traditionalist," Sydnes says. "I want to vote on Election Day."
Sharon Huck of Pleasant Hill caucused for Mike Huckabee, but thinks McCain was "wise" to choose Palin as his running mate. "I love her," she said.
Barb Fox of Minburn bought a campaign button with Palin’s picture and the words "integrity, honesty and optimism."
"I really, really like her. She’s honest. She’s a Christian," Fox says. "I like her presentations."
Dennis Getz of Cedar Rapids drove to Des Moines to see Palin because he believes she’s not getting a "fair shake" from the liberal media. Getz caucused for Fred Thompson, but says he’s now on the "bandwagon" for the McCain/Palin ticket. "We don’t really have a choice right now because otherwise it’s going to be slavery, you know," Gest says. "The guy that’s running on the other side, he’s not an American. He don’t even think like we do."
Palin said it a bit differently when she was on stage in Des Moines. "John and I believe in the promise of this country, the promise that is this country and all the opportunities and the freedom and the equality that we wish for ourselves and each and for our sons and our daughters and we believe that America isn’t the problem," Palin said. "America is the solution."
Palin never once mentioned Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama by name, but got a roar from the crowd when she suggested McCain was more "worthy" of the presidency. "Someone who inspires us with heroic and trustworthy deeds and not just words," Palin said.
According to Palin, the election will go "down to the wire" and Iowa’s seven electoral voters are crucial to McCain’s candidacy. "So Iowa, I would ask you? Will ya hire us? Will ya send us to Washington to shake things up and clean things up?" Palin asked. The crowd cheered, clapped, whistled and pounded together the "thunder sticks" the campaign had handed out. "Well, it’s a deal because we want the job," Palin said when the crowd wound down.
Palin did something in Sioux City that got her a round of applause and whistles from the crowd. Palin said she put on her "own jacket" when she stepped off the plane, emphasizing the words "my own" — an apparent reference to stories about the $150,000 the Republican National Committee spent on her campaign wardrobe.
Click on the audio link below to listen to Palin’s speech in Des Moines.