Palin defends earmark history, time as mayor

FAIRFAX, Va. — There was no lipstick involved, but the pit bull made a return to the national scene Wednesday.

In a speech before a crowd estimated at 15,000 in a local park, GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin defended herself against attacks from Democrats on her record and went after Democratic nominee Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaKrystal Ball tears into 'Never Trump' Republicans Sanders campaign announces it contacted over 1 million Iowa voters Iowa Steak Fry to draw record crowds for Democrats MORE for his.

The Alaska governor fought back against charges that she only opposed the infamous Bridge to Nowhere earmark in her home state once it was already doomed, suggesting the Obama campaign is hypocritical for making it such an issue.

“I didn’t think he’d want to go there,” Palin said. “In just three years, our opponent has requested nearly a billion dollars in earmarks.”

Palin then reminded those gathered that she has something Obama doesn’t — executive experience in government.

“Our opponent was requesting a billion dollars in earmarks as a senatorial privilege. What I was doing was vetoing half a billion as an executive responsibility,” she said.

Palin also fought the perception that her time as mayor of a town of 9,000 residents doesn’t qualify her to be next in line for the presidency.

Talking about her experience as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Palin called it a “small town,” but slyly drew out the word “small.”

“As the mayor of a small town, I shook up the old system and took on the good old boys,” Palin said. “And let me remind you people that government is not always the answer. In fact, too often government is the problem.”

Speaking in blue-tilting Northern Virginia, Palin acknowledged that the state as a whole is in doubt in the 2008 election, despite its GOP-heavy history.

{mospagebreak}She said that in the presidential race, GOP nominee John McCainJohn Sidney McCainAmerica's newest comedy troupe: House GOP Michelle Malkin knocks Cokie Roberts shortly after her death: 'One of the first guilty culprits of fake news' Arizona Democratic Party will hold vote to censure Sinema MORE “is the only one ready to serve us as the 44th president.”

The Arizona senator also praised Palin’s executive experience, noting that she has helped facilitate a $40 billion natural gas pipeline in Alaska.

McCain followed Palin by repeating his mantra from the Republican National Convention last week that “change is coming,” saying it three times in succession at one point.

He echoed congressional Democrats and Obama with harsh words for the ousted CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who are set to receive lucrative severance packages now that the government has announced a takeover of the struggling lenders.

“We can’t allow this to turn into a bailout of irresponsible CEOs and Wall Street investors,” McCain said.

Of the CEOs, he said: “They deserve nothing. They should be paying it back.”

The McCain-Palin rally was moved from a local school after apparent objections from the local school board.

Rep. Tom Davis, the retiring Republican congressman in the district, criticized the school board and noted Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) held rallies in local public schools.

“The school board thought that they could stop this rally, but they did us a favor, because we were not going to be able to accommodate this many people,” Davis said.

Fairfax Fire Marshal Andrew Wilson provided the estimate of 15,000.