From NBC/NJ's Matthew Berger
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- Palin tried to shift the focus to abortion Saturday, accusing Obama of "unconditional support for unlimited abortions" and opposing a ban on so-called "partial birth abortions."
"Most troubling though, most troubling even, is that as a state
senator, Barack Obama wouldn't even stand up for the rights of infants
born alive during an abortion," she said. "These infants, often babies
with special needs, they're simply left to die."
Palin spoke of the culture of life for 10 minutes at the Cambria County
War Memorial Arena Saturday, and spoke at length of her own experiences
with son Trig, born earlier this year with Down syndrome.
"Every child is beautiful before God and dear to him for their own
sake, and as for our beautiful baby boy, for Todd and for me, he's only
more precious because he is vulnerable," Palin said. "And in some ways,
you know I think that we stand to learn more from him than he does from
She then pivoted toward attacking Obama on life issues, bringing up comments he made in the same community during the Pennsylvania primary.
"So I listened when our opponent defended his unconditional support for unlimited abortions and he said he said that a woman shouldn't have to be quote punished with a baby," she said. "Ladies and gentlemen, he said that right here in Johnstown -- punished with a baby. It's about time we called him on it."
In March, Obama said he would educate his daughters about sex education but "if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby. I don't want them punished with an STD at the age of 16."
As part of her attack, she cited both the late Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey and the late New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Both men were Northeast Catholics. Casey was pro-life and Moynihan opposed partial-birth abortions, and the Catholic vote is seen as key to winning the Keystone State next month. But Casey's son, Sen. Bob Casey, is an Obama supporter and pledged his support for the Illinois senator before the Pennsylvania Democratic primary.
Palin said Obama opposed legislation in the Illinois state Senate that would have provided medical care to fetuses that survived an abortion.
"Imagine that," she said. "Requiring a law, to require medial care for those babies who survive an abortion. They are living breathing babies. But Sen. Obama describes them as pre-viable."
Palin called Obama's position "absolutely radical."
"Sen. Obama is a politician who has long since left behind even the middle ground on the issue of life," she said.
Obama campaign officials said the Democratic candidate supports a ban on late-term abortions if they include exceptions for the health of mother and also backs "born alive" bills that do not undermine Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.
Cognizant of criticism of a negative tone of the campaign -- which McCain addressed at a rally Friday -- Palin defended her critique of Obama's record, saying "it is not negative; it is not mean-spirited to talk about his record."
But the rally was noticeably void of some of Palin's more vitriolic lines, including attacks on Obama's ties to William Ayers.