[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/18/art.ap.mccain.9.18.jpg caption="John McCain and Sarah Palin were interrupted by protestors Thursday."]
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CNN) - Sarah Palin’s introduction of John McCain in Cedar Rapids Thursday was noisily interrupted by a small group of anti-war protesters from the University of Iowa, who sparked a back-and-forth of shouting that drowned out at least four minutes of her remarks.
Palin kept speaking throughout the disruption, but her remarks were nearly unintelligible to much of the audience inside the airplane hangar where the rally was held.
About five minutes into Palin’s speech, four female students from the University of Iowa Feminist Majority and Anti-War Alliance held up a cloth banner, and began a loud anti-war chant in the middle of the crowd. An advance staffer tore the banner from their hands and other members of the audience shouted them down with chants of “USA! USA!” and “SARAH! SARAH!”
It was several minutes before the women were escorted from the venue.
The demonstration should have come as no surprise to McCain-Palin advance staff: a local newspaper, The Gazette, reported earlier that the protesters would be in attendance Thursday.
Another protester disrupted McCain’s speech about half an hour later, sparking an even louder, but shorter, commotion.
Palin stumbled out of the gate on arriving in Cedar Rapids. The Alaska governor told the audience that she was thrilled to be in “Grand Rapids,” the Michigan city where the campaign had just overnighted.