Senator John McCain's Straight-Talk Express rolled into Missouri on Sunday, August 31. Despite the 95-degree heat, an overflow crowd of 23,000 packed into T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O'Fallon.
McCain's remarks were brief, other than call for unity in the face of Hurricane Gustav and to introduce voters to his new running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
"She understands the problems, the hopes and values of working people, she knows what its like to worry about mortgage payments and healthcare and the cost of gasoline and groceries, she's a concerned citizen," said McCain.
Both presidential candidates have passed through Missouri in the past week, seeking to shore up support in what is expected to be a key swing state. Barack Obama has a massive on-the-ground network in Missouri, with over 130 full time staffers. McCain by comparison only has about 15 Missouri staffers.
Speaking at the McCain rally were top-tier Missouri Republicans including Senator Kit Bond and Governor Matt Blunt as well as former presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. But the crowd responded most enthusiastically to Palin.
"As governor of the great state of Alaska, I've stood up to the 'ole politics as usual' and to the special interests, the lobbyists, to the big oil influence and the good 'ole boy network," said Palin.
McCain and company emphasize the executive experience required of governors. He says someone like Palin is already more qualified to lead than his opponent Barack Obama
Speaking first is Huckabee, followed by Romney, then McCain, then Palin.