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Remarks at a McCain-Palin Campaign Rally


Location: Washington, PA

(Crowd chants, "USA, USA, USA!" and "John McCain, John McCain!")

MR. RIDGE: Well, isn't this terrific? Let's have one more welcome for the next president and vice president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.)

You know, I asked my friend of 25 years if I could -- (cheers, applause).

They love you in Pennsylvania, John. Don't we all?

I asked my friend of 25 years if I could break with protocol because I've been given the extraordinary privilege to introduce him. But before I do that, once a governor, always a governor. Know what I mean? And I didn't have the chance to ever welcome the governor of Alaska to Pennsylvania. (Cheers, applause.)

So on behalf of Pennsylvanians, Republicans and Democrats -- (crowd chants, "Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!") -- I need not say anymore other than, Governor, I look forward to campaigning with you and for you as part of your winning team and coalition. But I call you Sarah now and Governor, but I really look forward when I walk into the White House, if I ever get invited, to calling you Madame Vice President. (Cheers, applause.)

This will not be a long introduction because it doesn't need to be. You've been sitting or standing in the sun for over two hours. I'm sorry, it was my own frame of reference -- four hours. (Laughter.) It speaks a lot about you and of your commitment to democracy and a lot about your commitment to John McCain. And I thank you for that. (Cheers, applause.)

Politics, ladies and gentlemen, is simply a means to an end. You run to win, but you win to govern. And over the past several years, maybe decades, we've lost the second half of that equation. People run to win and they run to win and they run to win, and they forgot about the responsibility to govern. And from time to time, there are leaders who step out of that general frame of mind and say, it's my role, it is my responsibility to help govern. And I'm going to govern consistent with my beliefs. And more often than not, they're consistent with the beliefs of the Republican Party.

But from time to time, as we all know, John McCain, a man driven by principle, who's demonstrated time and time again his political and his personal courage, he will put his country first. (Cheers, applause.)

Leadership is not always telling people what they want to hear. Sometimes leaders are required to tell you what you need to know. And sometimes what you need to know, that there are problems, and there are complex problems. But you need a leader who can tell you there's a problem but show you a way to solve it. That's the kind of leader we have in John McCain. (Cheers, applause.)

I'm not going to say anymore. I love this guy. He's been my buddy for 25 years. I'm proud to call him John. And I suspect that when he gets elected, we'll continue to be on a first-name basis, he'll call me Tom or Tommy, and I'll be proud to call him Mr. President. (Cheers, applause.)

SEN. MCCAIN: Thank you! Thank you! (Cheers, applause.) Thank you!

Thank you, Tom. Thank you! Thank you for defending our nation, Governor Ridge. Thank you for serving as a great governor. Thank you for your service in the Congress of the United States of America, and thank you for your service in the Vietnam War. Thank you. Thank you, Tom. (Cheers, applause.)

I see all these guys with the funny hats on, so could I say thank you to our veterans. Please raise your hands so we can all say thank you. Thank you for serving! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! (Cheers, applause.) I'm honored to be in the company of heroes.

As you know, yesterday I had the great privilege of making an historic announcement and introducing the people in Ohio, and now I'm honored to introduce to the people of Washington, Pennsylvania and the entire state of Pennsylvania, the next vice president of the United States of America. And I'm honored to be here with her. (Cheers, applause.) (Crowd chants, "Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!")

Before I proceed with my comments and introduce you to this great American, I would like all of us, obviously, to keep in our thoughts and prayers the people in the Gulf Coast, especially in New Orleans, that are threatened by this terrible natural disaster of a hurricane. They need to know, and I know that they know, that they are in our thoughts and prayers as this impending hurricane approaches.

We pray, God, that it will spare them and a minimum of loss that might results from this natural disaster.

So my friends, as we enjoy this great rally, we'll keep them in our thoughts and our hopes and our prayers. (Applause.)

My friends, I'm running for president. And before I do that, I cannot tell you why I'm running for president any more than thanking John Rich of Big & Rich.

John, thank you for your (music ?) earlier tonight. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you very much.

I'm running for president to make government stand on your side, not in your way. (Cheers, applause.) I've spend the last few months looking for a running mate who can help me shake up Washington and stop the corruption and clean it up! (Cheers, applause.) And make it start working again for the people of America!

You know, I had a lot of good people to choose from. And I want to thank Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani. (Applause.) By the way, my friend Mike Huckabee had the best line of all the debates that we had, all the many endless debates. And the moderator said, Governor Huckabee, what would Jesus do? And Governor Huckabee said, Jesus would be smart enough not to run for public office. (Laughter, applause.)

