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StarBulletin.com

Lingle mainland-bound to help McCain-Palin


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POSTED: Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gov. Linda Lingle is hitting the road this week on a 12-day trip that includes a six-state tour stumping for the Republican presidential ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin.

The campaign swing is scheduled to start next week and go through Michigan, Ohio, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Missouri, although Lingle said her itinerary could change at a moment's notice.

"The states were chosen by the McCain-Palin campaign," Lingle said at a news conference in her office. "All of a sudden, as the polls move, the state could change, as well. They are the ones making the decisions on where they think it's best for me to go."

Her campaign tour ends Oct. 2 in St. Louis, where Lingle will be with Palin for the vice presidential debate at Washington University and serve as one of the campaign's primary surrogates.

Lingle is scheduled to return to Hawaii on Oct. 3.

The first part of her trip begins Friday in New York, where she has been invited to attend a series of financial meetings with top business leaders being convened by millionaire publisher Steve Forbes.

Lingle said she agreed to attend the meetings several months ago.

Monday she is scheduled to meet with officials from the Citigroup financial services company.

"These are the people who underwrite our bonds," Lingle said. "We'll be reviewing on Monday how they see the current (economic) situation and perhaps by Monday we'll know what the federal government has decided to do."

Lingle also said her trip will not involve any government resources.

She said she is using vacation days for the entire trip and using her personal funds for the New York portion. The McCain-Palin campaign is picking up the tab for the campaign stops, she said.

The trip comes at a tenuous financial time locally, with the state facing a $900 million budget deficit and the governor expected to come up with her biennium budget in the next few months.

"I think it's a perfect time to be traveling and for a perfect purpose," Lingle said.

"Being able to meet people one on one is important," she said of her trip to New York.

Campaigning on the mainland also benefits Hawaii, she said, "because of the heightened interest people will have in Hawaii.

"Sen. McCain, overall, is just a much better person to lead the country, so I'm very comfortable being out speaking on his behalf," she added. "I think his record is clear and superior to Obama's record. ... If you weigh the candidates side by side, clearly Sen. McCain is better for our state."