By Michael Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 27, 2008 12:51 PM
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin swept into Northern Virginia this morning to fire up GOP voters in the battleground state eight days before the presidential election, making the case that a Republican in the White House would lead to lower taxes and an economic comeback.
Palin, speaking to a partisan crowd of thousands in Leesburg shortly after 10 a.m., said Republican Sen. John McCain would cut taxes and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama would raise them.
"Our opponent is not being candid with you all about his tax plan," Palin said, adding: "Senator Obama has an ideological commitment to higher taxes. . . . "Barack Obama is on the side of bigger, more controlling government and higher taxes."
At that point, the crowd burst into a chant: "Use your brain, vote McCain!"
Palin saw a sign in the crowd that echoed one of her signature phrases. She smiled and said, "You betcha, that's good."
Thousands of supporters turned out to hear the GOP vice presidential candidate at J.R.'s Festival Lakes in Leesburg. Her visit was part of an intensified effort by the McCain presidential campaign to keep the state's 13 electoral votes in the Republican column.
Polls in recent weeks have shown a tight race in Virginia between McCain (Ariz.) and Obama (Ill.). A new Washington Post poll shows that Obama has an eight-point lead over McCain, with 52 percent of likely voters in Virginia backing the Democrat and 44 percent backing the Republican. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
At the rally, signs in the crowd exhorted: "Keep Virginia Red" and "VA and DC need mavericks."
Palin said McCain would cut the business tax rate to help turn the economy around. "We will cut it so that we can keep American businesses in America," she said.
Among the warm-up speakers were Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), who is seeking reelection, and Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York (I). York called Obama "a presidential candidate that's on training wheels" and said he was supporting McCain because "our country and indeed the world is in a time of uncertainty, and we need a person who understands those threats."
Andrea Dombrowski, 39, a Loudoun County real estate agent who came to the rally, said Palin is "a role model for women and best represents my hopes for the future of my country."
Sarah McLellan, 54, an anesthesiologist in Frederick County, Va., cited the health-care issue as a reason for her support for the GOP ticket.
"I want to hold on to what's great about our health-care system and not turn it over to the federal government," she said. "We need to get health care in the hands of individuals."
Ryan Grady, 20, a student at Radford University who is from Leesburg, said he's leaning toward McCain but is still somewhat undecided. "I think Palin's the most exciting option," he said.