Guess who shops at Wal-Mart?

15 10 2008

Sarah Palin does!  That’s right!

Palin surprises local shoppers with visit

Kevin Kelly/photo – Holding her youngest son Trig and flanked by security personnel, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin greeted shoppers at the Gallipolis Wal-Mart on Sunday. Palin was enroute to events in Marietta and St. Clairsville when she made her stop in Gallipolis.
By Kevin Kelly

Monday, October 13, 2008 3:04 AM EDT

GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis Wal-Mart shoppers were at first surprised and then excited on Sunday to find a national political figure in their midst who was, just as they were, picking up a few things she needed.

Accompanied by her youngest son Trig, security, staffers and a small pool of news media, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin stepped off the “Straight Talk Express” bus to enter the store around 1:30 p.m., where she purchased a bag of Parents’ Choice brand disposable diapers and a toy.

But it was also an opportunity for the first-term Alaska governor to meet the public at large and win some votes for the ticket on which she’s running with the GOP White House nominee, U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Palin did not have time to answer questions from the media following her trip through southeastern Ohio, but left some folks exhilirated at meeting her.

“It was so exciting,” said Pat Miller of Patriot, accompanied by her daughter Amber, a student at South Gallia High School. “She seemed to be very sweet, and if she could stop and take the time to buy some diapers for her son, it tells you that for her, family is first.”

Palin was to speak at a rally in St. Clairsville later in the day. After arriving at Tri-State Airport near Huntington, W.Va., Palin boarded the bus for the what would be her single stop for Gallipolis.

“I told the governor when she arrived at the airport she would see the most beautiful part of Ohio when she traveled up this way through Lawrence and Gallia counties,” said former Sen. Mike DeWine of Ohio, who with his wife Fran traveled with the Palin entourage.

The other announced stop was for Marietta, and reports Palin would make a stop at the last day of the Bob Evans Farm Festival proved incorrect as the entourage was seen traveling north on Ohio 7 after leaving Gallipolis.

“I think it’s a great thing for us,” said Andy Fisher of Gallipolis, present with his wife Jo Ellen and daughter Ashley when Palin stopped. “She has a good Christian heart and will make a fine vice president.

“She really cares about people with special needs and she’s not afraid to stand up to big business,” he added.

“She was really down to earth,” Ashley Fisher said. “There was no ego and she treated us with respect, which sometimes you don’t get from political people.”

Palin, who spoke Thursday in Wilmington, a city to be hit hard with the loss of jobs from the DHL delivery service hub based there, spoke later in a community where union sentiment runs high.

St. Clairsville is the seat of Belmont County, won by John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race, and also the home of U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, a first-term Democrat whose Sixth Congressional District includes Gallia and Meigs counties.

“I think we will do well in southern and southeastern Ohio,” DeWine reflected. “Even in more Democratic counties we’re seeing more people coming in for McCain signs.”

“I try to look at both sides,” Pat Miller said. “I want to vote for the best person for my country because I have to think about my children’s future.”

With three weeks left in the campaign, Ohio — considered a major swing state for McCain and Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois — has becone a regular stop for the candidates. Obama spoke in Dayton, Cincinnati, Portsmouth, Chillicothe and Columbus late last week, and plans a visit to Toledo today.

Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, Obama’s running mate, will also speak in St. Clairsville on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the Ohio University Eastern Campus, and in Marietta at Armory Square Wednesday at 7:15 p.m.




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