Singer Hank Williams, Jr., who has become a regular warm-up act on the campaign trail for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, said that Sen. Barack Obama is "not real crazy about" the national anthem before singing the Star-Spangled Banner at a rally in Colorado Springs, CO this evening.
"You know, I’m usually at Monday Night Football tonight, but Colorado, this is a lot more important tonight," Williams said at an airport hangar rally in Colorado Springs. "Join me now in our national -- you know, that song that, uh, Mr. Obama’s not real crazy about, we’re singing it right now."
Williams then sang the national anthem, followed by his campaign specialty "McCain-Palin Tradition," adapted to the tune of Williams’ classic song "Family Tradition."
Most of the lyrics to "McCain-Palin Tradition" tout Palin’s reform credentials and toughness, while bashing Democrats and the "left wing liberal media."
But Williams has also regularly sang a lyric alluding to Obama’s connection to former 1970s radical William Ayers, who Palin once regularly mentioned on the campaign trail.
"John and Sarah tell you just what they think. And they're not gonna blink. They don't have terrorist friends to whom their careers are linked," Williams sang tonight.
After Williams performed, Palin said "that was beautiful," before thanking him for his many appearances on the campaign trail, while subtly referring to Wiliams’ pre-performance remarks.
"We want to take a minute here to thank Hank Williams Jr. Over the past couple of months he has traveled with us," Palin said after Williams performed. "Now this is the last rally that we get to do together, and he's been just a great inspiration -- never one to hide his opinion or be afraid to share it."
"Hey, he exercises those First Amendment rights," Palin added. "We love him. Yes!"
Williams first appeared on the trail for the McCain-Palin ticket at a joint rally in Virginia Beach, VA on October 13. At the debut performance, Williams sang the line linking Obama to Ayers. At his next performance in Richmond, VA later that afternoon, however, Williams changed to more innocuous lyrics distributed by the campaign, singing, "John and Sarah tell ya just what they think. And they’re not gonna blink. And they’re gonna fix this country. Cause they’re just like you n’ ole Hank."
At almost all rallies since then that Williams has performed at, from rallies in New Mexico to North Carolina, Williams has sang the lyrics linking Obama to Ayers, even though Palin no longer mentions Ayers on the campaign trail.
While Palin did not distance herself from Williams remarks this evening, Palin has said twice in recent weeks that she does not question Obama’s patriotism.
"I am sure that Senator Obama cares as much for this country as McCain does," Palin said in an interview last week with ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas. "I’m, for the record, stating, no, that, I'm not calling someone out on their love of country or level of patriotism."
When asked in a press availability aboard her campaign plane on October 17, Palin said, "I know Obama loves America. I'm sure that is why he's running for president. It's because he wants to do what he believes is in the best interest of this great nation."
Palin’s rally at the Colorado Springs airport was her second at the location. She and McCain held a rally there on September 6, two days after the conclusion of the Republican National Convention. Palin has made five total trips to Colorado since the convention, in hopes of shoring up a state won by Republicans in 2004, but which Democrats are leading in current polls.