HENDERSON, Nev. -- The Our Country Deserves Better PAC's "Stop Obama Tour" made its last Nevada stop in a Republican enclave in Democratic-majority Clark County Friday morning, hitting much of the same notes made in previous stops: Barack Obama is an inexperienced candidate who will raise taxes while John McCain is a loyal public servant who has paid his dues and is ready to be president.
State Assemblyman Lynn D. Stewart, who represents the 22nd District which includes parts of Henderson, rallied the small crowd of about 15 supporters, saying, "one of the reasons Republicans don't show up to rallies is because they're at work."
In a particularly curious observation -- funny no matter your politics -- Stewart bemoaned the fact that the good name of Mickey Mouse was besmirched in a bogus voter registration scandal: "Mickey Mouse is not a Democrat, he's a Republican," he said.
After the rally, I spoke to one of the tours organizers and speakers, conservative radio host and pundit Mark Williams, about the size of the crowd. "We like the smaller, more enthusiastic crowds," he said, noting a major goal of the tour is to rally the base to get active in their communities to help counterbalance Obama's enthusiastic army.
Williams took issue with the "liberal thuggery" of sites like DailyKos, and took particular offense at a posting about one of their previous rallies. He accused the poster of making up quotes and calling the people gathered racists.*
Before the bus left Henderson, a local McCain supporter gave tour staffers McCain/Palin signs and bumper stickers to pass out at future stops and stuck around long enough to offer her take on how the campaign is playing out in Clark County.
J. "Sage" Bocook is the founding president of the Las Vegas Pachyderm Club and director of the auxiliary branch of Veterans in Politics International. A recent transplant to North Las Vegas, Bocook said she first became active in Republican politics 42 years ago "working with my dad for a guy named Ron Reagan running for governor of California."
She acknowledges a lot of conservatives aren't in love with John McCain, and some of the people working hardest to get him elected are former supporters of Hillary Clinton. In defiance of conventional wisdom and despite Democrat's significant registration edge, Bocook thinks McCain can win Clark County. She thinks there may be as many people "voting against Obama's socialist regime as voting for McCain."
Asked which issues are most important to her, she immediately responded our country's military strength and the treatment of our servicemen and women. "My family has been involved with the military here since 1775 in the Virginia militia," she said.
Bocook also told me she believes Obama may be an "Islamic Trojan horse." I ask if she means: a) His foreign policy wouldn't be as aggressive as McCain's and could include making certain concessions to the Muslim world; or, b) That he's in league with terrorists.
"Our country was attacked [on 9-11] by sleeper cells looking like normal people, Trojan horses. We have to be watchful," she said.
So does this mean she thinks Obama is Muslim?
"I do see from my reading of Sharia law that if you are lying in the name of Allah, that's a good thing... he calls himself a Christian now, but I don't know," she said.
For our readers, a different perspective from a rural conservative: I asked John Norton in Elko after yesterday's rally what he thinks of claims Obama is Mulsim. He called those rumors "bogus" and accepted that Obama is a Christian. "He's not a Muslim, but he's a liberal," Norton said. "And that's why I won't vote for him."
* Since I was at the event in questions, I agreed with some of his criticisms of the DailyKos account. With the exception of one or two people, the crowd was quite cordial and not particularly cranky. The reference to "stealing my big-screen TV" seemed to be an attempt by Williams to offer a tangible take on the argument of "I earned it, I should get to keep it." The nurses have an honest philosophical question to argue here -- what's more important, another TV or universal healthcare -- but I didn't interpret Williams comment as a racist allusion.
The nurses also claim to have stumbled upon the "Stop Obama" bus, but if that's the case, did the also just happen to show up to the rally in Henderson this morning as well? And if you're gonna attack a guy, you could at least spell his name right.
As for the angry McCain supporter who cursed and screamed at people on the bus, per the posting, I didn't witness it, but I don't doubt it and know just which man they're talking about. He's the same one that told me that, as a reporter, I must be "in the tank" for Obama and became more enraged when he heard I'm from -- gasp -- southern California.
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