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Palin at GOP rally: 'Soon we'll all be dancing'

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Saturday urges Republicans at rally to exhaust themselves over the next two weeks to take back California and the country for the "little guy."
A woman holds up a sign while listening to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin during a Victory 2010 rally in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday.
A woman holds up a sign while listening to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin during a Victory 2010 rally in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday.Jae C. Hong / AP
/ Source: NBC News and news services

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Saturday urged a roaring crowd of Republicans to exhaust themselves over the next two weeks to take back California and the country for the "little guy."

Joined by Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, the former vice presidential candidate addressed more than 2,000 supporters at a Republican National Committee rally in Orange County, a conservative stronghold in a state where Republicans hope to make gains this year.

"The momentum is with us but now is not the time to let up, now is not the time to celebrate — not quite yet," Palin told a crowd wearing T-shirts reading "Proud Conservative" and buttons reading "Is it 2012 yet?"

"We can't be thinking that it's over yet and we've got it in the bag. As Yogi would've said, 'It ain't over till it's over,'" she said, referring to New York Yankees great Yogi Berra.

"Soon we'll all be dancing," Palin added.

The event was the culmination of a three-day promotional and political swing for Palin through California — a state where she gets mixed reviews.

Sarah Palin, Van Tran
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, left, shakes hands with California's 47th Congressional candidate Van Tran during a rally in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Jae C. Hong / AP

A Field Poll released last week found that 58 percent of the state's registered voters hold a negative view of Palin, although she remains quite popular among Republicans. In addition, two-thirds of independent voters would be less inclined to support a candidate endorsed by her.

The state's two most prominent Republican candidates this year — gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman and Senate candidate Carly Fiorina — were absent from the rally, citing scheduling conflicts.

At a campaign stop in Chico, Whitman said she appreciated Palin's support, without embracing Palin's views.

"I want everyone on my side," including Republicans, Democrats and independents, Whitman said.

Palin isn't the only big name politician to visit California in the run-up to the election. Former President Bill Clinton spoke at rallies for gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and Democratic U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez on Friday and will campaign in San Jose and Napa Sunday.

President Barack Obama will visit Los Angeles next week to support Brown and Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Invoking former President Ronald Reagan, Palin told the roaring crowd she wanted a return to principles he espoused: "lower taxes, smaller, smarter government, less overreach and intrusion, strong, unapologetic national defense."

Reagan, she said to a thunderous applause in a Marriott hotel ballroom in Anaheim, understood the little guy.

Palin railed against the federal stimulus package and tore into the recent health care reform law, which she said amounted to a takeover of private industry.

All reasons she urged Republicans to put in 20-hour days to help turn out the vote over the next two weeks.

"We need to dig deep ... and help restore American exceptionalism," she said. "America is at a turning point, a tipping point, there is nothing wrong with America that an election can't fix."

And she took a jab at President Obama, saying he should be apologizing to 15 million people looking for work.

"Overtaxation is killing jobs; government policies are killing jobs," she said.

Steele said California was no longer just a donor state for Republicans and that the party was working closely with those affiliated with tea party groups that are furious at the government.

"There is no struggle, rift, fight between those who claim the banner of the tea party and those who are in the Republican Party. We work together," Steele said.

Steele said, "this is your moment, we the people is what this election is about ... we have watched this administration, like (singer) James Brown once said, 'talking loud and saying nothing, ...where is the strategy?"

Steele urged the crowd to help out Republican state Assemblyman Van Tran, who attended the event and is challenging Sanchez for her seat in Orange County.

Wearing a red GOP baseball cap, 76-year old Erwin Vysma said he was thrilled Palin had helped the party swerve conservative after Republicans let spending spiral out of control under Bush.

"She's doing a whale of a job," Vysma said. "She fired up the base and hopefully we'll all come out voting 100 percent, the Republicans, because God knows we need it."

Palin will headline another Republican National Committee rally on Oct. 23 in Orlando, Fla.