RALEIGH, N.C. — Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said Saturday that Barack Obama's tax plan will dash the dreams of Americans and their children as she urged voters in this surprise swing state to vote against such a change.
Palin said Obama's plans show that he has an "ideological commitment to higher taxes."
"If you believe America is still the land of possibilities and if you don't want your dreams dashed and your children's dreams dashed by the Obama tax increase, then, North Carolina, we're asking for your votes," Palin told the rowdy crowd of about 10,000 at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh. "Can we count on your vote on Nov. 4?"
An overflow crowd of approximately 2,000 people were unable to get into Palin's rally, N.C. Republican Party spokesman Brent Woodcox said late Saturday.
The Alaska governor said Obama's "phony" tax plan has been repeatedly revised downward – as surrogates have at times offered different benchmarks for the middle class, including New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's remark this week that it would end at $120,000. Palin said Obama's tax ideas were beginning to unravel.
"It would decimate many small business," she said.
While twice touting gun rights, Palin spent much of her speech focusing on Obama's tax ideas as supporters held up signs referring to "Joe the Plumber" – the Ohio workman who has become a campaign theme for McCain after he questioned Obama on his tax plan.
"This is the worst possible time to even consider raising taxes," she said.
Palin's trip to Raleigh was her fourth trip to North Carolina in a month as she tries to pitch her folksy style to a state that hasn't voted for a Democrat since 1976. Early voting here ended Saturday but has widely favored Obama. An Associated Press-GfK poll released this week shows the race a tossup.
In a state where Democrats are more conservative than their national counterparts, she raised the specter of a federal government controlled by Democrats. The crowd booed as Palin discussed the possibility of Obama leading the nation with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
"It's the far-left wing of the Democratic party that is preparing to take over your entire federal government," Palin said.
Earlier in the day, Palin assured elderly voters that McCain would protect Social Security and Medicare benefits and accused his Democratic rival of stoking fear and worry about the entitlement programs.
"Barack Obama goes around promising a new kind of politics, then he comes here to Florida and tries to exploit the fears and worries about Social Security and Medicare for retirees, and that's the oldest and cheapest kind of politics there is," she said.
McCain has said "nothing's off the table" when it comes to ensuring the existence of Social Security, a position that apparently could include allowing for private accounts.
Obama has said he would raise payroll taxes on the wealthiest workers by applying it to the portion of income over $250,000. Now, payroll tax is applied to income up to $102,000. Obama has ruled out raising the retirement age for benefits.
North Carolina spokesman for the Obama-Biden campaign, Paul Cox, said Palin’s remarks were “misleading.”
“Sen. Obama has made clear that he will increase our ground troops and our investments in the finest fighting force the world. He offers a tax plan that supports small businesses and the middle class, with a tax cut for 95 percent of working families and help for small businesses to provide health insurance for their workers,” Cox said.
Obama returns to North Carolina for the eighth time on Monday. He will appear at a rally at the Hayes Recreation Fields at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte.
Doors open at 3 p.m. and the program begins at 5:30 p.m.
The event is free and open to the public, tickets are not required. Members of the public are encouraged to RSVP at the campaign’s Web site.
Obama was represented on Saturday in Raleigh by comedian Chris Rock, who spoke at a rally at Shaw University.
“Get your grandmother, your grandfather, your sick uncle, anybody with an arm, get them to get out there and vote for Mr. Obama,” Rock said.