BANGOR, Maine — Addressing a crowd of thousands inside a Bangor airport hangar on Thursday morning, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin invoked perhaps the best sound bite of running mate John McCain’s performance in Wednesday’s final presidential debate.
“Our opponents sure do like to talk about the past and point fingers backwards,” Palin said to a crowd waving a mix of McCain-Palin signs and tiny American flags. “They look to the past because they’d rather run against the current administration, it sounds like. That strategy though, thankfully, is really starting to wear very, very thin. As John McCain reminded Barack Obama last night, if he wanted to run against George Bush, he had his chance four years ago.”
The Republican vice presiential candidate’s brief visit to Bangor may have helped energize the GOP base in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District and Palin certainly catered to conservatives. Not only conservatives, by Maine conservatives.
“I feel like I’m at home because I see the Carhartts and the steel-toed boots,” she said. “And I see, mixed in there with the suits and ties, the NRA hats and all those good things that remind me of home.”
Responding to Palin’s visit to Maine, Democratic U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud said it’s important to remember that while Alaska’s governor has rallied the base, she’s not the one running for president.
“Unfortunately, John McCain offers Maine more of the same failed economic policies,” said Michaud, an Obama supporter.
An estimated 6,000 ticket holders crammed into Hangar 11 at Bangor International Airport during Gov. Palin’s 30-minute speech, billed as a “Road to Victory” rally. Palin stayed inside the hangar for another half hour shaking hands and signing autographs before she boarded her campaign plane.
Sandy Reynolds, 63, drove early Thursday morning from Portland to hear Palin speak.
“I had seen some of the debates, but I really wanted to see her in person,” Reynolds said. “I thought she did awesome. She’s really inspiring.”
Jamie Stuckey, a 19-year-old University of Maine student, skipped two classes, including public speaking, to attend the rally.
“It was worth it,” she said. “I really like that she addressed funding for schools and education. That’s something that’s important to me.”
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