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On The Trail With McCain


To presidential politics now. John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin spending the weekend campaigning together in Western battleground states. Democrat Barack Obama has campaign stops today in Indiana. We'll have more on Mr. Obama's campaign in a moment. First NPR's Scott Horsley reports on how Senator McCain and Governor Palin spent their first day as partners on the official Republican ticket.

SCOTT HORSLEY: The campaign billed the event as a "Meet and Greet on McCain Street U.S.A." But it was actually an old-fashioned political rally in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.


(Soundbite of song "Who says you can't go home?")

BON JOVI & Ms. JENNIFER NETTLES: (Singing) Who says you can't go home? There's only one place they call me one of their own. HORSLEY: The picturesque city of 11,000, just north of Milwaukee, put out the welcome mat. Cedarburg High School Marching Band was on hand, and John McCain and Sarah Palin's names had been added to the marquee above the art deco Rivoli Theater.

Ms. NANCY SWITZER(ph) (Cedarburg Resident): That was just redone, and now it looks almost 100 percent like it did when I grew up.

HORSLEY: Nancy Switzer is a Cedarburg native. She held a hand-painted sign celebrating McCain and Palin. The life-long Republican says her enthusiasm for McCain jumped dramatically after he named his new running mate a week ago.

Ms. SWITZER: I'm pro-life. This is my 30-year-old son. I, at one time, was an unwed mother. I do not believe in abortion. Otherwise he wouldn't be here. So I'm Palin-McCain or McCain-Palin all the way.


HORSLEY: Palin used to be mayor of a small town before she became governor of Alaska, and she'd paid tribute to small town living in her convention speech Wednesday night.

Governor SARAH PALIN (Republican, Alaska; 2008 Republican Vice Presidential Nominee): So it fits that we came right from that convention in Minneapolis to small town America.

(Soundbite of crowd ovation)

HORSLEY: Palin and McCain dropped in to the chocolate factory where the Alaska Governor ordered a large Moose Tracks ice cream cone. Later, the Republican nominees traveled to Michigan where they rallied with thousands of supporters outside Detroit, and McCain tried to claim the title of change agent from Barack Obama. The Arizona senator argued he's taken the risk of challenging his own party on issues like climate change and immigration, while Obama has rarely stood up to his fellow Democrats.

Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona; 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee): If you want real reform, if you want real change, send the ones who have actually done it. Send the ones who - send a team of mavericks who aren't afraid to go to Washington and break some china.

(Soundbite of crowd ovation)

HORSLEY: Democrats argued that McCain is not the maverick he claims to be, siding with President Bush nine times out of 10. While McCain and Palin are campaigning in swing states, so far they're sticking to heavily Republican neighborhoods. Scott Horsley, NPR News, Colorado Springs. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.