Palin draws 20,000 to New York appearance

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) vowed to keep fighting the policies of Washington and its growing government solutions to the nation’s economic problems in a Saturday speech in Auburn, N.Y. celebrating the city’s Founder’s Day.

Palin was on hand to help raise money for a museum honoring William Seward, the 19th secretary of state who purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million in 1867.

The former Republican vice presidential candidate drew a crowd of 20,000, who watched her lead a parade through downtown Auburn and sign a proclamation honoring Seward.

Later at a fundraiser at Seward’s estate and gardens, Palin took President Obama to task on his national security and energy policies, as well as his handling of the economic crisis.

“Alaskans get tired of hearing that Washington bureaucrats know what’s best for us so we push and we fight and we challenge decision made inside the beltway when they’re not in our country’s best interest,” she said. “And we know decisions being made lately are not in our country’s best interest.”

During the final months of the presidential contest, Palin became a leading voice among social and fiscal conservatives. Despite some media missteps, she remains popular among many on the right and is thought to be weighing a run for president in 2012. The Auburn crowd chanted “Run, Sarah Run!” as she approached the podium to speak Saturday.

Palin also highlighted her recent refusal to accept federal stimulus funds because she said they came with strings attached, in this case, “universal energy building codes.” She said her veto of the money was not a way to make a political statement, as some claimed, but “just common sense.”

“I can’t say strings attached anymore,” she said. “Now I say ropes—debt-building, binding, controlling ropes -- and bigger government that will ultimately take away our opportunities and freedoms.”

Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC, paid for the trip. Palin’s husband, Todd, daughter Willow, as well as her sister and her son traveled with her to upstate New York. Sunday she is scheduled to be in Long Island to raise money for Independent Group Home Living, an agency for the developmentally disabled.