SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson talks about Sarah Palin campainging for John McCain's re-election in Arizona.

by Ronald J. Hansen
The Arizona Republic

TUCSON — Invoking the same opponent, and summoning an energy reminiscent of their 2008 presidential run, Sarah Palin and John McCain pledged Friday to stand against President Barack Obama's agenda.

In their first joint appearance since that campaign, Palin helped bring an estimated 5,000 to the Pima County Fairgrounds and national media attention to McCain's surprisingly competitive Senate primary.

Focusing on Washington themes rather than his competitor, former U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth, Palin exhorted the crowd to "send the maverick back to the U.S. Senate" to fight the newly enacted health-care legislation and keep America safe.

As she has seen in Alaska, she said, "only dead fish go with the flow," which she said McCain would not do.

"I was pretty excited when John McCain asked me to join him on the campaign trail this go-around here in Arizona," she added. "I couldn't wait to get some of the McCain-Palin team back together again … I think this go-around, when all of the votes are tallied, I think he's going to win this one." . . .

Cal Jillson, a political-science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said Palin should help blunt some Hayworth support among tea partiers, and adds energy to McCain's campaign, as she did two years ago.

"Clearly, John McCain needs Sarah Palin to secure the base against J.D. Hayworth," Jillson said. "He needs her to come in and attest to his conservative credentials, sad as that may be at this stage of his career."

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