Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, stumping for Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel in his bid to unseat Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, urged a crowd at a rally to ignore "ridiculous non-stories" and concentrate on helping McDaniel win.
"The media will not succeed in getting you to pay attention to things on the periphery that don't amount to a hill of beans, " Palin said at the Friday rally in McDaniels' hometown in Ellisville, Miss., reports The Clarion Ledger
Palin was referring to a scandal in which four McDaniel supporters, including a state and local tea party leader, were charged with taking photos
of Cochran's wife, who is bedridden in a nursing home, to push their claims through a conservative blogger that Cochran was involved in an affair with another woman.
McDaniel's supporters need to give him and his family "a hedge of protection provided by a prayer shield," Palin said at the rally. "The eyes of America are on you and what will happen on June 3."
McDaniel has said he wasn't involved in any attempt to take pictures of Cochran's wife, who suffers from dementia.
McDaniel, after Palin's speech, stuck by his campaign points: that Cochran has been in office too long, that he's too moderate, and change is needed.
In addition to Palin's visit Friday, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania plans a rally for McDaniel on Saturday, leading Cochran's campaign to counter
that their candidate has the support of Mississippi's leaders, not out-of-state politicians, reports The Hill.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant campaigned with Cochran on Saturday, while Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves was out for his campaign on Thursday.
Palin should help fire up McDaniel's tea party supporters, professor Marty Wiseman told The Hill.
"She's got red meat for the Obama haters," Wiseman said. "He [McDaniel] has appeared to put the nursing home scandal behind him, and I think she'll help with that. I wouldn't have given him a chance two or three weeks ago, but he appears to have changed the momentum back in his direction."
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