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Da coach and the hockey mom

From NBC/NJ's Matthew E. Berger

LATROBE, Pa. -- Palin appealed to "Casey Democrats" in Pennsylvania today, but the strongest appeal came from a local legend, former NFL football coach Mike Ditka.

"When you look at the next eight years in this country, there's gonna be some tough times, gang," Ditka said at an airport hangar rally. "We talk about change. Change from what, to what, and how? How you gonna do anything? Don't talk about what you're gonna do, prove you can do something!"

Ditka -- who grew up in nearby Aliquippa and played for Pitt -- cited the late John F. Kennedy, saying the country had swayed from the ideals of not asking what the country can do for you, but what you can do for the country.

"This is the land of opportunity; it's not a land of handouts," the coach said. "If you're willing to work, you can find a job."

Palin gave an abbreviated version of her stump speech, and continued to suggest Democratic victories in the White House and Congress would lead to a "far left" agenda that would include cuts to defense spending. She made her appeal to more moderate Democrats, known as "Casey Democrats," after the late Pennsylvanian governor Robert P. Casey, whose son, Sen. Bob Casey, Jr., is backing Obama.

"And with your help, and with the help of the good Casey Democrats here in Pennsylvania too, that's the spirit that John McCain and I will be able to bring to Washington," Palin said.

She also reiterated a line she has commonly used in Pennsylvania, reminding voters that Obama suggested they "cling to religion and guns" during the primaries.

"Don't quite know what to make of a candidate like that," she said. "We tend to prefer candidate that don't talk about us one way in Latrobe and then another way in San Francisco."

Palin was joined on stage by three of her children, including two in costume for Halloween. Daughter Piper was dressed as an ice princess and six-month-old Trig was in an elephant costume.