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Monday, September 22, 2008

Villages, Turn Out In Masses To See Sarah Palin

Tens of thousands of people from The Villages turned out to see Sarah Palin in Florida over the weekend, with Florida papers saying it was the "largest crowd ever for a political event at The Villages."

The Villages is an upscale retirement community north of Orlando Florida, which houses approximately 70,000 residents, mostly adults and Sarah Palin arrived to crowds which are estimated in one paper as 25,000- 60,000 with other papers saying it was tens of thousands or 60,000, depending on the paper in question. All agree it was the largest crowd to ever turn out for a political event in The Villages.

The Orlando Sentinel reports people sat out in the sweltering heat for so long to see Palin, about 100 people ended up having to be treated for heat-related health problems.

The reasons given to reporters by some attending the event range from curiosity to women "seeing themselves" in Palin, as 63 year-old Louise Grossman states, "I think she's a great benefit to women. I think she's the second original woman's libber. My husband says I'm the first woman's libber."

58-year-old business owner, Jan Hatfield identifies with Palin on a personal level saying Palin embodies the women she sees every day, continuing on to state, "You can keep your faith and your family and still be a strong businesswoman."

Even the men in the crowd spoke of what they admired about Palin:

"Western women have confidence in their capabilities and their femininity so that they don't have to sacrifice one to promote the other," said Wright, 68, of The Villages.

The Palm Beach Post reports Palin T-shirts, buttons, hats and other items were everywhere, many of them referencing lipstick, pit bulls, hockey or some combination of those elements and others just wearing items with Palin's name on them.

That report quotes Conservative Democrats, Republicans and Independents:

Deborah Abriola came from Orlando and wore a button that said "Don't Let the Lipstick Fool You - Pitbulls for McCain-Palin" because she said she feels kinship with Palin as a fellow "lipstick mom."

Abriola described herself as a conservative Democrat who sees Palin as a role model for mothers.

Her friend, Cheryl LeDuc, said she's a Republican but wants to see a shake-up in the GOP. She said Palin "is conservative and she's going to clean up Washington, including the Republicans."

Sue Viera of Micco, in Brevard County, described herself as an independent who had been an "iffy" supporter of McCain.

"When he put Palin on, that really put me over the top," said Viera, who said she sees Palin as someone who is nonpartisan and "will do what's right."

Although some have questions about Palin overall, they say those questions are not enough to stop them from voting for John McCain.

The Post's report did have a set of criticism regarding Palin, from Bobby Gravitz who happened to be the spokesman for Obama's Florida campaign, who said, "Getting lectured by the McCain-Palin ticket on the economy is laughable. McCain's plan is just four more years of Bush's failed economic policies that have led us to this financial crisis."

The offers 23 photos from the event, one of which shows a huge tube of lipstick being handed to Palin from a supporter.