From NBC/NJ's Matthew E. Berger
CARSON CITY, Nev. -- In her first solo campaign rally outside of Alaska, Gov. Sarah Palin drew an enthusiastic crowd at the Pony Express Pavilion Saturday and returned to a familiar refrain about the "Bridge to Nowhere."
Palin has come under fire in recent days for misleadingly saying she told Congress "thanks but no thanks," refusing an earmark for a bridge to a sparsely inhabited island in her home state. Independent groups and media fact-checkers have said Palin advocated for the federal earmark before opposing it, only ended after Congress had essentially killed it, and kept the $223 million for the appropriation after the project was killed.
Palin had cut the refrain from her speech during her three-day visit to Alaska. But she came back to it today, citing it as an example of earmark reform she and McCain would push for in the White House.
"I told Congress thanks but no thanks to that Bridge to Nowhere -- that if our state wanted to build that bridge, we would build it ourselves," she said.
Palin did not deviate much from the speech she had given the last two weeks on the road with McCain. She reiterated a line that she put the governor's luxury jet on eBay. While accurate, the jet wasn't sold on eBay.
Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki said on stage that 10,000 people were in the crowd, but parks officials said the pavilion held only 3,500 people. The audience consisted of significantly more women than McCain-Palin joint rallies over the last two weeks, and Palin addressed her historic candidacy head on.
"The women of America aren't finished yet, this November, with your help, we're gonna shatter one glass ceiling once and for all," she said.
Palin also acknowledged the presence of Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to break the sound barrier.