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Just Sarah Palin's name pushes McCain's Chicago fundraiser over $4 million

September 8, 2008 |  8:18 pm

More evidence the Sarah Palin effect continues to benefit her Republican presidential campaign with Sen. John McCain.

The two of them split up in Kansas City for the day today, with Palin flying to Cincinnati for more study, and McCain moving on to Democrat Barack Obama's hometown of Chicago to raise some money in his opponent's political backyard.

Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain of Arizona and his wife Cindy, right, with Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, their popular choice for vice presidential running mate-middle

Our Swamp pal Rick Pearson reports that while McCain will blow through the Windy City only briefly this evening, it looks like it'll be well worth his while.

Local organizers of McCain's fundraising event at the downtown Chicago Hilton say they expect to net at least $4 million for the Arizona senator's campaign tonight, actually for the Republican National Committee. Event fees range from $1,000 for the general reception, $5,000 for a smaller reception and photo with the candidate, and $25,000 for an intimate dinner with him.

The event is described by local McCain supporters as one of a handful of regional big-bucks fundraisers for the Republican contender.

State Rep Jim Durkin of Westchester, who's heading McCain's....

...Illinois money efforts, said ticket sales surged as soon as McCain named Alaska Gov. Palin as his GOP running mate just over a week ago, and continued through her rousing speech to delegates at last week's Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

"Since he named Palin, this has taken on a life of its own," Durkin said. He added that he noticed an increase in female business executives buying tickets for the fundraiser, even though they won't get a chance to see or hear her tonight.

Also today came encouraging news for the McCain campaign: The convention bounces of both candidates appear to have effectively canceled each other out, keeping the race virtually tied.

But one new poll especially showed dramatic movement of white women away from Obama and toward the McCain-Palin ticket in recent days, a shift of some 20 points, according to the new ABC News/Washington Post survey.

McCain and Palin will meet up in Ohio for some more joint campaigning in that historically crucial state for Republicans tomorrow before Palin makes a quick flight home -- well, not really all that quickly over that distance -- to see her 19-year-old Army son, Track, off for duty in Iraq.

She'll also undergo several interrogations by ABC News' Charles Gibson for broadcast later this week, her first interview as the GOP's first female vice presidential candidate since the Republican Party was founded in 1854.

(UPDATE: The Times' Maeve Reston reports from the fundraiser that McCain spent more time talking about Palin's biography than his own. “Gov. Palin has taken on her party," he said, "and the special interests in Alaska. I have stood up against my party when I’ve had to. And Sen. Obama has never once stood up to his party. You know that very well.”

Then, perhaps providing an inkling of some longterm plans, McCain added, "I’m proud of the experience and the talent that she brings to our ticket and she will bring to presidency and vice presidency of the United States of America.”) 

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo credit: Getty Images

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