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Grand Junction ready for Palin

Emily Anderson
Grand Junction correspondent
and Kristen Wyatt/The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
johnmccain.comSarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, will make a campaign stop in Grand Junction, Colo. Monday evening.
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. ” Grand Junction is expecting as many as 20,000 people to turn out for an appearance by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Monday ” an historic event, according to one state senator.

Grand Junction Republican Sen. Josh Penry said Palin’s position as the first woman vice presidential nominee in the Republican Party is history in the making.

Palin will speak at Suplizio Field in Lincoln Park in this western Colorado community. With room on the field and in the stands, Mesa County Republicans Chair Gary Roahrig is expecting 15,000 to 20,000 people to see Palin when she speaks at 7 p.m.

“They’re remaking our baseball park into a place that could hold Mick Jagger or Bono,” Penry said.

No tickets are required for the first-come, first-served event, but commemorative tickets will be handed out once attendees are inside the ballpark. Gates open at 1 p.m. and the main program begins at 6 p.m.

Country musician Hank Williams Jr. will perform. Williams has tagged along with Palin at her events in other states, as well. Penry said he wanted to make sure the musician came to Grand Junction, too, so local Republicans requested Williams’ presence.

“He’s a huge draw, as well,” Penry said.

Local Republican candidates, include Rep. Al White of Hayden, will speak before Palin comes on stage. House District 55 candidate Laura Bradford of Collbran will be the last candidate to speak before Palin steps to the podium.

On Monday morning, Palin continued to slam Barack Obama on taxes during an appearance in Colorado Springs.

Palin told voters the Democratic nominee will raise their taxes.

“What that means is government taking your money and spreading it out wherever politicians see fit. That’s not good for the economy,” she said.

Several thousand people attended Palin’s rally at a Colorado Springs minor league baseball park, but the 8,500 seats in the stands weren’t full. Attendees were told to wear red in support of Palin, who wore a red jacket, but only about half did in a chilly drizzle.

The Republican vice presidential nominee repeated familiar themes, citing John McCain’s war record, his long service in the Senate and the campaign’s emphasis on helping small businesses.

“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.

The crowd whooped in laughter.

“I didn’t hear anything brand new, but we heard again what we wanted to hear,” said Kelly Rotenberry, 47, who works in customer service and drove about 25 miles to hear Palin speak.

Some women who attended conceded that Palin has work to do appeal to Colorado women.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll suggests a majority of likely female voters in Colorado say Palin is not qualified to be vice president. Just 37 percent said they had a favorable impression of her.

That poll was conducted Oct. 8-12 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

“It’s really going to be a fight,” said Ronda Ellis, 34, a registered nurse who noted many of her fellow nurses are bothered by Palin’s opposition to abortion rights.

“A lot of them feel like, as a woman, how could she oppose this?” Ellis said.

“She’s one of us,” said Mimi Hailes, 51. “She’s a Christian, and she’s got my values, and I’ve got her values, and that’s important to me.”

On Sunday, Palin indicated she wasn’t fond of the automated campaign calls voters in Colorado have been getting from the McCain campaign.

“If I called all the shots and if I could wave a magic wand, I would be sitting at a kitchen table with more and more Americans talking to them about our plans to get the economy back on track and winning the war and not relying on the old conventional ways of campaigning that include those robo calls, that include spending so much money on the television ads that I think is kind of draining out there,” Palin told Denver’s KWGN-TV.

The calls in Colorado and other states say Obama “has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home and killed Americans.” The charge is misleading: The bombings, which took place more than 35 years ago, didn’t result in fatalities and the group didn’t claim responsibility for the attack on the judge’s home.

Obama has condemned Ayers’ radical activities, which took place when Obama was a child.


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