Virginians turn out for McCain/Palin rally

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people attended an Oct. 13 rally in Virginia Beach to show their support for Arizona Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican candidates for president and vice president, respectively.

Special musical guest Hank Williams Jr. performed for the standing-room-only crowd at the Virginia Beach Convention Center before introducing the candidates to uproarious applause.

Palin paid tribute to the veterans in the crowd, who raised their hands to identify themselves as such, and asked all in attendance to honor them. “We thank you for your service and sacrifice.”

She continued with assertions of “enough is enough,” stating that “the past is where you find blame, but we are joining you in looking to the future.” Further, she acknowledged that many Americans feel anger about the insider dealings of lobbyists, greed on Wall Street and voter fraud; and answered with “America, let John McCain turn that anger into action!”

She ended by saying, “There is only one man in this race who has fought for you.”

McCain graciously thanked the crowd, remembering the Hampton Roads area as his first duty station: “It’s like coming home again,” he remarked.

He admitted the economy was in hard times and pointed out that the next president would not have time to get used to the office or have time to study the issues. “He will have to act immediately.”

A reminder of his longtime service to the United States moved the crowd. “I’ve been fighting for this country since I was 17 years old. I will fight to take America into a new direction from my first day in office until my last. I’m not afraid of the fight. I’m ready for it!”

Additional speakers at the event included Reps. Thelma Drake and J. Randy Forbes.

Virginia has long been considered a strong Republican state, but recent polls have shown that support for both candidates has been close and the state’s 13 electoral votes may go either way.