LEESBURG, Virginia (CNN) – Sarah Palin brought along one of her favorite working-class heroes to a campaign rally in northern Virginia on Monday: Tito Munoz, or as he’s better known to Palin and her audiences, “Tito the builder.”
Munoz, wearing a yellow hard hat with a McCain-Palin bumper sticker, introduced Palin at the outdoor rally in Loudoun County, a populous Washington exurb that broke for George W. Bush in 2004 but has gone Democratic in three consecutive statewide elections.
“Everything we stand for is in danger by higher taxes and less freedom,” Munoz said of Obama, earning chants of “Tito! Tito!” from the audience.
The McCain campaign took a shine to Munoz, who owns a construction business, two weekends ago in Woodbridge, Virginia when he was seen accusing a group of reporters of attacking Joe the Plumber for questioning Barack Obama’s tax plan. Palin has since cited Munoz in speech after speech as an example of a hard-worker who would have his dreams crushed by Obama’s plan to raise taxes on high income-earners.
When Palin took the stage, she cracked to Munoz that “not since the Jackson Five has the name Tito been used so often.”
The governor proceeded to deliver a mostly routine stump speech, lacking any of the improvisational riffs like the one she put forth in Tampa on Sunday, when she ad-libbed a four-minute diatribe on the “ridiculous” questions about her RNC-purchased wardrobe.
Instead, Palin stuck to the campaign script and accused Barack Obama of shifting his rhetoric on taxes.
“John and I have a very basic, fundamental disagreement with our opponents on this issue. Sen. Obama has an ideological commitment to higher taxes,” she said. “And though it seems that he adjusts his tax plan pronouncements almost daily now, kind of flip-flopping on what the details are. His commitment to higher taxes never changes, though.”
With Virginia teetering on the brink of falling into Democratic hands for the first time in 44 years, Palin is blitzing every corner of the commonwealth on Monday with four campaign stops and a series of local media interviews. A Washington Post poll released Monday showed Obama leading John McCain by eight points in Virginia, with one half of registered voters holding "strongly" or "somewhat" negative views of the GOP vice presidential candidate.