Reuters: Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will not speak at a rally against the president of Iran next week and White House hopeful Sen. John McCain said on Thursday organizers had withdrawn her invitation under pressure from their Democratic rivals.
By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will not speak at a rally against the president of Iran next week and White House hopeful Sen. John McCain said on Thursday organizers had withdrawn her invitation under pressure from their Democratic rivals.
A group of Jewish organizations had said both Palin and Sen. Hillary Clinton would speak at the protest near the United Nations on Monday against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has said Israel should be wiped off the map.
But a senior Clinton adviser said the New York Democrat canceled her appearance after learning Palin was scheduled to address demonstrators as well.
"Gov. Palin was pleased to accept an invitation to address this rally and show her resolve on this grave national security issue, regrettably that invitation has since been withdrawn under pressure from Democratic partisans," McCain said in a statement.
"We stand shoulder to shoulder with Republicans, Democrats and independents alike to oppose Ahmadinejad's goal of a nuclear armed Iran," he said. "Sen. Obama's campaign had the opportunity to join us. Sen. Obama chose politics rather than the national interest."
Clinton decided not to attend because she did not want to take part in a "partisan political event," her aide said. She lost a hard-fought battle for her party's nomination to Sen. Barack Obama, but is now supporting the Democratic nominee for the Nov. 4 U.S. presidential election.
Among those scheduled to attend the protest are Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and the speaker of Israel's parliament Dalia Itzik, publicist Casey Sanders said on behalf of the organizers.
"In order to keep the focus on Iranian threats and to ensure that this critical message not be obscured, the organizers of the rally have decided not to have any American political personalities appear," she said.
U.N. officials have also said it was possible McCain and Palin might show up on the sidelines of the opening of the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.
This would give Palin a chance meet a few world leaders on the day President George W. Bush and one of his main foes, Iranian President Ahmadinejad, address the 192 U.N. member states.
Although Palin, 44, has brought new energy to the McCain campaign and helped narrow Obama's lead in opinion polls before the election, Democrats say the mother of five lacks the foreign policy experience a vice president should have.
Iran denies Western allegations that it is seeking atomic weapons, but has refused to suspend sensitive parts of its nuclear program that could be used to make atom bomb fuel.