On Saturday, the Republican vice-presidential nominee unleashed her inner pit bull, accusing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama of being someone who would "pal around with terrorists."
CARSON, Calif. — You can’t say she didn’t warn them.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin introduced herself to the country with a now-famous joke about lipstick as the only difference between a certain dog breed and a hockey mom. On Saturday, the Republican vice-presidential nominee unleashed her inner pit bull, accusing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama of being someone who would “pal around with terrorists.”
Her accusation — made before an overflow crowd of about 10,000 in the tennis stadium of the Home Depot Center, and earlier in the day at a Denver fundraiser — signaled an increasingly abrasive stance toward Obama on the part of her running mate, Republican nominee John McCain.
In Carson, she signaled her intentions early in her 23-minute speech.
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“One of my campaign staff said as I was walking out here, ‘OK, the heels are on, the gloves are off,’ ” Palin said.
The “terrorists” to whom Palin referred is Chicago radical-turned-professor Bill Ayers, a founder of the 1960s leftist group the Weathermen and sometime acquaintance of Obama.
“This is not a man who sees America as you and I see America,” Palin said of Obama. “We see America as a force for good in this world. We see America as a force for exceptionalism. … Our opponents see America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who would bomb their own country.”
The Obama campaign responded forcefully. “Gov. Palin’s comments, while offensive, are not surprising, given the McCain campaign’s statement this morning that they would be launching Swift Boat-like attacks in hopes of deflecting attention from the nation’s economic ills,” Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan said.
Republicans long have been expected to raise this issue. In August, a major fundraiser for McCain spent $2.8 million on an ad, by the American Issues Project, attacking Obama and raising questions about his relationship with Ayers. (The contributor, Texas billionaire Harold Simmons, also helped fund Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that damaged Democratic Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign when it called his military record into question.)
California is a reliably Democratic state, but it is also a reliable source of cash for Republicans. After the Carson rally Saturday, Palin attended a fundraiser in Costa Mesa. On Sunday, she was scheduled to headline a fundraiser in Burlingame, then head to Florida.