From NBC/NJ's Matthew Berger
POLK CITY, Fla. – With just 72 hours to go, the McCain campaign is hoping Florida is "Palin Country." Or at least that's what the signs said that were passed out at Palin's rally at the Fantasy of Flight Hangar Saturday, with no mention of the senator at the top of the ticket.
Palin is holding three rallies in a final swing around the Sunshine State's Gulf Coast and I-4 corridor, hoping to draw out additional support in the state's more conservative areas. She is focusing on issues that are particular concern in the state, like healthcare for senior citizens and the use of solar energy.
Her voice at times strained from her two months on the trail, Palin told a crowd in New Port Richey that Obama wants the government to take over healthcare, adding that such a move would not lower costs.
"Barack Obama goes around promising a new kind of politics, but then he comes here to Florida and he tries to exploit the fears and the worries about Social Security and Medicare to our retirees and that is the oldest and cheapest kind of politics there is," she said in Sims Park. "And enough is enough of that."
And here in Polk City – which she repeatedly referred to as Lakeland, a town 23 miles away – she emphasized her interest in solar power as part of the campaign's "all of the above approach" to finding domestic energy alternatives.
"God has so richly blessed you, Florida," she said.
Palin will fly to North Carolina and Virginia for two additional rallies Saturday, her most to date. Her stump speech has been shortened to accommodate the additional travel, with less emphasis on Obama specifically. Instead, she is concentrating more on a broader approach, focusing on the concerns of Democratic control of Congress and the White House.
But some important attack lines remain, including the claims that Obama will raise taxes on the middle class and small businesses.
"And according to an independent analysis, our opponent's new policies will destroy nearly six million new jobs over the next decade," Palin said. "What is he thinking?"
"You know what he is thinking?" Palin continued, ignoring one audience member, who yelled "He's not thinking." "Senator Obama has an ideological commitment to higher taxes."
Palin has elicited the help of the state's popular governor, Charlie Crist, and Rep. Adam Putnam was at the Polk City stop as well.