CANTON, Ohio - Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin focused on tax and leadership issues Sunday as she opened two days of campaigning in this must win swing state.
Palin told a crowd of more than 3,000 at a field house that she and Republican presidential candidate John McCain are committed to cutting taxes and limiting the size of government. She said Democratic candidate Barack Obama favors bigger government and that he has lowered the income threshold for those considered middle class and deserving of a tax cut from $250,000 to $120,000.
His votes for higher taxes, she said, show "he chose the side of bigger government and taking more from you."
Palin said Obama also has proposed $1 trillion in new spending without saying where the money would come from.
"You could either do the math or just go with your gut," said Palin, standing in front of a huge U.S. flag and a blue-and-white "Country First" banner. "Either way, you can draw the same conclusion: Barack Obama, based on his record, is for bigger government and raising taxes."
Obama's tax plan calls for no tax increases on working families making less than $250,000 a year or individuals making less than $200,000 annually. He also has promised to cut taxes for the middle class.
Palin hammered the same point during a subsequent stop in Marietta, in southeast Ohio.
"The choice could not be clearer. Our country faces tough times," Palin said at Marietta College. "Now is the worst possible time to consider raising taxes on our residents and our businesses."
Palin said Arizona Sen. McCain, a former Navy pilot and prisoner of war, has the experience to handle tough situations.
"He knows how tough challenges are overcome," she said.
Canton was the first of four stops Sunday for Palin during a whirlwind swing across Ohio. She also touched down in Marietta, and was expected in Columbus and Batavia.
Obama also was campaigning in the state Sunday, with events in Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati. His running mate, Joe Biden, also planned an appearance Monday in the Akron area.
Underscoring the state's importance to McCain's chances, Palin was to campaign Monday in the traditionally Democratic Cleveland area.
Polls have shown Obama with a slight lead or running neck and neck with McCain in Ohio, which offers 20 electoral votes.