This is the conclusion of McCain/Palin Washington PA Rally Report, Part 1
Once the musicians were done, the next person out on the stage was none other than Lynn Swann, the legendary Wide Receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Swann thanked those of us in the crowd who supported him in 2006 (anytime, Swannie!), and he also handed out some yellow towels, very similar to the world famous Terrible Towels of the Pittsburgh Steelers, except that they had “McCain” written on them instead.
Lynn Swann talks to the crowd, while holding a Terrible McCain Towel in his hand (click for larger image)
Swann told us that Myron Cope, creator of the Terrible Towel, used to say that waving those towels gave the Steelers a little bit more power to help them win. “I know you know what to do with these”, Swann said, as the people waved their Terrible McCain Towels in a symbolic effort to give the McCain campaign that last bit of strength it needs to win in November!
Unfortunately, Swann wasn’t able to stick around until McCain and Palin showed up. He had to go watch his son play in a football game! Swann told us that he knows it’s just kids’ football, but in a recent scrimmage, his son scored six touchdowns! Sounds like whatever Lynn Swann has runs in the family!
The next speaker was former PA Governor Tom Ridge. Here he is joining Lynn Swann on stage, complete with Terrible McCain Towel in hand (click for larger image):
Ridge made a fantastic speech, and I certainly hope he continues to campaign for McCain. He had the best line of the day which, unfortunately, I cannot find quoted anywhere word for word, so I’ll have to paraphrase it. Ridge was talking about how Obama was once again putting his foot in his mouth, since his campaign was mocking Sarah Palin for being from a small town. This is the same kind of elitism, Ridge reminded us, that we heard from Obama back when he was talking to San Francisco liberals, telling them about how we small town PA folk cling to our guns and our religion out of bitterness. And so, to paraphrase, Ridge said, Those of us in PA don’t cling to our guns and our religion out of bitterness; we exercise our right to bear arms and our right to worship because the g**damn Constitution has protected our right to do so since 1789!
Former Gov. Ridge giving his speech (click for larger image)
Once Ridge was done speaking, it was just about time for the Straight Talk Express to roll in. And it did roll in, literally. The Straight Talk Express McCain bus actually drove out onto the field, via a blocked off section directly past the bleachers.
The sun begins to set as the Straight Talk Express drives out onto the field and toward home plate, which was where the stage was set up (click for larger image)
The bus stopped at the stage, and its passengers left the bus and walked up onto the stage. Soon afterward, McCain and Palin, along with some of their family members, were up on stage along with Tom Ridge (click for larger images):
After Tom Ridge welcomed them to PA, John McCain introduced Sarah Palin, in almost exactly the same way as he did the previous day in Ohio. Then Palin gave her speech, virtually the same as the one given the day before, with a handful of touches here and there. For example, she commented on the warm weather we were having in Southwestern PA that day, and told us that she’s not used to temperatures like that back in Alaska.
So, if you know what they said in Ohio, you know what they said in PA. Still, if you want to watch the speeches, they’re up on YouTube:
John McCain Introduces Sarah Palin in Washington, PA
Sarah Palin Speaks in Washington, PA – Part 1
Sarah Palin Speaks in Washington, PA – Part 2
The media is attempting to make a big deal out of the fact that the people at the rally booed when Palin praised Hillary Clinton for advancing the cause of women. I think that’s a mistake, since in attempting to discredit Palin, the media are telling everyone that Palin did indeed praise Hillary for pushing against that glass ceiling and putting “18 million cracks” in it, and that Palin asked the women of the nation to help her shatter that glass ceiling once and for all. My point is that I can just see this as backfiring on the media if it brings more women over to McCain/Palin.
When Palin’s speech was over, the event was pretty much at an end. Some of the people who were right in front of the stage got to shake hands with some of the folks who had been up on stage, but I really couldn’t tell who was there to shake hands, because of the huge mass of humanity crowding up close to the stage.
The people in the bleachers were able to go back to their cars at this point, but those of us on the field had to wait until the Straight Talk Express was clear and all security concerns were taken care of until we could go. I think the large number of people who showed up – as I said, 8,000 people in a 5,000 seat capacity baseball field – caused a great deal of confusion for the local security and police officers. And the people who were out on the field were very antsy to leave, since many of them had been out of that field, standing in the oppressive heat for five hours. But, in the end, we were able to get out without too much trouble. I just hope that the McCain/Palin events planned for after the RNC are going to be in larger venues!
So that’s pretty much how it all went down. It was the first time I ever attended a campaign rally to see a presidential candidate, and it was a lot of fun! I’d absolutely recommend it to anyone who might be thinking about going to an event like this.
To close this report out, here are several photos I took of the field and of the crowd during the event. Click them for larger images:
Left field bleachers. Note the homemade faux Obama campaign sign, with the flag crossed out, and “Obama bin Biden” written on it. Ha!
Panoramic view of Lynn Swann’s speech
Wave those Terrible McCain Towels!
Women for McCain!
A view of the infield and the left field bleachers, taken from the right field bleachers before the rally began
The wall at the edge of the park in center field
John McCain – Country First
Sarah Palin – Country First
The end of the rally. Farewell, Straight Talk Express!