GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. " Sarah Palin slammed Barack Obama as a socialist tax-raiser Monday while pressing Coloradans to head to the polls as early voting began in the battleground state.
Talking to several thousand gathered at each of three rallies, Palin promised the Republican ticket would "get this economy back on track," while an Obama victory would mean higher taxes and economic decline.
"Now is not the time to experiment with socialism," Palin said. "Our opponent's plan is just more big government."
The government's job is to collect taxpayer dollars and decide how to spend them. Obama has said he would cut taxes for people who make less than $250,000 a year.
At the Larimer County fairgrounds in Longmont, Palin pointed to the crowd and said they'd personally pay for the Obama tax-cut plan.
"Barack Obama claims that he will cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans. But the problem with that claim is, 40 percent pay no income taxes at all. So how do you cut income taxes for people who don't pay them?" she said.
Obama has said he is talking about "working Americans," and the figure he cites " 95 percent " is essentially correct, according to the Tax Policy Center, which calculated the figures.
Palin criticized Obama on energy, claiming, "Our opponents keeping saying, 'No, no, no' to the energy options out there."
When the Loveland crowd began chanting, "Drill, baby, drill," Palin responded: "You're right. Drill, baby, drill, and mine, baby, mine."
Palin also defended an argument she first made in Colorado earlier this month when she accused Obama of "palling around with terrorists" for his association with 1960s radical Bill Ayers.
"It is not negative campaigning when someone is called out on their record and on their plans and their associations," she said. "We call him out in fairness to you, the voters." The crowds whooped.
After the Palin speeches, though, some supporters fretted the race may be out of reach for John McCain and Palin. Several polls in recent weeks have indicated McCain is behind both in Colorado and nationally.
"I definitely think it's going in Barack's favor, with the economy and the anger over how things are going," said Colorado Springs nurse Ronda Ellis, 34, who brought her infant son and parents to wait before dawn for Palin's appearance there.
Retail clerk Norma Riggins said she thinks economic uncertainty is hurting McCain.
"It's hard. I hear a lot of people saying, 'Economy, economy, economy,'" said Riggins, 46.
Palin's Colorado remarks didn't hit any new themes, but the Alaska governor noted her appearances coincided with the start of early voting in Colorado.
"We are looking to you to help us in the final stretch of the campaign," she told the Loveland crowd.
To a smaller crowd after her Loveland rally, Palin said, "Please get out and vote early."
Todd Palin attended the rallies and made a short pitch after the Loveland rally.
"Get all your fishing buddies and hunting buddies to vote," he told several hundred people who didn't make it into a hockey arena where the larger rally was held.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden was headed to Colorado right behind Palin. Biden had rallies planned Tuesday and Wednesday in Greeley, Commerce City, Pueblo and Colorado Springs in his first visit to Colorado since the Democratic National Convention.