Presidential candidate John McCain speaks next to running mate Sarah Palin on Broadway Avenue in downtown Lebanon on Sept. 9, 2008, in front of thousands of people outside the Golden Lamb. Staff photo by Nick Daggy
Photo: Daggy, Nick
Photo: Daggy, Nick

The campaign trail: 'Maverick,' 'Barracuda' and the Golden Lamb

Presidential and campaign visits and rallies can be wild events. They involve long hours, big crowds, major security and, often, a funny anecdote or two.

The area experienced that earlier this month with events held by former President Bill Clinton, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

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Those brought to mind even older stories from Cox Media Group Ohio staffers about their experiences with such rallies. Here's a memory from Dayton Daily News reporter Josh Sweigart about a campaign visit by John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008:

Sen. John McCain and Sarah Palin may have qualified for in-state tuition with the amount of time they spent in Ohio during the 2008 presidential campaign. I covered several of these visits, most memorably an obligatory McCain-Palin stop to the Golden Lamb in Lebanon.

I remember the morning held a persistent drizzle of rain, and when the candidates and national media descended on the small town most of the effort was spent trying to keep wires and walkways dry. Finally, then-Alaska Gov. Palin took the stage. The speakers blared “Barracuda” by Heart, which sent the political bloggers into a frenzy because the band had asked her to stop using the song at rallies.

Palin took the stage in the center of the street at 10:25 a.m., according to my notes, and whipped up the crowd of roughly 10,000 with praise of small-town America. Women in the crowd especially adored her.

McCain took the stage to chants of “USA!, USA!” and gave a stump speech about being a “maverick.” As he left the stage, he made it a point to shake the hand of several veterans.

I noted in my story that a McCain win would’ve marked the 13th U.S. president to visit the Golden Lamb. Palin would’ve been the nation’s first female vice president.

That didn’t happen. But Palin’s nomination alone was enough to cement her place in the history books. And I was there to witness part of it.

The Dayton Daily News shares more staff stories about covering presidential and campaign visits in a special multimedia presentation on