- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2008

GOLDEN, Colo. | Sarah Palin said her “mission” as vice president in a McCain administration would be to promote energy security, clean up government and increase support for families of special-needs children, including pushing for cures through medical research.

John McCain´s Republican running mate called for more transparency as part of an effort to reform the federal government, noting that the state of Alaska puts its “checkbook” online “so that everybody can see where their money goes.”

“I can´t wait to start shaking things up in Washington,” said Mrs. Palin, whose appearance before about 5,000 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds marked her second day of solo campaigning.

Meanwhile, across the Continental Divide in Grand Junction, Colo., near the Utah border, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama tried to link his rival to the “trickle-up” prosperity of the Bush administration.

Mr. Obama, the first presidential candidate to appear in the town since Harry Truman in 1948, accused the McCain campaign of trying to co-opt his message of change.

John McCain suddenly says he is for change, too,” Mr. Obama said. “He is even using some of my lines. He said in an ad today that he and Gov. Palin will bring the change that we need … Instead of borrowing my lines, he needs to borrow some of our ideas.”

Mr. Obama, making his first Colorado stop since the Democratic National Convention last month, also appeared yesterday at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, Colo., and is slated to speak Tuesday at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden.

Both candidates made references to yesterday´s turmoil on the financial markets, with Mr. Obama insisting that there wasn´t a “dime´s worth of difference between John McCain´s ideas and the things we are seeing now in Washington and Wall Street.”

Mrs. Palin, meanwhile, said that righting the nation´s economy and restoring its reputation worldwide would be “one of the highest priorities in our administration.”

Yesterday´s convergence of candidates underscored Colorado´s status as a critical swing state for both campaigns. The state has supported Republicans in the past few presidential elections, backing Mr. Bush in 2004 by a margin of 52 percent to 47 percent.

But the Democrats have enjoyed a run of success since then, taking over both houses of the legislature in 2004, capturing a formerly Republican Senate seat the same year, and then winning back the governor´s mansion in 2006.

As a result, both campaigns have targeted the Rocky Mountain West´s most populous state and its nine electoral votes. Both members of the Republican ticket appeared in Colorado Springs eight days ago, almost immediately after the party convention in St. Paul, Minn.

One difference between that appearance and yesterday´s event was that the opposition is now more organized. While only a handful of protesters turned out for the Colorado Springs rally, yesterday´s speech drew about 100 protesters and an anti-McCain-Palin press conference led by former Colorado Lt. Gov. Gail Schoettler .

This story was based in part on wire-service reports.

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