But I could only choose one, as you know. And it's with great pride and gratitude I tell you I have found the right partner to help me stand up to those who have corrupted Washington and went to Washington to change it and they changed. (Cheers, applause.) And they put power over principle, and they put their interests before yours. I found someone who is accomplished, who has accomplished reform, who is accomplished in the management of multi-million-dollar budgets.

She fought against corruption and the failed politics of the past. She's stopped government from wasting taxpayer's money on things they don't want or need.

And when we in Congress decided to build a bridge in Alaska to nowhere for 233 million of your dollars, she said, we don't want it. If we need it, we'll build our own in Alaska. (Cheers, applause.) She's the one that stood up -- that stood up -- to them!

She has executive experience and has shown great tenacity and skill in tackling tough problems. She's reached across the aisle to Republicans, Democrats, independents, libertarians, vegetarians -- all of them! (Laughter.) She has strong principles, a fighting spirit.

You know, my friends, this great governor grew up in a decent, hard-working, middle-class family. Her father was an elementary school teacher. Her mother was the school secretary. And they taught her to care about others, work hard, stand up with courage for the things you believe in. The person that I'm introducing to you was an electrical worker and a union member and married a union member, who also happens to be four-time champion Iron Dog snow vehicle snow mobile 2,000-mile race across the state of Alaska, Iron Dog Todd Palin. Stand up! (Cheers, applause.)

Two thousand miles in a snow machine. My friends, that is truly a tough guy. (Laughter.) And he knows what it's like and she knows what it's like to worry about mortgage payments and health care and the cost of gasoline and groceries. She was a high school point guard, a concerned citizen who became a member of the PTA -- (cheers) -- a city council member -- thank you, PTA members. (Laughter.) Your reward will be in heaven. (Laughter.)

She beat the establishment. She took on a sitting incumbent in her own party. She won a tough election on a message of reform and public integrity. And I'm proud to say that as we celebrate the anniversary of women's suffrage. A devoted wife and mother of five beautiful children -- five. (Cheers, applause.)

She's not from these parts, and she's not from Washington. (Cheers, applause.) And when you get to know her, you're going to be as impressed as I am. She's got a lot of grit and integrity and good sense and fierce devotion to the common good. That's exactly what we need in Washington today. She knows where she comes from, and she knows who she works for. She stands up for what's right, and she doesn't let anybody tell her to sit down! (Cheers, applause.)

She's fought oil companies and party bosses and do-nothing bureaucrats and anybody who put their interests before the interests of the people that she swore an oath to serve. She's exactly -- exactly -- who you and I need. She's exactly what this country needs to help me fight the same old Washington politics of me first, country second.

My friends and fellow Americans, I am very pleased and privileged to introduce to you the next vice president of the United States, Governor Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska. (Cheers, applause.)

GOV. PALIN: Thank you so much! Thank you!

(Crowd chants, "Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!")

Thank you so much, Senator. And it is so good to be here in Steeler territory where the wild things are! (Cheers, applause.)

Oh, I thank you for that warm welcome. And it is warm, something I'm not really used to! But this is absolutely gorgeous, and what a beautiful park. And thank you so much for that welcome.

I am honored to be here with all of you and in the company of John and Cindy McCain, the next president and first lady of the United States! (Cheers, applause.)

Governor Ridge, thank you so much. Pleasure to get to meet you in person finally. I've been a big fan.

Well, I know that when Senator McCain asked me to be his running mate, he had a short list of highly qualified men and women. To have made that list at all was a privilege, and to have been chosen, it brings a great challenge. I know that it will demand the best that I have to give, and I promise nothing less.

There are a few people I'd like you to meet first, though, starting with my husband, Todd. Todd and I celebrated our 20th anniversary yesterday. (Cheers, applause.) And I had promised him a big surprise. After promising him a surprise for our anniversary, yesterday was it. I think I was able to deliver on that.

Todd's a lifelong commercial fisherman and a production operator up on the North Slope in Alaska's oil fields. He's a proud member of the United Steelworkers Union -- (cheers, applause) -- and yep, as Senator McCain said, he's a four-time winner of the Iron Dog. That's the world champion snow machine race. (Cheers, applause.) Todd and I met in high school where we met and fell in love and still here, 20 years later, he's still the man that I admire most in this world. (Cheers, applause.)

Along the way, we have shared many blessings, and three of the five of them are here with us today. First, my son, the oldest, Track. He's going to be following the presidential campaign from afar. On September 11th of last year, our son enlisted in the United States Army. (Cheers, applause.) Track now serves in an Infantry brigade. And on September 11th of this year, Track will be deployed to Iraq in the service of his country. Todd and I are so proud of him, as we are of all of our men and women serving this country in uniform! Thank you! (Cheers, applause.)

