Nation & World

Sarah Palin draws thousands to Central Florida rally

LADY LAKE — In the biggest event of the 2008 campaign in Florida so far, Sarah Palin drew tens of thousands of people Sunday to a Central Florida town square decked out like the Fourth of July for a speech aimed at pumping up the state's Republican heartland.

Palin focused her speech on her track record as governor of Alaska, John McCain's experience in wartime, and did not delve into the nitty-gritty of the ailing economy. That suited several people in the crowd who said they didn't come to hear bullet points but the governor who rejuvenated the ticket.

''She's the sunrise, not the sunset,'' said Linda Cusumano, 57, of Orlando. ``She makes me feel there's nothing we can't do.''

The crowd endured hours in the sweltering heat for the sight of the dynamic newcomer to national politics. A new Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 poll showed that 40 percent of voters who back McCain said Palin made them feel stronger about their choice.

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