NEW PORT RICHEY, Florida (CNN) - With a smiling Gov. Charlie Crist at her side, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin kicked off a three-city bus tour of central Florida on Saturday by focusing on the financial concerns of the nearly three million Floridians over the age of 65.
Palin promised that she and John McCain will “keep our defining commitments to our senior citizens.” But she wasted little time on the Republican agenda and turned her sights, as usual, on Barack Obama, who has accused McCain of wanting to cut Medicare funding and place Social Security benefits in the stock market.
“Barack Obama goes around promising a new kind of politics,” she said, “but then he comes here to Florida and he tries to exploit the fears and the worries about Social Security and Medicare to our retirees and that is the oldest and cheapest kind of politics there is. And enough is enough of that.”
Palin added that Obama favors a government takeover of health care, an accusation that drew boos from the audience.
Referencing New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who said this week that Obama’s tax cuts would only go to those making under $120,000, Palin called the Democratic tax plan “so phony” and said she was thankful that “it’s starting to unravel” and that “the light is being shown on his tax plan.”
According to the Obama campaign, Richardson meant to say that people making under $250,000 won’t see their taxes increase.
Palin also repeated a debunked claim that “according to an independent analysis, our opponent’s new policies will destroy nearly six million jobs over the next decade.”
That analysis was actually conducted by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, which concluded in a recent report that “total employment” would fall an average of 589,000 a year under Obama's tax plan.
According to Heritage, that number represents the number of jobs that would exist over a ten year period, compared to the potential number of jobs that would exist under current tax law. The study itself says that while McCain’s plan would create more jobs, the number of jobs in the country would grow under either candidate.
As Palin wound down her remarks, a group in the rear of the audience began a noisy chant of "John McCain! Not Hussein!" - but the governor did not appear to hear or acknowledge them.