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Columbia Missourian

Palin leads final-day rally at Missouri Capitol

By DAVID A. LIEB/The Associated Press
November 3, 2008 | 12:23 p.m. CST
Gov. Sarah Palin descends the steps of the Missouri capitol building in Jefferson City as supporters stretch to touch the vice presidential candidate. Palin was joined by many Missouri Republican politicians during the rally the day before the presidential election.

JEFFERSON CITY — Thousands of people gathered on the grounds of the Missouri Capitol for a final-day campaign rally with Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Palin on Monday made her third trip to Missouri in less than two weeks as she and presidential candidate John McCain are locked in a close battle with the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

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Biden also campaigned in Missouri on Monday, in the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit.

McCain himself has not come to Missouri since he made a three-city swing on Oct. 20. Instead, he has sent Palin — a favorite of conservatives — to some of Missouri's most traditionally Republican areas. Besides Jefferson City, Palin also appeared recently in Cape Girardeau and Springfield, areas where about two-thirds of the votes went for Republican President Bush four years ago.

County singer Hank Williams Jr. was featured Monday as the opening act for Palin.

But before Williams took the stage erected on the Capitol steps, parody songwriter and Republican congressional candidate Jeff Parnell warmed up the crowd by putting his own twist on Obama's campaign theme.

"As sure as your momma was Mrs. Obama, we don't need your kind of change," Parnell sang while strumming his guitar.

Polls have shown Obama and McCain about even in Missouri, a traditional swing state that has 11 electoral votes. Missouri has voted for the winning presidential candidate every time but once in the past century, when it picked Adlai Stevenson instead of President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.

"If we win in Missouri, then McCain-Palin will win the nation," U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., told the crowd before Palin appeared. "We have never been more important in the vote for president than this year."