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Palin to N.C.: 'Will you hire us?'

Amid wild cheers Saturday night, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin urged North Carolinians to vote for the GOP ticket.

The Alaska governor told more than 5,000 supporters at the State Fairgrounds that John McCain would lead the country to victory in Iraq and revitalize the economy.

“We want to work for you!” she said. “Will you hire us?”

During her 27-minute speech, Palin promised to clean up corruption on Wall Street, work for affordable college tuition, reduce the national debt, cut capital gains and income taxes, and win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

She also raised the specter of a federal government controlled by Democrats. The crowd booed as Palin discussed the possibility of Barack Obama leading the nation with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

“It's the far-left wing of the Democratic Party that is preparing to take over your entire federal government,” she said.

She said Obama's tax plan has been repeatedly revised downward – as surrogates have at times offered different benchmarks for the middle class, including New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's remark last week that it would end at $120,000. Palin said Obama's tax ideas were beginning to unravel.

“It would decimate many small business,” she said.

Palin twice touted gun rights but spent most of her speech focusing on Obama's tax ideas as supporters held up signs referring to “Joe the Plumber” – the Ohio workman who has become a campaign theme for McCain after he questioned Obama on his tax plan.

“This is the worst possible time to even consider raising taxes,” she said.

Obama spokesman Paul Cox said afterward that Palin “spent nearly her entire speech misleading North Carolinians about Sen. Obama's platform.”

“He offers a tax plan that supports small businesses and the middle class, with a tax cut for 95 percent of working families and help for small businesses to provide health insurance for their workers,” Cox said.

The trip was Palin's fourth to the state and her first to the Triangle area. She was accompanied by her husband, Todd, and Sens. Richard Burr and Bob Dole, both of whom also spoke.

Palin's speech also included a personal note.

She had been greeted at the airport by five children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities who attend the Tammy Lynn Center in Raleigh and their relatives.

In her speech, she alluded to her son, Trig, who has Down syndrome, and said the federal government in a McCain administration would do more to help families caring for children with special needs.

“These children are not a problem; they are a priority,” she said to loud cheers. “John McCain and I have a vision of an America where every innocent life counts.”

Preschool teacher Melissa Zander said she came to the rally because she appreciates Palin's sincerity.

“She seems straightforward,” Zander said. “There doesn't seem to be a lot of glitz and glamour with her.”

Retiree Robert Worthington, 71, of Raleigh, said that he would have voted for McCain anyway but that he's more excited because of Palin's presence on the ticket, citing her “moral backbone.” Obama “professes to be a Christian, and I believe him,” he said. “But I know Sarah Palin is.”

The Associated Press contributed.

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