Phyllis Schlafly with supporters at St. Paul pro-life event today (WND photo)
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The McCain campaign canceled at the last minute a long-scheduled appearance by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to accept a pro-life award from conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly.
Speaking to WND after the gathering today of some 800 Republicans near the site of the party’s national convention, Schlafly said she was informed about 10 p.m. last night that the newly named vice-presidential nominee would not attend.
“I don’t think it was very smart,” said Schlafly, known for her successful battle against the Equal Rights Amendment. “You can see these people are very supportive of her, and it would have been very good for her to come.”
Schlafly, who lined up Palin a couple of months ago, said the campaign told her only that McCain’s running mate needed to rest and get ready for her convention speech tomorrow night.
Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella, former deputy communications director for Rudy Giuliani, explained to ABC News prior to Schlafly’s gathering that events were set up in advance for Palin that did not take into account her selection as a vice-presidential nominee.
“It is not clear to me who made the decision,” Schlafly told WND.
Schlafly said she heard the campaign put on Palin’s staff a “pro-abortion” press secretary, Comella. But Schlafly expressed doubt someone in that position could have had the authority to make a decision like that.
The Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul, where today’s event was held, was scoped out by the Secret Service yesterday afternoon in preparation for Palin’s appearance, Schlafly said.
Phyllis Schlafly listens to a speaker at her St. Paul pro-life event today (WND photo)
Debbie Joslin, Alaska’s Republican national committeewoman, accepted the Republican National Coalition for Life’s 2008 Life of the Party award on behalf of Palin.
Radio talk show host and political commentator Laura Ingraham spoke in place of Palin. Brief remarks came from Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and evangelical political activist Gary Bauer.
Breath of fresh air
Schlafly told WND McCain’s choice of Palin was the best he could possibly have made.
“Sarah Palin has reinvigorated the entire Republican Party,” she said. “And it’s across the board. It’s not just pro-lifers. She’s a breath of fresh air. She’s right on every issue.”
Schlafly addressed criticism that Palin is hypocritical, because her demanding job as a political leader, while mothering five children, conflicts with the traditional values she espouses.
“We do stand up for the role of the full-time homemaker,” Schlafly replied. “On the other hand, a lot of women work hard. I think people who don’t have any children, or have one or two, don’t understand what life is like with more children.”
Members of the radical group Code Pink protested outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul today and briefly interrupted Phyllis Schlafly’s Life of the Party pro-life gathering (WND photo)
Schlafly pointed out she had six children of her own when she ran for Congress, adding she worked her way through college with a 48-hour-a-week manual-labor job.
Palin, she noted, comes from a blue-collar town.
“She’s a hard worker, and I think she’s got it all together.”
Schlafly dismissed the notion that McCain chose Palin because she’s a woman.
“She doesn’t have any of those attributes of feminists, who think you should pick someone because she’s a woman,” Schlafly said. “That’s why Hillary (Clinton) is such a turnoff to people.”
Feminists, Schlafly said, portray women as victims who live in “an oppressive patriarchal society.”
“You can see the women we’ve got here don’t buy that,” Schlafly said. “Sarah Palin will appeal to women and men. She’s likable, just like Hillary isn’t.”