For the first time since November 2008, Sarah Palin hits the campaign trail today for John McCain. It's the first stop in a Republican counter-attack that she hopes to lead.
Sarah Palin’s message to conservatives? “Don’t retreat. Instead — reload.”
Her Facebook page even puts 17 Democrats – including three from Arizona — in the crosshairs.
While the crosshairs graphic would ordinarily not draw much notice, it’s receiving additional scrutiny from Democrats and the media after several congressmen received death-threats this week.
McCain was already forced to defend Palin when he appeared on NBC’s “Today” earlier this week.
“Any threat of violence is terrible,” said McCain. “But to say that there is a targeted district or that we reload or go back into the fight again. Please — that’s just language.”
Even though Palin continues to be a lightening rod, McCain needs her help because he is being challenged from the Right by former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., in the state’s Aug. 24 primary.
In a Friday op-ed for the Arizona Republic, Palin calls McCain a "man of faith," and says he is "deeply devoted" to the Second Amendment. She reiterates his POW story and early Congressional career, and talks about his record since the presidential race, including his opposition to the stimulus and "Obamacare," and his advice to the president on Afghanistan strategy.
"In 2008, I firmly believed that John McCain was the right man for America," Palin writes. "Today, I know he's the right man for Arizona."
Hayworth will be in Phoenix on Friday at a Tea Party rally. Also attending the rally will be McCain’s other 2008 “running mate,” Joe the Plumber. Samuel Wurzelbacher appears to have soured on McCain since the 2008 election. Last month, he told one audience that, the way he sees it, McCain is just another career politician who tried to use him.
The Los Angeles Times has Hayworth saying: "I think voters in the Republican primary are looking for a consistent conservative and someone who will be a United States senator for Arizona and not just from Arizona."
The Friday and Saturday Palin-McCain reunion comes not long after McCain defended his former top campaign aides from criticism which was leveled at them by Palin in her memoir, “Going Rogue.”
“There's been a lot of dust flying around in the last few days, and I just wanted to mention that I have the highest regard for Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace and the rest of the team," McCain told Reuters in November. "I think it's just time to move on."
The Wall Street Journal notes that Palin’s stumping for McCain is making some of her fans in the Tea Party movement uneasy.
McCain and Palin are holding a 3:00 p.m. ET rally in Tucson, Arizona. On Saturday, McCain and Palin are holding a 12:00 pm ET rally in Mesa, Arizona.
After she finishes in Arizona on Saturday, Palin heads to Nevada — taking aim at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Palin is the featured speaker at a Tea Party Express rally in Search Light, Nevada. She is expected to speak on Saturday at 3:28 pm ET.
Elsewhere on Saturday, former Vice President Al Gore headlines a Jefferson-Jackson Day Democratic Party dinner in Las Vegas.
Check out this McCain-Palin flashback montage from ABC's Lindsey Ellerson. Watch it HERE.
Breaking: New Arms Treaty with Russia Expected to Be Announced Today
Sources tell ABC News’ Jake Tapper that later today President Obama is expected to talk to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and after that the US and Russia will announce an agreement has been reached on a new nuclear arms treaty, replacing the START treaty that expired on December 5.
GMA: Scott Brown:
Sen. Scott Brown, the Massachusetts Republican who was supposed to be the 41st vote against President Obama’s health-reform package, is being interviewed Friday on “Good Morning America.”
“Congress agreed Thursday to amend the nation's new health-care law, concluding its long and contentious quest to pass major reforms, and prepared to head home for a two-week recess and to hear from skeptical voters about the legislation,” reports the Washington Post.
USA Today devotes its cover story to the “8 key moments” in the long health-care battle.
White House counsel Bob Bauer gets a Washington Post profile for the diplomatic role that he played in crafting an executive order banning federal funding of abortion.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., takes to the pages of the New York Times and writes that a “real fix for what ails health care in America will entail far more than merely tweaking the new law of the land; we will need to repeal the entire faulty architecture of the government behemoth and replace it with real reform.”
Health Care: The Timeline:
With the enactment of President Obama’s comprehensive health reform law on Tuesday, the Kaiser Family Foundation has prepared a new timeline detailing when specific provisions of the legislation are scheduled to take effect.
“It includes more than a dozen key provisions scheduled to take effect this year, including the creation of a national high-risk pool for people with pre-existing conditions that can’t buy insurance on their own, tax credits for some small businesses that provide health coverage for their workers and assistance for Medicare beneficiaries with high drug costs who reach the drug benefit’s coverage gap or ‘doughnut hole.’ The timeline continues through 2014, when the major reforms to expand access to health coverage are fully implemented, and beyond."
Sunday kicks off Jake Tapper’s four-month stint as interim host of “This Week.”
His exclusive guest this Sunday will be senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.
The roundtable will feature George Will, Paul Krugman, Peggy Noonan, Donna Brazile.
Crist-Rubio Debate on “Fox News Sunday”:
The Florida Republican Senate primary between Gov. Charlie Crist and former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio is about to get some additional national exposure.
Crist and Rubio are slated to debate on the next edition of “Fox News Sunday.” In advance of the debate, both Crist and Rubio went on the air with negative ads.
UT-SEN: Bennett Gets Challenged from the Right:
How conservative is Utah Sen. Robert Bennett (R)? Not enough to avoid a test, reports Jeff Zeleny on the front page of the New York Times.
Later today, the Obama administration is unveiling more changes to its embattled $75 billion foreclosure prevention program, introducing sweeping new plans to keep struggling borrowers in their homes, reports ABC’s Matt Jaffe.
“As part of the coming changes, lenders will now be required to cut or eliminate mortgage payments for many unemployed homeowners. Lenders would have to reduce the payments to under 31 percent of a homeowner's income for up to six months – in some cases, that income may only be unemployment insurance. Lenders could also allow homeowners not to make any payments at all.”
“A sudden drop-off in investor demand for U.S. Treasury notes is raising questions about whether interest rates will finally begin a march higher — a climb that would jack up the government's borrowing costs and spell trouble for the fragile housing market,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
Financial Reform Gets New Life Post-Health Care:
The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber writes that the Obama administration’s push to reform Wall Street is getting new life after the health-care victory.
The RNC’s vice chairman – James Bopp Jr. – is preparing a “nationwide assault on campaign finance regulations,” reports the Washington Post.
Mitt Romney’s book tour will take him to the State of Iowa on Monday. Romney is holding a 1:00 pm ET book signing at the Des Moines Central Library followed by an 8:00 pm ET speech at Iowa State University in Ames. As Romney prepares to run for president again in 2012, his team will have to decide how heavily to play in Iowa, a state where Mike Huckabee beat him in 2008.
The Hotline’s Reid Wilson on Romney and Pawlenty ceding the SRLC stage to Palin.
“Mr. President, I think you should read both.” –Tweet from Mitt Romney after President Obama picked up a copy of Romney’s “No Apology” and Karl Rove’s “Courage and Consequence”
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