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An energetic, hoarse Sarah Palin races across 6 states from Ohio to Alaska

November 3, 2008 |  6:50 pm

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. -- She's growing hoarse, no doubt tired, but less than 10 weeks after bursting onto the national political and cultural scene, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin showed no signs Alaska Governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin greets eager fansof fatigue today as she worked her way through stops in six states, including an overnight flight back home to Alaska to vote.

And then another long flight back down to Arizona on election day.

Other than that, the 44-year-old mother of five was taking it easy on the last day of the historic 2008 presidential race.

Aides said Palin was in high spirits this evening, as she flew from state to state across the nation and up to the top of it to rally supporters for the Republican ticket in five battleground states.

“She’s drawing lots of energy off these big crowds,” said Tucker Eskew, Palin’s senior communications and policy aide, on the tarmac of the Dubuque, Iowa airport. “I think she’s showing that behind the podium.”

Palin drew thousands of supporters at almost ever stop, boisterous crowds that chanted her name over and over and interrupted her several times with cheers so loud that she could not be heard and had to pause in her speech.

On her final day on the campaign trail since life was turned upside-down with her VP selection Aug. 29, Palin today stuck meticulously to a simple jeans-clad image and a bare-bones economic message all day as she hop-scotched traditional red states that are in danger of turning blue.

“The time for choosing is near," she said. "And the choice could not be clearer.” Palin spoke this evening to thousands of boisterous supporters gathered on the south lawn of the picturesque statehouse here.

“Our country is faAlaska Governor and Republican Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in Iowa today enjoying a song by Hank Williams Jr.cing tough times. Now more than ever we need someone tough as president. Only John McCain has the wisdom, the experience, the courage to get our economy back on the right track.”

Palin always worked the rope lines with hundreds pushing to touch her hands. But those opportunities were shortened due to the day's tight schedule that began in suburban Cleveland, jumped out to Jefferson City, Mo. and then up to Dubuque, Iowa, out to Colorado Springs and then Reno and on to Elko, Nevada before heading north, way north to vote in Wasilla Tuesday morning.

And then fly back down to join the McCains in Arizona.

Palin was hewing closely to an abbreviated version of her stump speech of recent days, criticizing Barack Obama’s tax proposals and outlining John McCain’s plans for the economy, national security and energy independence. She was no longer raising Obama’s associations with 60s-radical William Ayers or going off-script.

So unwilling was she to provide any possible alternate story line to the day, that Palin ignored reporters' shouted questions for her reaction to the presumably good news in late afternoon that an independent state personnel board had cleared her of impropriety in her firing last summer of the state's safety commissioner in the so-called Troopergate inquiry.

(UPDATE: Palin's lawyer did release a statement on her behalf available here.)

“This election is very much focused on domestic issues and the economy,” Eskew said.

--Seema Mehta

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Photo credit: Associated Press (top); Dave Ketterling / Associated Press (bottom Palin in Iowa with singer Hank Williams Jr.)