Wednesday morning, September 10th, 2008, a huge throng of Republican faithful congregated in a Northern Virginia park to cheer John McCain and his VP pick, Sarah Palin. Many wore red demonstrating their determination to “Keep Virginia Red” come November. Before the arrival of the candidates, the mayor of Fairfax began the program telling the crowd that even though Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had appeared during school hours in the public schools of Virginia, the thought of a Republican rally had democrat operatives scurrying to protest that it was against the rules. The McCain team made the decision to move the rally to Van Dyke Park, a large bowl shaped outdoor venue near the school. It was a good call. The school could hold six thousand, and 23,000 turned out for this rally-it was the largest rally to date for John McCain.
Not only the ground troops of the GOP but the Virginia Republican VIPs turned out in force. Senator John Warner, former senator George Allen, current candidate for senator Jim Gilmore, former gubinatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore, the current attorney general and future candidate for governor Bob McDonnell, attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli, Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart (who drew great applause), Representatives Tom Davis and Frank Wolfe and Keith Fimian, candidate for Tom Davis’ 11th district seat all attended. (Davis is retiring after this term.)
Two former democrat supporters told the crowd why they had decided to vote for John McCain. Lynett Long, a former Hillary Clinton supporter told of her anger with what she say as disrespect of women in the Democrat party. In response to Obama’s “lipstick on a pig” comment, Long said, “Well, Mr. Obama, calling girls names is something you do in fifth grade and I don’t want a fifth-grader running my country.” The crowd laughed and cheered this.
At 11:00 am the SUVs full of secret service and the McCain tourbus “The Straight talk Express” pulled up to the stage. The 23,000 supporters cheered asSarah Palin and their spouses arrived in the McCain campaign bus and took the stage as Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” blared out. Fred Thompson, first emerged to do the introduction.
Thompson said that Sarah Palin “is a threat to the power that [the Democrats] expect to inherit and they think they are entitled to.” He noted reports that dozens of Democratic operatives are arriving in Alaska to dig up dirt on Palin. Thompson also chastised the press for complaining that they didn’t know Sarah Palin. “Who’s fault is that?” demanded Thompson “She hasn’t been hiding anywhere.”
The crowd responded wildly to every mention of Sarah Palin’s name, with chants of “Sarah, Sarah!” breaking out several times. Palin was introduced by Cindy McCain who was wearing an emerald green silk dress and looking as striking as ever. Sarah Palin was wearing a black suit with (I believe) a sequined collar. (I was a long ways back.) She looked lovely and spoke with conviction and eloquence. She spoke appreciatively of a sign held up which said, “God Bless Track.” Palin’s first born child deploys to Iraq today.
Palin said she was honored to be a member of McCain’s “team of mavericks” and said McCain “doesn’t run with the Washington herd. He’s willing to shake things up.” She also spoke of vetoing half of a billion dollars worth of spending in Alaska, while Obama during the same time had requested a billion dollars worth of earmarks. She introduced John McCain.
Seeming delighted at his choice of Sarah Palin with her feistiness and popularity,McCain told the crowd that Sarah Palin “Took on a Republican incumbent governor, and by the way, beat him like a drum.” (Another chant of “Sarah, Sarah” ensued.) McCain also had kind words for Todd Palin (Alaska’s First Dude) telling the crowd, “Sarah was modest with regard to Todd. He does this championship snowmachine race, this is a 2000 mile race in 40 degrees below zero weather. He’s not afraid of Washington!” During McCain’s speech about Iraq “U.S.A., U.S.A.” ran through the crowd. Later, during McCain’s discussion of off-shore drilling, “Drill, baby, drill” broke out. McCain concluded with, “Virginia is a battleground state, and we must win it, and we will win it with your support.”
John McCormack at The Weekly Standard has written an article on the Fairfax rally.
Michelle Malkin discusses the lack of main stream media coverage of the rally on her blog, and has pictures from that rally such as this one.