By Russell Varner
October 16, 2008
Elon now seems to be a hot spot for political celebrities.
Just months after former President Bill Clinton visited the campus, Republican vice presidential nominee Governor Sarah Palin thrilled thousands of people from all across North Carolina Thursday afternoon at Elon University’s Latham Park, telling all why she believes that Senator John McCain should be the next President of the United States and how they need to make their voices heard come November 4.
“It’s so great to be here, home of the Elon Phoenix!” Palin said, causing the gigantic crowd of supporters to erupt in cheers. Chants of “Sarah, Sarah!”, “Drill, baby, drill!” and “U.S.A.!” were heard throughout the rally as supporters could not get enough of the charismatic senator from Alaska.
Palin touched on a variety of subjects, including health care, energy, taxes, job growth and what she believes should be the overall role of government. “[McCain and I] believe in what Ronald Reagan believed in,” she said. “We believe in forward progress…We believe in the forward movement of freedom, not the constant expansion of government.”
“I think she did a great job [today] and I was really pleased with McCain last night at the debates,” said Linda Steen, who drove all the way from Raleigh to hear Palin speak. “It’s great. It’s a glorious day here in North Carolina.”
“I think she did great,” said Margaret McGuire, a Palin supporter from Mount Airy. “It was inspirational. The values that she and John McCain have coincide with my values.”
“She was wonderful. We were right there close to her,” said Nick and Sherrie Sanders, a couple from Winston-Salem. “Dead on, exactly what America is all about…We were volunteers, so we had to get here around 9 or 9:30, but it was worth it. I could’ve waited two more hours.”
Palin wasn’t the only celebrity in attendance. North Carolina senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr made speeches beforehand to support their cause for re-election into the Senate, and country singer Hank Williams Jr. sang a few songs for the Palin faithful, including “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” “A Country Boy Can Survive,” “My Name is Bocephus,” Walk the Line” (originally made famous by Johnny Cash), and “McCain-Palin Tradition,” which is Williams’ famous “Family Tradition” song with different lyrics.
“Usually, I’m not a fan of politicians bringing along entertainers on the campaign trail, but Hank did a great job today,” said Elon junior Travis Martin. “And his song choices were great. Though I think it’s funny he did as much singing as she did talking.”
Palin also talked about drilling for oil and developing alternate energy sources such as biofuels, solar, geothermal and nuclear sources to help cut America’s dependency on foreign oil. As Palin put it, this election is for our kids and for the “next generation of Americans” and making it easier for them to deal with the problems America has now.
“I support John McCain and Sarah Palin for their policies, but also for John McCain’s experience and his honor,” said Lynn Gschwind, a resident of Chapel Hill. “I admire Sarah Palin. She’s a role model for any woman in this country. She has a wonderful family, she has worked her way up and became governor of one of our most important energy states and I am also absolutely appalled by the media coverage in this country that’s trying to sway the election towards the opposing candidate.”
Gschwind’s good friend Gus St. John, who traveled to Elon with Gschwind, also agrees that the media is to sway the voters to vote for McCain’s opposition. “The time coverage when they interview Obama and interview McCain, the minutes for McCain are much less. And I support Sarah Palin because she’s an outsider, she is a maverick, and she’s a fighter. And she’s a woman!”
This is also the second time in the past six months that a major politician has visited Elon University. Former President Bill Clinton visited Elon this past April to try and help his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton, win the Democratic Presidential nomination. And people were just as excited for Palin as they were for Clinton, as shown by the great turnout and support shown by the Elon community.
For more videos from Palin’s visit to Elon, go to http://www.youtube.com/user/EUjStudent2010.
Palin speaking at the rally
Hank Williams Jr. singing “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight”