Bryce Weblog


Palin excites crowd at Elon University

By Keegan Calligar, Kate Austin and Bryce Little           October 16, 2008

Pictures by Bryce Little

Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin spoke to a packed crowd at Elon University Thursday afternoon as part of the “Road to Victory Rally.”   Palin explained why Sen. John McCain is a better candidate than Democratic nominee Sen. Barak Obama, and talked about various issues, including taxes, the economy and making special needs children a priority.

Thousands of students and supporters packed the baseball park, many arriving as early as 9 a.m. for Palin’s speech, which she delivered around 2:45 p.m.

Politicians, including Celo Faucette, a candidate for State Representative in District 63, Rick Gunn, a candidate for North Carolina Senate in District 24, Sen. Elizabeth Dole and Sen. Richard Burr all addressed the crowd before Palin’s speech.

Elizabeth Dole waving to an excited Elon crowd
Elizabeth Dole waving to an excited Elon crowd

The Wells Family Band and country star Hank Williams Jr. entertained attendees.

Williams Jr. introduced Palin after singing his song in support of the Republican campaign, ‘The McCain-Palin Tradition.’

Palin told the crowd that McCain’s political and military experiences make him more qualified for president than Obama, and also spoke about taxes and the economy.

She said that Obama would raise taxes, while McCain would not.

“It’s a choice between a candidate that will raise your taxes and the other choice is a true leader,” she said. “John McCain is going to Washington to work for Joe the Plumber and so many of you that own small businesses.”

Palin, whose infant son, Trig, has Down Syndrome, told the crowd that Americans must make special needs children a priority.

“As vice president, I am going to make sure that these families know that they have a friend and an advocate in the White House,” she said. “John and I have a vision for America where every child is cherished.”

Palin Fired Up

Palin Fired Up

George and Carol Joyce of Alamance County attended the rally to see Palin, whom they have supported since she accepted the vice presidential nomination, and were pleased with her performance.

“I’m a lifelong Republican, but that don’t mean I ain’t voting the other way,” George said.

Still, he will vote for Palin. “I like her ideas,” he said.

John Brown of Sioux Falls, SD, who used to live in North Carolina and is in the area visiting friends, thinks that Palin did a good job Thursday afternoon.

“I think she is a great speaker, and said things that I believe in, and that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “It makes me feel good about being an American, and I think she is taking us in a good direction. I am afraid that the other guys are going to take us into a socialistic republic.”

Friends of the vice presidential candidate were also in attendance. Dick Stoffel, an Alaskan Delegate and a personal friend of Palin’s, cheered and waved throughout the rally.

“I think she is doing real well,” said Stoffel. “Her and John are really good fighters. The fluff is not there so much, and they will just keep on knocking. And when the people go to the polls … I think we will be a landslide. It will be a surprise.”

At least one protester was removed during the rally. As a protester was escorted out of the park, Palin quipped, “Maybe we need to tell security that maybe he need not go. Maybe he needs to stay and learn a little bit.”

Alyssa Vigneault, an Elon junior from Massachusetts and an Obama supporter, attended the rally to explore Republican viewpoints.

“I went into the rally because it something that I wouldn’t normally submit myself to … but it was on campus and it was people I know and it was my community, so I went to see what the other side is like,” she said.

Vigneault said that she left the rally because she felt uncomfortable.

“I walked out because I was expressing my opinions, and I was surrounded by people who were yelling and supporting her,” she said. “It was a little intimidating, honestly.”

Vigneualt said that she joined friends protesting outside of Latham Park, but was blocked by the College Republicans, a student group on campus. She said that they then contacted the police, and Smith Jackson, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, told them that they had to move to a location farther away.

“He told us to move to the other side of Lake Mary Nell because of policy, and he could not tell us what policy,” she said. “He just told us we had to move and we were in the wrong place, [and we were told that] if we did not move or give up our signs, the police would get involved.”

Palin spoke at Elon following a campaign stop in Bangor, Maine Thursday morning. Her next campaign stops include West Chester, OH and Noblesville, IN, both on Friday.

More Pictures From Palin Rally

Supporter showing his ticket

Supporter showing his ticket

Even the most charismatic of Palin supporters must rest some time.

Even the most charismatic of Palin supporters must rest some time.

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One Response to 'Palin excites crowd at Elon University'

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  1. andersj said,

    I would like to see more of your photos. Ask Kate to give you a lesson on how to produce a linked slideshow in Picasa and put more of them up!

    I was disappointed to see the group byline. When I said you could use collective intelligence, I meant that you should each write your own story but that you could include some information gathered by other students written in your own words and credited at the bottom as Additional reporting by…
    Good writing and specific details. If you want to, you can add that security reported that at least 6,700 people passed through the scanning devices, so the crowd was nearly 7,000 people.
    Some corrections necessary:
    the word is protester, not protestor
    special-needs children (hyphenate compound modifier)
    Check AP Style on state abbreviations! S.D.., Ohio, Ind., and note that you enclose the state in commas sometimes: …in Bangor, Maine, Thursday morning.
    do not capitalize a title used after a person’s name – vice president for student life


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