Palin Thrills Charlotte Conservatives

By Tom Roussey - bio | email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - You get the feeling John McCain's Charlotte headquarters wasn't all that busy a place, say, a week ago.  But that was pre-Palin.

The Republican McCain's pick for his running mate seems to have ignited his party's base unlike any VP pick in recent memory.

Just a few weeks ago a local Republican activist admitted to me they were having trouble getting folks to volunteer for McCain.  Many were saying they'd vote for him, but that was it.  The problem was that some conservative Republicans had serious problems with McCain, who has a history of bucking his party on certain issues.  Christian conservatives had concerns as well, despite McCain's pro-life record.

But the pick of Palin seems to have eased those concerns considerably.

"After he picked Palin, everybody started calling," said UNC Charlotte student and McCain volunteer Chris Brotherton.

Brotherton says an initial wave of support came immediately after last Friday's announcement that Palin had been chosen.

But since then, a growing controversy has surrounded Palin.  The campaign announced her 17 year old daughter was pregnant.  Democrats have questioned if she's experienced enough to be next in line to the presidency.  And there's been other issues.

But none of that seems to have hurt local conservative support for Palin; instead it appears to have strengthened it, as some see it all as a product of liberal media bias.

"There's a lot of people wanting to come out and defend her," Brotherton said.  "A lot of our calls are about that. So they want to defend her and support her at the same time, which is great."

One interesting thing I noted -- folks asking for signs and bumper stickers made a point of asking for one's with McCain and Palin's names, not just McCain's.  Unfortunately for them, the Charlotte McCain office didn't have them yet, although they're available from the national campaign.