Come for Palin, stay (or not) for McCain

Twice this week, crowds have left McCain campaign events after hearing Sarah Palin speak.

Published September 18, 2008 8:00PM (EDT)

Here's one for the "be careful what you wish for" file. Before naming Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain struggled to build up enthusiasm for his candidacy amongst Republicans. The Palin pick changed that. Republicans are now more energized about their ticket than at any point in the campaign so far. But that doesn't mean it's McCain they're excited about.

Politico's Jonathan Martin posted today about two recent McCain-Palin joint events in which a large number of the attendees have left while McCain was speaking. Martin reports that he attended a Tuesday night rally in Youngstown, Ohio, where "dozens of attendees" left after Sarah Palin spoke and McCain took the mike.

Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson observed the same phenomenon at a McCain-Palin event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Thursday. Henderson writes, "McCain starts speaking 18 minutes into the rally. He begins by reminiscing about the State Fair ... I look up, about five minutes into McCain's address and see a steady stream of people walking out of the rally. They just came to see Palin apparently." Needless to say, it can't thrill the McCain campaign that voters are coming for the opening act and leaving before the headliner.

As for Palin's performance in Iowa, the Des Moines Register offers this tidbit: "Palin introduced herself to more than 4,000 at a rally in Cedar Rapids by saying, 'It's so good to be here in Grand Rapids.'"

Now, I'm no campaign strategist, but I think it's probably always wise to know the name of the town you're in. (Admittedly, Palin's not the first to make that mistake this year.) But let's give her the benefit of the doubt -- it's not like Palin can see Iowa from her house.

By Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz. Sarah Palin