In a 30-minute speech at a Toledo solar-panel factory yesterday, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin vowed that she and her running mate John McCain would expand domestic energy production and she attacked the "inaction" of their opponents.
Less than an hour later, she whooped it up with a crowd of about 5,500 at Bowling Green State University, where she appeared for the first time with Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, who has become a celebrity in the McCain campaign for challenging Barack Obama about his tax policy two weeks ago.
Mrs. Palin, who toured Ohio last week, was back for another series of stops aimed at keeping Ohio in the Republican camp - a mission that appeared only slightly more realistic yesterday according to a poll released by Quinnipiac University.
The poll showed Mr. Obama leading Mr. McCain 51-42. A week ago, the same poll had him leading Mr. McCain 52-38.
PALIN IN TOLEDO AREA
n her policy speech to about 200 invited guests at Xunlight Corp., 3145 Nebraska Ave., Mrs. Palin warned of the threats to American fuel supplies from Russia and hostile countries and accused Washington of failing to act on the issue.
She restated Mr. McCain's promise to spend $2 billion a year for 15 years researching and developing clean-coal technology and to build 45 new nuclear power plants.
he accused her opponents of supporting offshore drilling for the nation of Cyprus and nuclear energy in France and other European countries, but not the United States.
"When you look over the energy plans of Barack Obama and his allies in Congress, it's just a long, labored agenda of inaction," she said. "They're always talking about things we can't do in America; energy we can't produce; refineries we can't build; plants we can't approve; coal we cannot use, technologies we cannot master.
"Again and again, our opponents say that drilling will not solve all of America's energy problems - as if we all didn't know that already. But the fact that drilling won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all," she said.
She claimed that one of Joe Biden's first votes as a U.S. senator was in 1973 against building the Alaska oil pipeline. Mr. Biden is the Democratic vice presidential candidate.
"Oil wealth allows undemocratic governments to crush dissent and to subjugate women. Other regimes use it to finance terrorists around the world," she said.
Mrs. Palin's speech quickly drew counterattacks.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said Mrs. Palin's own words reflect on Mr. McCain.
"John McCain was there for 26 of those years, during which he voted against alternative sources of energy and stood with his oil industry benefactors instead," Governor Strickland said. "Now he wants to give those oil companies an additional $4 billion in tax breaks."
The Obama campaign released a detailed list of renewable and alternative energy mandates Mr. McCain has voted against.
Mr. Obama has endorsed offshore drilling, clean coal development, and nuclear plants, but with caveats about environmental safety. He has called for a 10-year, $150 billion investment in climate-friendly fuels and technologies that he says will rejuvenate the auto industry and create 5 million new jobs.
Criticism of America's overreliance on foreign oil is a staple of Mr. Obama's speeches.
Mrs. Palin's speech at the solar-panel factory touched only briefly on solar and wind energy, as well as efforts to curb carbon emissions and encourage Americans to conserve energy.
Carl Pope, Sierra Club executive director, issued a statement saying Mrs. Palin proved that Mr. McCain's energy policy would leave the United States "more dependent on hostile foreign regimes and unreliable, polluting sources of energy."
'Hockey mom' styleAt BGSU's Anderson Arena, Mrs. Palin played up her "hockey mom" style that came into question last week when it was revealed the GOP had spent $150,000 on new clothing for her and her family.
As Mr. Wurzelbacher took the stage with her, the crowd chanted, "Joe, Joe, Joe." Mrs. Palin said she knew she was going to like Mr. Wurzelbacher when she saw a picture of him "in his Carhartts [work clothing] and steel-toed boots."
She hammered on the socialism theme the campaign has used lately.
"[Mr. Obama's] plan to redistribute your hard-earned money will discourage productivity," she told the cheering crowd. "You shouldn't be working for government. Our government should be working for you."
The music that introduced her was Dolly Parton's "9 to 5," an anthem of working women's liberation.
She also criticized the Los Angeles Times for not releasing a videotape which reportedly shows Mr. Obama speaking at a dinner honoring an activist for the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Rashid Khalidi, a leading Palestinian scholar and activist, is said to have spoken to reporters on behalf of the PLO.
Mrs. Palin accused the paper of "kowtowing" to the Obama campaign because it had endorsed him. The paper reported on the dinner in detail in April, and says it obtained the tape under an agreement with a confidential source not to release it.
The New York Times yesterday afternoon reported that Mr. McCain has his own connection with Mr. Khalidi.
According to tax records, a foreign policy organization that Mr. McCain chairs, International Republican Institute, gave more than $850,000 in 1998 and 1999 to a group in part founded by Mr. Khalidi, the Center for Palestine Research and Studies.
At Xunlight Corp., Mrs. Palin and her husband, Todd, were given a tour of the factory by CEO Xunming Deng and his wife, Liwei Xu, the company's vice president of finance.
'Mine, baby, mine'Later at an outdoor rally in Chillicothe, Mrs. Palin told the crowd, "We'll drill here, and we'll drill now," she said. "Drill, baby, drill. Mine, baby, mine."
Energy speech attendee Tracy Meade, of Temperance, Mich., whose husband owns an automotive supplier business, said expanding American energy sources will lower the price of fuel and revive sales of U.S. cars.
"We depend on the automotive industry. The higher the prices go, the less people buy cars," Mrs. Meade said. "The [United Auto Workers] are telling their people to vote for Obama. They're going to vote themselves out of a job."
One BGSU student who carried an Obama sign outside Anderson Arena declined to criticize Mrs. Palin, but said he hopes Mr. Obama wins. "We tried to keep it positive. We didn't want to further the negativity even though we felt a lot of it coming back at us," said Kevin Corso, 19, of Milan, Ohio. He said the high-profile campaign appearance was a credit to the school and will be part of its history.
Misty Tuttle, who attended the Chillicothe rally with her 12-year-old son, said, "She is like me."
"She grew up in a rural area with the values I had and where her father would take her hunting. She has a lot of appeal to me in that respect," Ms. Tuttle said.
Columbus Bureau Chief Jim Provance contributed to this report.
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