McCain, Palin Push 'Change' Agenda In Missouri The Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin drew a big crowd Monday in Lee's Summit, Mo. Both talked about how they would shake up Washington.

McCain, Palin Push 'Change' Agenda In Missouri

McCain, Palin Push 'Change' Agenda In Missouri

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The Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin drew a big crowd Monday in Lee's Summit, Mo. Both talked about how they would shake up Washington.


This is Morning Edition from NPR News. Steve Inskeep is on assignment in Pennsylvania. I'm Renee Montagne. The candidates are on the campaign trail in a race that has evened out now that Republicans got their own bump from their national convention. Several new polls show the race basically tied. One has John McCain ahead. With his running mate Sarah Palin joining him, McCain is pushing his reputation as a maverick in his campaign ads.

(Soundbite of McCain campaign ad)

Unidentified Announcer #1: The original mavericks. He fights pork barrel spending. She stopped the Bridge to Nowhere. He took on the drug industry. She took on big oil.

MONTAGNE: The Obama campaign has hit back with its own ad.

(Soundbite of Obama campaign ad)

Unidentified Announcer #2: They call themselves mavericks. Whoa! Truth is they're anything but. John McCain is hardly a maverick when seven of his top campaign advisers are Washington lobbyists. He's no maverick when he votes with Bush 90 percent of the time.

MONTAGNE: As we enter the final eight weeks of the campaign, we have three reports from the frontlines beginning with NPR's Don Gonyea traveling with McCain and Palin.

DON GONYEA: Lee's Summit, Missouri, is just outside Kansas City. It's a conservative place, and conservative voters packed the pavilion at a retirement community yesterday. As with each and every one of Senator McCain's campaign events since the wrap-up of their Republican Convention last week, the big attraction was his running mate.

Governor SARAH PALIN (Republican, Alaska; 2008 Republican Vice Presidential Nominee): Thank you so much.

(Soundbite of crowd ovation)

Governor PALIN: Thank you.

GONYEA: Palin and McCain each talked about how they will shake up Washington, how they are the agents of change in this race, the GOP vice presidential nominee citing Senator Obama's opposition to the troop surge in Iraq as an example.

Governor PALIN: Now, for his part, our opponent, he still can't acknowledge the coming victory in Iraq. And he couldn't just yesterday, even in an interview. He said he's for change. But in Iraq change happened, and that's a great thing for America, Senator.

(Soundbite of crowd ovation)

GONYEA: Palin added that victory is, quote, "within sight in Iraq." She also continue to highlight her own record as a reformer, citing again that she opposed the so-called Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska, which was slated to receive some 223 million in federal dollars earmarked for the project. But Palin again did not mention that she first strongly supported the bridge until Congress withdrew funding for it. When McCain took the stage, he seemed buoyed not just by the presence of his crowd-pleasing running mate, but also by polls that show him getting a bounce over the weekend, with some even putting him ahead.

Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona; 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee): And I have no doubts we're going to win this election. And let me offer an advance warning to the old big-spending, do-nothing, me first, country second, Washington crowd. Change is coming, change is coming, change is coming.

(Soundbite of crowd ovation)

GONYEA: The original plan had Governor Palin splitting off and campaigning on her own starting at the beginning of this week, but the campaign has kept her with McCain, including for today's events in Cincinnati and in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. But tomorrow she returns to Alaska for the first time as the Republican vice presidential nominee. A major homecoming is expected. Don Gonyea, NPR News, Cincinnati.

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