Republican vice presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made her first official campaign appearance in Philadelphia Friday night.
Palin spoke briefly before the first presidential debate at a private event held at the Irish Pub at 20th and Walnut streets.
Approximately 450 ticket-baring Republican supporters greeted Palin after she hustled past hundreds of protestors in the street surrounding the pub. “Everybody Wants To Rule the World” blared inside as the so-called “hockey mom” signed autographs and posed for pictures with her supporters.
Palin, who donned a Phillies jacket, expressed her desire to increase support for the campaign in the Philadelphia area.
“I believe [Republican presidential candidate Sen. John] McCain and Palin are going to give us what we need,” said Steven Sansome, a local business owner. “By no means is John McCain [four more years of] George W. Bush.”
Sansome said he came to support Palin because this is the most important election of his lifetime.
Blocked off from the pub by police tape, hundreds of Philadelphians held signs and chanted phrases like, “Sarah Go Home,” “Obama” and “Duck, duck, moose.” Among the protestors were Temple students from progressive organizations Temple College Democrats, Campus Greens, Common Ground and the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance.
“I fundamentally disagree with her on many issues,” said Elizabeth Hanson, junior political science major and president of Temple College Democrats. “It’s important that as leaders and members of progressive campus organizations, we come out on a Friday night to show how strong our beliefs are.”
Philadelphia native Joe Brady marched up Walnut Street during the event in support of Palin and her stance on abortion.
“I’ll be voting for John McCain because I’m a Roman Catholic,” Brady said. “I can’t vote Democrat because they’re killing babies, and I believe life begins at the moment of conception.”
Many Temple students could be spotted donning red bandanas and blue button-downs in imitation of Rosie the Riveter to protest of Palin’s stance on women’s rights.
“Although I’m a woman and a feminist, I don’t just want any woman in office, I want the right woman in office,” said Vicki Moore, a senior women’s studies and history major and founder of Campus Greens. “I don’t think she’s ready, and I question her character.”
Although the pub was packed with Republican supporters, conservative organizations did not maintain a presence outside the pub doors.
The McCain campaign said Palin will be spending the rest of her time in Philadelphia preparing for her first debate with Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden on Oct. 2 in St. Louis.
The campaign has not yet announced the next appearance in the Philadelphia area of either McCain or Palin.
Kathryn A. López can be reached at email@example.com.