LEBANON, Ohio — Thousands are jammed onto Broadway Street in front of the Golden Lamb Hotel, where John McCain and Sarah Palin are scheduled to speak at 11 a.m.
The Golden Lamb is owned by the family of White House budget director (and former Ohio Rep.) Rob Portman. This is staunch GOP territory — surrounding Warren County voted 72% for President Bush in 2004.
The rain that fell all morning has temporarily stopped, and the huge crowd — hundreds are still waiting in line to get through the metal detectors — was warmed up by several local dignitaries, including Anthony Munoz, a Hall of Fame lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals. Munoz, a University of Southern California alumnus, drew boos from the crowd when he said he’d be cheering for USC on Saturday when the Trojans take on Ohio State. “Hey, I’m with you 364 days of the year,” he told the crowd.
Among the T-shirts spotted in the crowd: “Drill ‘Em, Sarah!” The choice of Palin is extremely popular here and right now the P.A. system is thumping out Heart’s “Barracuda.”