Then we have our daughter, Bristol. She's on the bust with the newborn. And then we have our daughter, Willow, who is here and our youngest daughter, Piper. (Applause.) On that bus, we have our son, Trig, who is a beautiful baby boy we welcomed into the world just in April. It's his nap time, so he's with his big sister on the bus. But we thank them for being here! (Cheers, applause.)

And speaking of Trig and other things, some of life's greatest opportunities come unexpectedly, and this is certainly the case today. I never really set out to be involved in public affairs, much less to run for this office. My mom and dad, they both worked at the local elementary school. My husband and I, we grew up, both, learning to work with our hands.

And I was just your average hockey mom in Alaska. (Cheers, applause.) A hockey mom raising our kids, serving as the team mom, coaching a little basketball on the side. I got involved in the PTA and then was elected to the city council and then elected mayor of my hometown. My agenda there was to stop wasteful spending, cut property taxes and put the people first! (Cheers, applause.)

Next, I was appointed ethics commissioner and chairman of the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. And when I found corruption there, I fought it hard, and I held the offenders to account. And along with fellow reformers in the great state of Alaska, as governor, I've stood up to the old politics as usual, to the special interests, the lobbyists, big-oil influence and the good-old-boys network. (Cheers, applause.)

And then when oil and gas prices went up dramatically all over the country, what I did in Alaska was -- state revenues following that increase -- I sent a large share of that revenue directly back to the people of Alaska. And now we've embarked on a $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence. (Cheers, applause.)

In office, I signed major ethics reforms and appointed both Democrats and independents to serve in my administration, knowing it's going to take everybody working together in order to progress and make that change that John McCain and I are fighting for. (Cheers, applause.)

I've championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. And I did tell Congress thanks, but no thanks, for that bridge to nowhere. If our state wanted to build a bridge, we were going to build it ourselves. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, it's always safer in politics to just avoid risk and to go along with the status quo. But I didn't get into government to do the safe and easy things. It's like that old adage that a ship in harbor is safe, but that's not why the ship is built. Politics isn't just a game of clashing parties and competing interests. The people of America expect us to seek public office and to serve for the right reasons. (Cheers, applause.


The right reason is to challenge the status quo and to serve the common good. And no one expects us to agree on everything, whether in Juneau or in Washington. But we are expected to govern with integrity and good will and clear convictions and a servant's heart. (Cheers, applause.) And friends, no leader in America today has shown these qualities so clearly or present so clear a threat to business-as-usual in Washington as Senator John S. McCain! (Cheers, applause.)

This is a moment when principles and political independence matter a lot more than just a party line. And this is a man who has always been there to serve his country, not just his party. This is a moment that requires resolve and toughness and strength of heart in the American president. And my running mate is a man who has shown those qualities in the darkest of places and in his service to his country.

This is a moment when great causes can be won and great threats overcome, depending on the judgment of the next president. In a dangerous world, remember it's John McCain. He will lead America's friends and allies in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. (Cheers, applause.)

It was John McCain who cautioned long ago about the harm that Russian aggression could do to Georgia, to other small democratic neighbors and to the world oil market. It was Senator McCain who refused to hedge his support for our troops in Iraq regardless of the political costs. (Cheers, applause.)

Thank you.

And you know, now as the mother of one of those troops and as the commander of Alaska's National Guard, that's the kind of man I want as commander in chief! (Cheers, applause.)

Profiles in courage can be hard to come by these days. And you know, we look for them mostly now in books. But when next week we nominate John McCain for president, we're going to put one on the ballot! (Cheers, applause.)

So to serve as vice president beside such a man would be the privilege of a lifetime. And it's fitting that this trust has been given to me 88 years, almost to the day, after the women of America first gained the right to vote. (Cheers, applause.) So I think as well today of two other women, who came before me in national elections, and I can't begin this great effort without honoring the achievements of Geraldine Ferraro back in 1984 and, of course, Senator Hillary Clinton, who did show determination and grace in her presidential campaign.

It was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But thankfully, as it turns out, the women of America aren't finished yet. And the voters will shatter that glass ceiling once and for all! (Cheers, applause.)

(Crowd chants, "Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!")

Okay. So for my part, the mission is clear then. The next 66 days, I'm going to take our campaign into every part of the country and our message of reform to every voter of every background, of every political party or no party at all. And if you want change in Washington, it you hope for a better day in America, then we're asking for your vote on the 4th of November.

My fellow Americans, come join our cause! Help elect for our country a great man as the next president of the United States, that's John McCain! And I thank you! God bless you! God bless America! (Cheers, applause.)

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