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Published: Sunday, 11/2/2008

Palin draws parallels to Reagan during Canton stop


CANTON - Sarah Palin, the running mate of Republican presidential nominee John McCain, on Sunday rallied thousands of supporters here by making a strong link between her ticket and the ideology of Ronald Reagan, the popular Republican president who served in the 1980s.

"John McCain and I believe in what Ronald Reagan believed in, freedom, not expansion of government," she told the crowd of 4,000 at the historic Memorial Field House of McKinley Senior High School.

Throughout her half-hour speech, Mrs. Palin was flanked on stage by her husband, Todd, and country music star Gretchen Wilson, who performed before the Alaska governor took the stage.

Mrs. Palin touted the strengths of Mr. McCain, a senator from Arizona, and maintained the offensive attack on his Democratic challenger, Barack Obama.

"For a season, a man can inspire us with words, but for a lifetime, John McCain has inspired us with his heroic deeds," she told the crowd.

She promised a spending freeze and lower taxes under a McCain-Palin administration that would be favorable to small businesses.

Mrs. Palin drew wild cheers at the mention of Springfield Township resident Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher.

"We’re going to create more opportunity so you and Joe the Plumber can create new wealth," she said.

In talks about the economy, Mrs. Palin touted the importance of energy independence, government reform, and helping families that have children with disabilities.

Canton resident Gary Cain, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1982 to 1986, attended Sunday’s rally and plans to vote for the McCain-Palin ticket on Tuesday.

"The part about them bringing smaller government and not raise our taxes makes you want to get up and go to work," said Mr. Cain, who is a surgical technician.

Following the noon speech, Mrs. Palin and her husband greeted hundreds of supporters in the school’s gymnasium and outside before heading to a rally in Marietta. Mrs. Palin is scheduled to appear at four rallies around the state Sunday.

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