Palin pushing Fla undecideds toward Obama?
ST. PETERSBURG — Five weeks ago, the St. Petersburg Times convened a group of Tampa Bay voters who were undecided about the presidential election. Their strong distrust of Barack Obama suggested it was a group ripe for John McCain to win over.
Not anymore. The group has swung dramatically, if unenthusiastically, toward Democrat Obama. Most of them this week cited the same reason: Sarah Palin.
"The one thing that frightens me more than anything else are the ideologues. We've seen too many," said 80-year-old Air Force veteran Donn Spegal, a lifelong Republican from St. Petersburg, who sees McCain's new running mate as the kind of "wedge issue" social conservative that has made him disenchanted with his party.
"I'm truly offended by Palin,'' said 37-year-old Republican Philinia Lehr of Largo, a full-time mother with a nursing degree who voted for George Bush in 2004. Like Palin, she has five children and she doesn't buy that the Alaska governor can adequately balance her family and the vice presidency.
"You're somebody's mom and what are you going to do, say, 'Excuse me, country, hold on?' ... She's preaching that she's this mom of the year and taking that poor little baby all over everywhere. And, you know, what she's doing to her 17-year-old daughter is just appalling.'' Lehr said she's bothered by the way Palin's pregnant daughter has been brought into the national spotlight.