JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Sarah Palin charged resolutely into the culture wars on Saturday, painting Barack Obama as a radical on abortion rights and drawing attention away from the troubled economy and an ethics investigation that concluded she abused her power as Alaska governor.
“In times like these with wars and financial crisis, I know that it may be easy to forget even as deep and abiding a concern as the right to life, and it seems that our opponent kind of hopes you will forget that,” Palin told a Pennsylvania crowd. “Like so much else on his agenda, he hopes that you won’t notice how radical, absolutely radical his idea is on this and his record is until its too late.”
Palin has mostly avoided raising her opposition to abortion rights on the campaign trail since she was tapped as John McCain’s running mate, a fact she readily acknowledged in her remarks. But Palin said Obama’s record on the matter is too extreme to be ignored, and she spent 10 minutes of her 30-minute speech discussing abortion.
“A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for activist courts that will continue to smother the open and democratic debate that we deserve and that we need on this issue of life,” she said.
(CNN) – Embattled community group ACORN, which come under rising Republican attack, hit back hard late Friday over a new Web video released by the McCain campaign.
The online video seeks to link Sen. Barack Obama to ACORN, and accuses the group of engaging practices at the heart of the nation's current financial troubles. ACORN "bull[ied] banks" and engaged in "intimidation tactics," says the ad. "ACORN forced banks to issue risky home loans. The same types of loans that caused the financial crisis we're in today."
ACORN denied the charges. "For more than a decade, ACORN members have held protests, released reports and advocated for regulations to protect homeowners from predatory lenders," ACORN president Maude Hurd said in a statement. "If John McCain thinks that community organizers caused the foreclosure crisis, he knows even less about the economy than previously thought."
Barack Obama’s campaign released a new ad late Friday in response to a hard-hitting spot from the Republican National Committee’s independent expenditure unit that focused on his relationships with Chicago figures like William Ayers and Bill Daley; the script follows. The campaign has not announced where the spot will be airing.
NARRATOR: John McCain admits if the election’s about the economy, he’s going to lose.
Now, as Americans lose their jobs and savings, McCain’s resorting to smears and false attacks
Barack Obama launched his first campaign here (a picture of a hotel flashes on screen), not in anyone’s living room
And Bill Daley? He was confirmed as Commerce Secretary and praised for his great work by none other than John McCain (a picture of the two men together appears.)
It’s clear, with no plan to fix our economy, smears are all McCain has left.
(Republicans have alleged that Obama launched his first campaign in Ayers’ living room – a charge the Illinois senator has denied.)
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Sarah Palin on Saturday denied abusing her power or violating state law in the dismissal of Alaska’s Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, putting her at odds with the findings of a state ethics report that determined she did abuse her power as governor.
As the Republican vice presidential nominee departed her Pittsburgh hotel on Saturday morning, a reporter asked Palin if she abused her power in firing Monegan, which was the conclusion of the state investigator's report released late Friday.
“No, and if you read the read the report you will see that there was nothing unlawful or unethical about replacing a cabinet member," Palin responded before boarding her campaign bus. "You got to read the report, sir."
View the full report (pdf)
Palin had the authority to fire Monegan, but the report by former Anchorage prosecutor Stephen Branchflower concluded that she abused her power as Alaska's governor and violated state ethics law by trying to get her ex-brother-in-law, Mike Wooten, fired from the state police.
"Gov. Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda," the report states.
LAKEVILLE, Minnesota (CNN) – John McCain heard boos at a town hall meeting Friday night after the Republican presidential nominee called for the crowd to be more respectful towards rival Barack Obama.
“We would like you to remain a true American hero,” an elderly military veteran told him. “We want you to fight.”
“I will fight, but we will be respectful,” McCain said. “I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments and I will respect him.”
When the crowd began to boo, McCain told them “No, no. I want everyone to be respectful.”
Watch: McCain tries to calm the crowd
Along with the veteran, four others pleaded with McCain to put up more of a fight against Obama.
One woman who said she had a lot of undecided neighbors said she wanted McCain to “go to the mattresses” on in his third and final debate with Obama on Wednesday.