Wilmington (Ohio US), Oct.11 : -- In her initial days as a vice presidential candidate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin sought to reach beyond the Republican base to independents and moderate Democrats, but since last week's vice presidential debate, she has taken on the role of a more traditional running mate, serving as a fierce critic of Obama and playing to her party's core supporters.
According to the Washington Post, most of Palin's interviews are now with conservative outlets and her campaign appearances in GOP strongholds, where crowds chant her name as she rips into Obama at one stop after another.
Tracey Schmitt, a Palin spokeswoman, said that the governor has maintained her "broad appeal" and that she remains a powerful force with independents.
"The enthusiasm isn't just from the party faithful, but from people who don't traditionally support Republicans and are inspired by a working mom who has a unique and important real-world perspective," she said.
Palin will target fellow hockey moms when she drops the ceremonial first puck at the Philadelphia Flyers game on Saturday night.
But Democratic strategists say that Palin's increased attacks will limit her appeal to conservatives. They also contend that she was largely forced into her new role by uneven performances during a series of television interviews that left voters doubting her qualifications.
The Obama campaign has relied on its vice presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr. to counter Palin, and last week he called her focus on connections between Vietnam War-era radical William Ayers and Obama "completely wrong" for a vice presidential candidate to discuss.
The McCain campaign has sought to link Obama to Ayers, who was involved in domestic bombings as part of the Weather Underground group when Obama was a child. Ayers has since become a professor and is involved with education issues in Chicago.
Palin's recent campaign stops have been in Republican bastions, such as Pensacola, Florida, where conservative-heavy crowds cheered loudly as she cast Obama as weak on defense. She promises to uphold a "culture of life," a phrase that McCain rarely invokes in referring to his opposition to abortion rights.
Palin's schedule is also packed with fundraisers in front of supporters. Instead of holding any public events Friday, she spent the day at fundraisers in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. She will attend several fundraising events next week as well.
The governor draws crowds packed with women who bring their daughters. Much of the enthusiasm is directed at her, rather than McCain, with signs that say things such as "Sarah Is Our Future" and "Read My Lipstick."
Jennifer M. Palmieri, communications director at the liberal Center for American Progress, said Palin "has settled into the role she has always been best suited to play: hero of the conservative base."