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Todd Palin rouses hunters, gun enthusiasts

By David M. Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, October 19, 2008


Todd Palin didn't speak long during a quick stop in Allegheny County on Saturday, but the husband of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said enough to rouse loud cheers at a rally of fellow hunters and gun enthusiasts.

Nearly 80 outdoorsmen burst into applause when the avid sportsman pledged the Republican ticket headed by Sen. John McCain would support "our core values."

"Make sure you bring your hunting and fishing buddies to the polls to vote," he told the group at the Pitcairn-Monroeville Sportsmen's Club in North Versailles.

Palin, dubbed Alaska's First Dude by his governor wife, characterized Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, as not supportive of the Second Amendment's guarantee of "a right to bear arms in this country."

"Senator Obama has said we cling to our guns because we are bitter," Palin said, referencing a controversial comment Obama made about Pennsylvania voters in the spring primary.

Recent polls show Obama with a double-digit lead over McCain in Pennsylvania. Obama has said he supports an individual's right to bear arms, but subject to common sense regulation, like background checks.

Noting the Republican ticket has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, Palin urged McCain-Palin backers to push hard in the closing weeks of the campaign with the "get-out-the-vote message."

A champion snowmobiler, Palin wore a black-and-gray Iron Dog jacket. Iron Dog is the 2,000-mile race across the Alaskan wilderness that Palin has won four times. Last year, he won despite driving the last 400 miles with a broken arm.

Palin has been in the middle of the controversy involving his former brother-in-law, a state trooper whom Sarah Palin may have tried to have fired. Early this month, the Alaskan legislature found the governor had abused her power in the case. Todd Palin, the legislative report said, was allowed to use state resources as part of the effort to have Trooper Michael Wooten dismissed.

Palin did not make himself available for interviews.

He told supporters that his wife has been tasked to help with energy issues if McCain wins the White House. Palin said she is "excited about that opportunity, coming from Alaska where we have an abundance of coal, oil and gas that she's familiar with."

Obama spokeswoman Allison Price said the Democrat "will always support our Second Amendment rights and uphold the Supreme Court's decision on our Constitutional right to own guns and defend ourselves."


Obama received the endorsement of the American Hunters and Shooters Association, an organization committed to advancing common sense gun policy initiatives and supporting the right to keep and bear arms, Price noted.


Jeff Moran, 44, of North Huntingdon, a board member at the sportsmen's club, said McCain's unquestionable support of gun-owner rights is a key reason for backing the Republican.

"He's pro-Second Amendment. He always has been, and there is no doubt in my mind about that," said Moran, an ardent deer hunter.

Earlier in the day, Palin was greeted by a crowd of about 175 volunteers and well-wishers inside and out of GOP headquarters on Maple Street in Greensburg, where he shook hands for about 30 minutes.

"I appreciate all of your help," Palin told the volunteers manning the headquarters' phones. "Our family is very appreciative. It's been a great ride for us."

He was to attend the Penn State-Michigan football game in State College.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_594062.html
 
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