Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin ventured out onto the ice last night to drop the ceremonial puck at the season opener for the Philadephia Flyers.
As Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis toldPolitico's Ken Vogel a few days before the game, rowdy sports fans and politics just don't mix:
“I don’t think it is a good idea to mix politics and sports. Half the fans will disagree with what you say or do,” said Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals, a conference rival of the Flyers. Leonsis, who in the primary gave maximum contributions to both Palin’s running mate and his Democratic rival Barack Obama, said if he invited a candidate in a looming election to appear at a Caps-related event, “I would be sure to give both sides equal time.”
Introduced as Amercia's most famous Hockey Mom, Palin stepped onto the ice with her teenaged daughter Willow and her younger daughter Piper, who wore a Flyers jersey and is probably one of the cutest kids in America. If Palin thought the kids might quiet down rambunctious fans, she was wrong.
While there was applause, the boos were much louder. But as Politico's Ben Smith reported, Philly fans willl boo just about anyone, maybe even thrown snowballs at Santa Claus.
Palin may lack a lot of things, but guts isn't one of them. Despite being dissed, she kept smiling and waving (you can't help noticing that the music did get louder and louder to the point where no one could hear anything).
An interesting aside: the Flyers home base is the Wachovia Center. Maybe the fans were just cranky about the nation's continuing financial woes, evidenced by Wachovia's pending sale to Wells Fargo? Nah.
Anyway, you can watch the puck drop here:
In terms of the bigger picture, I imagine Palin was in Philly as part of the McCain-Palin strategy to win Pennsylvania, especially the conservative suburbs around the Democratic city. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama campaigned yesterday in Philly as well and both sides will no doubt be headed back to the state many times before November 4.
The aforementioned Ken Vogel has a new story out today, McCain makes risky play for Pa., that has a spot-on rundown at just what's at stake in for each side in the Keystone State.
Vogel writes that Palin will be in Scranton on Tuesday. Obama's running mate, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, who lived in Scranton until he was 10, is there today with U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton and her husband, Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton walloped Obama in northeast Pennsylvania during the primary by winning heavily among white, working class voters.
While Pennsylvania's 21 electoral votes haven't gone to a Republican in two decades, McCain-Palin are taking a big gamble they hope will pay off.