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McCain Introduces VP Pick To Pennsylvania Voters

The likely Republican Party presidential nominee. Senator John McCain, has introduced his new running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, to voters in the important state of Pennsylvania. VOA's Kent Klein reports from Washington.

"My friends and fellow Americans, I am very pleased and privileged to introduce to you the next Vice President of the United States, Governor Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska," he said to a cheering crowed in the industrial town of Washington, Pennsylvania. Senator McCain introduced his running mate as a reformer in state government who will help him reform the U.S. government.

Palin introduced herself to the crowd by talking about her achievements as a mother of five children and as Governor of Alaska. She also endorsed McCain's foreign policy, especially his support for the Iraq war. "It was Senator McCain who refused to hedge his support for our troops in Iraq, regardless of the political costs. And you know, now, as the mother of one of those troops, and as the Commander of Alaska's National Guard, that's the kind of man I want as Commander In Chief," she said.

Palin is the first woman to be named to a National Republican ticket.

McCain stunned many political observers on Friday by choosing as his vice presidential candidate the little-known 44-year-old governor of the country's fourth-least populous* state, whose only previous political experience was as mayor of a small town.

Pennsylvania is the fifth-most-populous* U.S. state, and recent polls there have shown Senator McCain and his Democratic opponent, Senator Barack Obama, running almost even.

Obama and his running mate, Senator Joe Biden, attended a memorial service for recently deceased Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones in Cleveland, Ohio Saturday. Later, Obama and Biden moved across the state for a rally near Columbus.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign has introduced a television commercial which mentions the Republican candidate's choice of Palin, but focuses its criticism on McCain's policies.

A poll by the Gallup organization says Obama's lead over McCain has grown from 0 to 8 percentage points since the Democratic National Convention.

* clarified 5 September 2008. The original text described Alaskas as the country's fourth-smallest state. Alaska is the largest state in terms of land mass.