Sharing the stage with Palin
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Originally set to campaign in Alaska on Saturday night and then begin campaigning on her own, Sarah Palin is now expected to spend more days appearing alongside McCain and gather larger crowds for the presidential hopeful.
Republican vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin may be drawing bigger cheers than her running mate, but John McCain isn't bothered in the least, a senior advisor said Sunday.
"Of course not, he's excited," Mark Salter told reporters who asked if McCain was jealous of the attention Palin has been receiving since he announced his surprise choice of running mate on August 29.
"They're chanting 'John McCain' too," Salter noted.
McCain, 72, had long been viewed with suspicion by his party's conservative base for his more moderate views on a number of issues such as immigration, and his support for embryonic stem cell research.
He also deeply offended many by calling Christian evangelical leader Jerry Falwell an "agent of intolerance," and has struggled to rally support among the party's grassroots despite a number of efforts to reach out to them, including giving a commencement address at Falwell's university.
An avid hunter and self-described "hockey mom," Palin, 44, is beloved by conservatives for her strong opposition to abortion and her support of teaching creationism in school.
Republicans also rallied around Palin when she was attacked by pundits for failing to put her family first, given that she has a four-month-old son with Down syndrome and her unmarried, 17-year-old daughter is pregnant.
She has been greeted by chants of "Sarah! Sarah!" from the thousands of supporters who have come out to hear her speak with McCain at campaign stops in battleground states.
Originally set to go home to Alaska on Saturday night and then begin campaigning on her own, she is expected to spend several more days with McCain on the trail.
That has sparked speculation that she was either not ready to head off on her own, or else was sticking around to help pull in bigger crowds.
Salter dismissed both premises.
"They're having a good time," Salter told reporters on the campaign plane.
"We're running on a lot of momentum coming out of the convention. The senator himself thought they should continue on for a few days."
McCain had only met Palin once before he invited her to his home to discuss giving her a place on his presidential ticket.
Salter said the two families are enjoying each other's company and that the two candidates work well together.
"It's playing out great," he added. "They're getting along great and struck up an immediate rapport."
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