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Palin supports McCain in tough senate fight

Sarah Palin lent her star power to former running mate John McCain in his tough Senate re-election campaign, telling a rally last night that McCain pegged President Barack Obama right when he said the Democrat would swell the size of government.

McCain is facing the hardest election fight of his Senate career as he fends off a Republican primary challenge from the right. JD Hayworth, former congressman and conservative talk radio host, says McCain is too moderate for Arizona Republicans.

"Everyone here supporting John McCain, we are all part of that tea party movement," Palin told the rally. As the former Alaska governor and McCain took to the stage, the crowd chanted, "Sarah, Sarah," not the name of the man who just a year and a half ago topped his party's ticket.

Palin said McCain warned the country that Obama's policies would increase the size of government and the debt, and that the signing this week of a health overhaul law proves McCain right.

However, she was criticised this week when she released a list of 20 US House seats she said conservatives should try to win in the November elections. The list, posted on her Facebook page, featured a US map with circles and crosshairs over the 20 districts. She also sent a tweet saying, "Don't Retreat, Instead -- RELOAD!"

Critics said it was inappropriate to use gun imagery, especially as some Democrats who supported the health care overhaul reported receiving threats of violence.