Sarah Palin Visits Penn State for a “Road to Victory Rally”
Penn State Students
By Samantha Pearson
Unigo Intern at PSU
A long line of 7,500 excited Penn State students and local residents waited outside Rec Hall two hours prior to the program’s beginning on Oct. 27, 2008. A group of about 50 Penn State students stood on the other side of the road, protesting the event. Why all of the spectators and excitement? Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate, was arriving to speak at 8 pm.
Doors opened at 6 pm for this event, yet everyone showed up incredibly early, including Obama supporters, self named “Obamaville.” Handing out fliers with information on the Obama-Biden campaign and platform, the Democratic supporters made their presence known to all of the Republicans in line. Chanting phrases such as, “Vote with your brain and not your gender”, and referring to Palin supporters as “greedy conservatives”, it was clear that the Palin protestors were against everything that Sarah Palin had to say: about energy, the economy, and Barack Obama himself.
After entering Rec Hall, away from the liberal protestors, many McCain-Palin supporters warmed up from the cold by waving “Country First” signs and heatedly debating politics with the equally opinionated person beside them.
After ground-shaking applause and whistling, country singer, Hank Williams Jr., came out to sing to the crowd and show his support for the McCain-Palin campaign. Clad in a shirt saying just that, he appealed to the crowd’s blue collar side by laughing about Ohio State football player, Terrell Pryor’s statement calling us “hicky.”
After several songs, including “McCain-Palin Tradition”, the lights dimmed and the crowd went wild with thundersticks and pompoms. A group of students with white cutouts spelling “We (heart) Sarah” stood up straight and the boys painted blue with “Maverick” spelled out on their chest, ferociously applauded.
Palin came out on the stage, accompanied by her husband, Todd, and waved and thanked the crowd. She made many references to Penn State in her speech, likening John McCain, “a seasoned leader”, to our football coach, Joe Paterno. She referenced “Joe the Plumber” and even inferred that she agreed with Plumber in his opinion that Obama’s views were socialistic.
She addressed the economy several times, and pointed out, in her opinion, the faults of Obama’s economic plans, and the positives in her “maverick’s” plan. She told Penn State students that Barack Obama wants “to spread your wealth around,” and that the Republicans had a plan that would enable students to afford college. Proudly “clinging to her guns and religion”, Palin riled up supporters by bringing up statements that Obama had supposedly made about residents of Pennsylvania.
Sarah Palin closed the evening by asking voters to support her and John McCain in the 2008 election. Exiting during a deafening applause, she waved to her fans. Leaving Rec Hall, one could still see “Obamaville” chanting and protesting on the side of the street, swinging signs.
Who will swing Pennsylvania?