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Trying for a boost, Palin brings The View's Hasselbeck to Florida

TAMPA -- Swaths of hot and pale pink mingled with the usual red, white and blue as hundreds of Sarah Palin supporters -- some not even old enough to vote -- donned their favorite campaign t-shirts to cheer for the Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate.

Palin is scheduled to appear at the Tampa Convention Center at about noon Sunday as part of the campaign's ''Road to Victory'' rally, before traveling to Orlando for a second rally Sunday afternoon.

Dolly Patron's 'Travelin' Thru'' and Shania Twain's ''She's Not Just a Pretty Face'' flowed through the convention center loudspeakers, as thousands of supporter waved signs and showed off t-shirts reading ''Palin Power,'' ''Got Sarah?'' and ``Read My Lipstick: McCain/Palin.''

''She represents the kind of woman that I am, not ultra feminist, but feminine,'' said Jill Bowling, of Riverview. ``I feel like I can be feminine and strong at the same time.''

Bowling, 47, brought her 20-year-old daughter Amber to the event, arriving in matching pale pink ''McCain/Palin shirts,'' ''but I've had the glasses for five years,'' she said of her purple wire rims, with the rectangular lenses made famous by Palin.

Friends Gail Emmott, 56, and Liz Fitzgerald, 51, came from Sarasota to see Palin.

''I just feel that she's working for us,'' said Emmott, wearing a pink ''Palin Power'' t-shirt. ``I really believe she's a great leader and she speaks for the common person--She has taken on the big guys in her own state, she's taken on corruption, and she's won.''

And voting age requirements didn't stop dozens of young girls and teenagers from coming with their parents to cheer for Palin.

Mike Kenney, of Tampa, brought his daughters Madison, 15, and Alex, 14, to see the first female vice presidential candidate in the girls' lifetime.

''I brought these guys here because I wanted them to see a woman who has succeeded in a traditionally male-dominated field,'' said Kenney, 54, who explained to his daughters that Palin was the first female vice presidential candidate of a major party since Geraldine Ferraro ran with Democrat Walter Mondale in 1984 -- before either girl was born.

Alex, a freshman at the Academy of the Holy Names with Madison, said she was excited when sister told her they'd be seeing Palin.

''I like that she doesn't change her positions,'' Alex said of Palin. ``She's a strong woman.''

Palin campaign's Sunday in the hard-fought Tampa and Orlando areas.

Polls show Democratic nominee Barack Obama running ahead of McCain in the state that will make or break his presidential bid.

Florida voters should brace themselves for a frenetic homestretch. Hardly a day or two goes by without a visit from the Democratic or Republican tickets, and in their absence, surrogates blanket the state.

In what will be one of the most anticipated events of the campaign, Obama is expected to appear for the first time with former President Bill Clinton in Orlando on Wednesday. Obama's event with Hillary Clinton in Orlando last week drew an estimated 50,000 people.

On Sunday, Palin will be joined by Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the conservative voice on ABC's women-centered talk show, The View. Among female voters, McCain is trailing by 11 percentage points, according to a poll conducted last week for The Miami Herald, St. Petersburg Times and Bay News 9.

''Gov. Palin asked me to be with her this Sunday to introduce her at the rallies in Florida. I am more than honored to be there,'' Hasselbeck said Thursday on the show. ``I'll have some stories, I'm sure, on Monday.''

Referring to Palin's $150,000 makeover by the Republican party, cohost Joy Behar quipped, ``I want to see her wardrobe.''

The McCain campaign has said the clothes will be donated to charity after the election.

This will be Palin's third trip to Florida since she was catapulted onto the national stage seven weeks ago. A bigger draw than the nominee, Palin attracts tens of thousands of people to her events. She's slated to appear at the Tampa Convention Center and the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee.

McCain's wife, Cindy, will also be in Florida on Sunday, visiting a campaign office and knocking on doors in West Palm Beach.

Next up: Democratic vice presidential contender Joe Biden, who will arrive Monday for a three-day tour to promote early voting in New Port Richey, Ocala, Melbourne and West Palm Beach.

Anticipating long lines on Election Day, the Democratic ticket is trying to bank as many votes as possible during the early voting period. Republicans are dominating voter requests for mail-in absentee ballots.

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