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Palin Tells Tea Party Rally in Boston to Fight Obama


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Mar 25, 2010
Palin Tells Tea Party Rally in Boston to Fight Obama (Update1)

By Tom Moroney

April 14 (Bloomberg) -- Sarah Palin told a crowd of thousands at a Tea Party rally in Boston today to fight the agenda of President Barack Obama and other Democrats in power and take back control of the government.

“Boston, it’s your turn to stand up and speak out!†said Palin, 46, the former Alaska governor who was John McCain’s running mate on 2008 Republican presidential ticket.

Palin criticized Obama for his health-care initiative, calling it “the mother of all unfunded mandates,†and said his foreign policy is “alienating our allies.â€

She also said the nation could free itself from dependence on foreign energy sources by ramping up oil drilling, as well as developing more nuclear plants and “clean-coal†technology.

“Let’s drill, baby, drill, not stall, baby, stall,†she said. The crowd chanted back, “Drill, baby, drill.â€

Absent from the rally were U.S. Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, a Republican elected with help from Tea Party activists in a January special election, and Republican gubernatorial candidate and former health-care executive Charles Baker.

They said they were too busy to attend the rally on Boston Common. Local organizer Christen Varley, who heads the Greater Boston Tea Party, said the absentees were being pragmatic.

‘Not Get Skewered’

“How can Scott Brown stand up on the stage with Sarah Palin and not get skewered for it by the ridiculous mainstream media?†asked Varley, 39.

For a grassroots movement dedicated to eliminating what it describes as big-spending liberals in Washington, holding the rally in the heavily Democratic Boston -- site of the first Tea Party in 1773 -- represented an opportunity to tweak the opposition, said Tea Party Express Chairman Mark Williams.

“Boston is the cradle of democracy,†said Williams, 54, talking earlier this week on his cell phone from a Tea Party bus headed to Buffalo. “It’s also the cradle of the Looney Tunes left-wing.â€

Such talk coupled with Palin’s appearance may not play well for Republicans in Massachusetts, where 62 percent voted in 2008 to elect president, said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.

Poll numbers among Massachusetts voters for Palin are low, Paleologos said. Her unfavorable rating was 60 percent, her favorable rating 25 percent in a Suffolk poll Jan. 14, five days before Brown’s victory in a special election.

Brown’s favorability among registered Republicans was 91 percent, compared with 51 percent for Palin. Among registered independents, Brown outpaced Palin 66 percent to 28 percent.

Voter Registration

The voters with no party affiliation are key, Paleologos said. They represent the largest bloc in Massachusetts, at 51 percent, while Democrats are at 37 percent and Republicans just under 12 percent.

“The Republicans are well aware of these numbers†and of Palin’s low showing with independents, Paleologos said. “The decision to go or not go to the rally is calculated,†he said.

Gail Gitcho, Brown’s communications director, said the senator was skipping the rally because he recently returned from Afghanistan and needs to stay abreast of legislative matters in Washington.

“While he is unable to attend Wednesday’s event, the senator appreciates the strong grassroots support he received from a wide range of individuals, including those who are part of the Tea Party movement,†Gitcho said in a statement.

Volunteer Efforts

Varley said Tea Party volunteers “worked their little hearts out to get Brown elected†to complete the term of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, a Democrat who held the seat for almost 47 years.

Still, there are no hard feelings, Williams said. “He’s got a half-century of Kennedy damage to undo,†he said. “There’s no time for flying around, attending celebrity events.â€

Baker, the gubernatorial candidate, was making stops in western Massachusetts today that were scheduled weeks ago, said spokesman Rick Gorka.

Among those attending the Boston rally were state Treasurer Timothy Cahill, a Democrat-turned-independent candidate for governor. Also attending was Christy Mihos, who sought the governorship in 2006 as an independent and is running now for the office as a Republican. The gubernatorial election is Nov. 2; Brown will be up for election in 2012.

“I’m thrilled to be with Tea Party and any people we can attract into the Republican Party to get some votes,†Mihos said in a telephone interview. “It’s a huge tent.â€

TV Campaign

Earlier this month, the Tea Party started a television and radio campaign in Michigan against nine-term Democratic Representative Bart Stupak; he announced his retirement April 9. Stupak drew the anger of the group by voting for Obama’s health- care initiative.

The Tea Party kicked off its current cross-country tour March 27 in Searchlight, Nevada, hometown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat up for re-election this year. The activists gathered in Searchlight two days after Congress cleared the last aspect of the health-care overhaul measure for Obama’s signature. Tomorrow is last stop for the Tea Party Express in Washington, D.C.

Palin, the most recognized face on the tour, took aim at Obama at the Nevada event, urging the 35,000 in the audience to ask his supporters: “So how is that hopey, changey thing working out for you?â€

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Moroney in Boston at tmorrone@bloomberg.net.
Last Updated: April 14, 2010 12:50 EDT