From Erika Bolstad in Anchorage –
Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller, taking the stage after a crowd-revving stump speech from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, urged his supporters to pray for his family and his victory.
Hundreds of people gathered tonight in the Dena'ina Center in downtown Anchorage for the rally, which was headlined by Palin but also featured a number of lower wattage political luminaries appearing by video. At the event, billed as a "Change DC" rally, Miller said the campaign was only five days away from changing the nation's capital.
"And I'm not talking about Obama's kind of change," Miller said.
Miller also said he had grown a thick skin from his time at West Point, but that his wife wasn't as tough. He said his wife has suffered as there's been a steady stream of news about him and his background. Miller hasn't ever run for statewide office, and unlike the other two candidates in the race, has never held elected office. In recent weeks, Miller has said his family received the sort of government benefits, including health care that he has criticized in a campaign that has focused on limiting the role of government. And this week after a court order, personnel records released by the Fairbanks North Star Borough show that in 2008 he lied after being caught using government computers for political purposes while he was working as a part-time borough lawyer.
Those who are criticizing him "represent the way of the past, not the future," Miller said, and again called on his supporters for their prayers for his victory over Democrat Scott McAdams and Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
"There's one other thing that we have in our arsenal," he said. "That thing we have in our arsenal is prayer. Now I want you to pray like you've never prayed before."
Miller upped the ante from some of the other speakers, who had urged those attending the rally to drag at least two of their friends to the polls, too, on Election Day. Miller asked the crowd to persuade 10 people who are on the fence about him to vote.
"Tell your friends to vote," he said, adding, "and when we change this nation on Nov. 2, you will know that it is Alaska's destiny to lead this nation into the future."
Firing up the crowd before Miller's speech, Palin took a swipe at both of his opponents, Murkowksi in particular: "One is an out-of-touch liberal, and the other happens to be the mayor of Sitka," she quipped.
Palin followed up on comments she made earlier this week critical of Murkowski's line of questioning during a debate. Murkowski had questioned Miller about whether his recent actions flew in the face of the West Point honor code.
Palin's speech, which was tailored to her fellow Alaskans but similar to one she gave recently in Florida, focused heavily on President Barack Obama's policies.
"Just crunch the numbers and you can see what is out in front of us if we do not turn things around in Washington D.C.," she said. "The only thing that's going to turn it around, folks, is to change the leadership in Washington D.C. And that's what Joe Miler's campaign is all about."
Palin was dressed far more casually than the rest of the people on the dais at the event. She wore jeans and a hot pink zip-up hoodie festooned with Joe Miller and Sean Parnell campaign stickers. She entered only to make her speech, and left when she had concluded.
Only a few other moments rated as much applause as Palin's appearance at the rally: a senator from Oklahoma questioning whether climate change is real, and a new commercial from the Miller campaign attacking Murkowski.
In the commercial, footage of Obama saying 'Yes we can!' is intercut with footage of Murkowski saying the same.
The video statement from Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., focusing on global warming drew an appreciative roar from the crowd. Inhofe told the crowd he was the guy who said global warming is "the greatest hoax ever perpetuated on the American people."
Inhofe also criticized Murkowski for one of her own statements on global warming, when she said it wasn't an abstract threat, but something that already exists in Alaska. Murkowski, he said, had been a friend of his, but Miller was the Republican Party nominee.
Other speakers over video included radio talk show host Lars Larson, former presidential candidate/former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, tea party darling Rep. Michelle Bachman, R-Minn., and Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., whose political action committee is one of Miller's biggest supporters, also appeared over video.
Much of the rally was emceed by actress Janine Turner, who said that although she played "Maggie" from the iconic Alaska television show, Northern Exposure, Thursday's event was her first appearance in Alaska. (The cute brunette pixie cut is gone. She's a platinum blonde now.)
> Palin headlines Anchorage rally for Miller KTUU video
> Palin Renews Support for Miller in Alaska Race The New York Times
> Sarah Palin and friends rally around Joe Miller Alaska Dispatch