By Laura Smith
October 16, 2008
The atypical 90-degree October weather did not stop a huge crowd from coming out to Latham Park at Elon University on Thursday to see vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, speak on behalf of John McCain and his goals for the country.
Elon students, faculty and local residents from surrounding cities and counties came for the McCain-Palin campaign rally to witness this historical event for the university.
“We’re really excited about Palin being a part of the [Republican] ticket,” Elon resident, Delores Simmons, said.
Like many other supporters at the rally, Delores and her husband, Randy, took the day off work to come cheer on Palin.
“She has hometown values…Christian values and she is Pro-life,” Randy said.
“I think the Democratic crowd would take us down a road that would be very dangerous,” he added.
Sarah Palin feels the same way and reiterated this to the Elon audience.
“You have a choice,” she said, “A choice between a politician who wants to raise taxes and a true reformer who wants to lower taxes, create jobs, and get the economy back on track.”
Palin talked about improving the economy and providing more jobs for Americans.
“This $10 trillion debt that we’re expected to pass on to our kids, our grandkids…that’s not right, that’s not fair, we will do something about it,” she said.
“We won’t keep proposing bigger and bigger government,” Palin continued. “John McCain and I, we will impose a spending freeze on all but the most vital functions of government…we will balance the federal budget by the end of the first term.”
Palin also spoke about mining domestically using US reserves.
“We need to drill here and drill now,” she said. Her statement was echoed with shouts from the crowd repeating, “drill baby drill!”
Randy agreed with McCain and Palin’s stance on oil.
“We have to drill here,” he said. “ We’ve got to get away from foreign oil.”
Palin also discussed her position on education for special needs children as well as improving and enhancing help for their families.
“We can learn more from them than they can ever learn from us,” she said.
Palin supported McCain throughout her speech by recapping the qualities she believes he possesses to become a good president.
“Everyone knows John McCain,” she said. “He is the maverick.”
“We need a leader with experience and courage… and that person is John McCain,” she added.
For Caswell County resident and Elon graduate, Bud Wrenn, this is just the reason why he came to the rally. Like the Simmonses, he also took off work to attend the rally; he is a pastor of the Innovative Church Community in Burlington.
“While I don’t agree with him [McCain] on every point, his positions and experience make him the best candidate,” Wrenn said.
“He is very well spoken and has the experience to back it up,” Wrenn added. “He has demonstrated leadership…integrity and character.”
Palin’s words were disrupted in the middle of her speech when a protestor tried to impede on her discussion with the audience.
“Tell security to not kick him out, he needs to stay and learn a lesson from all of us,” Palin joked.
Palin ended her speech telling the audience full of residents such as Wrenn and the Simmons that “the choice you have to make comes down to what you believe in.”
“We believe in the promise of this country,” Palin said. “We believe that America is not the problem, America is the solution.”
North Carolina state house candidate, Celo Faucette and senatorial candidates, Rick Gunn and Elizabeth Dole also spoke prior to Palin’s arrival.
Country star Hank Williams Jr. also performed for the Latham Park audience, including his song, “The McCain-Palin Tradition.”