Palin, McCain together again
Ex-Alaska governor encourages Tea Party to 'send the maverick back'
John McCain and Sarah Palin appeared together Friday for the first time since the end of the 2008 presidential campaign, on stage at the Pima County Fairgrounds.
Palin, the former governor of Alaska, was in town to support McCain in his re-election battle for United States Senate. McCain is being challenged in the Republican Party primary by former Arizona congressman and radio personality J.D. Hayworth.
During a 15-minute speech, punctuated by calls of “Sarah!” from the overflow crowd in Thurber Hall, Palin repeatedly urged supporters to “send the maverick back to Washington, D.C.”
She also made several attempts at reconciliation between conservative-leaning Tea Party members and more mainstream Republicans, calling it a “beautiful grassroots movement that is putting government back on the side of the people,” and remarking that “everybody here today supporting John McCain, we're all part of that Tea Party movement.”
Palin also took pains to distance herself, the McCain campaign and the Tea Party movement from violent incidents that have erupted in the wake of last week's vote on health care, condemning violence in general and emphasizing that “when we take up our arms, we do it with our votes.”
Addressing the crowd with a familiar “my friends,” McCain took aim at the recently passed health care package, referring to it as “Obamacare,” saying it was passed despite the “overwhelming objection of the majority of American people, and asserting it would be “repealed and replaced.”
McCain charged the legislation would cost the employment of several thousand government employees and asserting that over 33,000 senior citizens would lose their current Medicare coverage.
Senator McCain followed Palin in stressing non-violent activism among his supporters, saying recent events are leading to “a revolution, but a peaceful revolution,” and promising “we're gonna take on the [health care] legislation in the courts . . . in the senate, and on the streets.”
McCain, looking forward to mid-term elections this November, promised supporters “we'll take control of the House and the Senate,” and asserted that “Congress has the power of the purse . . . even if the president wants to veto, we in congress still control the power of the purse . . . when it comes to this bill, Republicans are the party of 'hell no.' ”
Responding to President Obama's remarks from Iowa yesterday, in which he told opposition party members to “go for it” in attempting to overturn the current legislation, McCain told his supporters “I am confident that I am here reflecting the view of the majority of the American people by saying 'Right, Mr. President, we're gonna go for it . . . we're gonna stop this legislation.'”
McCain ended his relatively brief speech by telling the crowd that the “greatest honor of [his] life was serving Arizona as senator,” and “humbly” requested that constituents return him to office this November.
He then exited the stage to strains of Whitesnake's “Here I go Again,” as the crowd roared their approval, chanting “Mac is back.”