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Live blog: Crowds gather to hear McCain in Henderson, Palin in Reno

Republican presidential campaign comes to Nevada on marathon election eve campaign swing


Steve Marcus

Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at the “Road To Victory” rally at the Henderson Pavilion in Henderson, Nev., Nov. 3, 2008.

Updated Monday, Nov. 3, 2008 | 9:23 p.m.

McCain Rally at Henderson Pavilion

Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., gives a thumbs-up as he arrives for a rally at the Henderson Pavilion in Henderson, Nev., Nov. 3, 2008. Launch slideshow »

(Editor's Note: Sun political writers J. Patrick Coolican and David McGrath Schwartz were simultaneously covering separate rallies tonight in Henderson and in Reno of the McCain-Palin Republican ticket. The following is Coolican's blog, with Schwartz's comments from Reno inserted as noted.)

More from my colleague David McGrath Schwartz:

RENO — Republican nominee Sarah Palin, before a crowd of about 3,500 at the Reno Livestock Events Center, made the final argument for Sen. John McCain.

As always, she fired up the supporters, who were self-professed McCain and Palin supporters, worried about Obama.

"Let us not retreat from a war we've almost won," she said to roars of approval. "Let us not entrust all our power to one-party rule of Reid and

Pelosi," she said."His rousing words can fill a stadium, but they can’t keep a country safe."

Plenty of chants of "Sarah, Sarah." "Drill, Baby, Drill."

Her voice seemed to be cracking. But about fifteen minutes after her speech was over, she was still shaking hands and signing posters.

Now she's off to Elko.


8:44 p.m.

David McGrath Schwartz:

RENO — Growing up, I taught Sarah to field dress a moose," said Chuck Heath,

Sarah's dad. "Tomorrow I want to see her field dress a donkey."


8:43 p.m.

McCain castigates Obama as inexperienced, untested and wrong, sure to raise taxes and kill job creation. He finishes with a rousing call to fight and fight on and work hard for victory tomorrow. He does seem to have a lot of fight in him.

Crowd goes wild.


8:41 p.m.

David McGrath Schwartz:

RENO — Whole Palin extended family is here, her parents, her brother, husband Todd, Palin's parents.

Heidi Gansert, Assembly Minority Leader, says, Sarah Palin, "reignited the Republican Party."

Repeats Clinton line. "She cracked that glass ceiling just a little bit more for all of us."

Palin on.


8:24 p.m.

Here's McCain.

"Thank you Las Vegas, thank you Nevada! We're gonna win this election!"

Another "What happens in Las Vegas."

Promises win.


8:22 p.m.

RENO — Schwartz: Travelling press arrives in Reno.


8:19 p.m.

Via David McGrath Schwartz:

RENO — Nice moment. During the recorded Star Spangled Banner, the audio cut out.

The crowd, not missing a beat, continued singing the song.

Meanwhile, in Henderson, Cindy and Sen. John McCain have taken the stage to huge ovations.

Sen. Joe Lieberman is here from my home state of Connecticut. Joe-Mentum!

Lieberman: "This guy started out in Miami...this is our sixth stop of the day, he's goin' strong. I'm Joe Lieberman and I'm proud to be here to support John McCain."

Lieberman: "I'm a Democrat, re-elected as an independent...."

Got that?

You knew this was coming. Lieberman: "I know whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." Apropos nothing.


8:15 p.m.

Travelling press is here. McCain should be starting shortly.


8:12 p.m.

Reading my colleague's post from northern Nevada, sure seems clear this campaign has gone on a little too long, with Rep. Dean Heller saying Barack Obama "stinks."

I mean, congressman, you can do better than that. Obama is a stink head!


8:09 p.m.

From David McGrath Schwartz:

RENO — Rep. Dean Heller, repeats a line he used in introducing Palin last month, criticizing the bailout, which McCain and Palin have supported.

"Who still thinks the bailout stinks?" the crowd roared. "You know what else stinks? President Obama."


7:56 p.m.

From David McGrath Schwartz:

RENO — State Sen. Bill Raggio is on, first time at a Northern Nevada presidential campaign event. Gets a huge roar from the crowd.

"America is at a serious crossroads," he said. "Will you vote for free enterprise? Will you vote for limited government? Vote for fiscal responsibility?"

Yes, yes, yes, after each vote.

"Or, will you vote for the redistribution of wealth, that you earned for somebody else. Hundreds of billions in new taxes so we can have a socialistic society?"

"The other party has turned out a lot of voter," he said.

He extended sympathy to Obama for loss of his grandmother, crowd gave warm applause.


7:55 p.m.

Via David McGrath Schwartz:

RENO — Assemblyman James Settlemeyer, R-Gardnerville, fired up the crowd. "Do you want a president who won’t wear a flag lapel pin?" No, the crowd shouted.

"How about one who won’t put their hand on the heart?" No.

"We need to elect a president and vice president we can be proud of," he said. "That why, for me, I’m so proud to be a foot soldier in the McCain/Palin revolution."


7:56 p.m.

Via my colleague David McGrath Schwartz:

RENO — Thousands of people are waiting for Republican vice presidential nominee at the Reno Livestock Events Center. The room is more than half empty, but the crowd seems buoyed and optimistic.


7:42 p.m.

Song playing...."Only in America, dreamin' in red, white and blue." Played at the end of Obama convention speech. Not like anyone can claim a song though. Brooks and Dunn the guy next to me says. Brooks and Dunn.

Sounds like a men's clothing store. What a snooty elitist that Coolican is! No, just eager for voting to begin.


7:35 p.m.

Still waiting for McCain.

Whitesnake playing...."Here I go, again on my own!"

Odd music choice.


7:25 p.m.

State Sen. Bob Beers takes the stage. Beers says he's run the numbers and says early voting totals are meaningless. Nothing has changed and Nevada will go Republican. (Republican consultant told me this today: "It's bleak. It's tsunami.")

(Earlier, by the way, an interesting "Star-Spangled Banner," preceeded by the story of its origins, leaving out the part about it being an old English drinking song.)

Rep. Jon Porter takes the stage. Claims 11,000 here. Definitely not. 7,000 at Palin rally.

Porter says we need Sen. John McCain to lead us out of the wilderness.

"We need everyone to turn out."

"Who's going to put America first? John McCain!"


7:17 p.m.

At the Henderson Pavilion. Big, enthusiastic crowd, rivaling if not surpassing the crowd Sarah Palin drew here about 10 days ago.

Assemblyman Chad Christiansen just spoke. State Sen. Joe Heck just stepped up. "Are you ready for a win?" Heck says McCain and Palin are now ahead in battleground states. He's wrong. Dems are running out of voters, he says. They'll have to go into their bag of ACORN faux-voters to win now, he adds. "We will not be fooled by flowery speeches. What we want, and what this country needs, is straight talk."

Standing O.

First speech of 2010 U.S. Senate campaign?


6:13 p.m.

A crowd is gathering at the Henderson Pavilion, awaiting the arrival of Sen. John McCain, who's on a marathon campaign sprint to the finish, having already visited a number of states back east today.

Polls don't look good for McCain, either here or nationally, but the Republican presidential candidate is finishing with energy and gusto.

So far today he has been to rallies in in Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana and just outside Virginia. The Arizona senator's 18-hour east-to-west odyssey is also taking him to New Mexico, Nevada and home to Phoenix in the early morning of Tuesday's Election Day.

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