bill and sandra goode were so worried that john mccain might pick a running mate who favored abortion rights that bill called mccain's presidential campaign headquarters to warn against it. they prayed. and when the republican senator picked alaska gov. sarah palin, whom they had barely heard of but knew to be staunchly antiabortion, sandra goode said, "we knew our prayers had been answered."

the goodes would have voted for mccain no matter what, but palin lifted them to a new level of motivation. they called the volunteer mccain representative in their town of surry, va., offering any help they could.

"she's a real catalyst," said bill goode, 63, an electrician. "sarah is the epitome of pro-life. you can tell how effective she is by the reaction she got. if she was someone who wasn't viewed as a threat to the abortionists, there wouldn't have been a response equivalent to this."

palin's debut has invigorated the republican base here in the hampton roads region of virginia, a battleground area in a top swing state, and one where g o p turnout depends heavily on evangelical christians such as the goodes, along with the many military families clustered around the norfolk and portsmouth bases.

the reaction has been remarkably instantaneous, with socially conservative voters who had barely heard of palin electrified by the few facts they quickly learned: her longtime membership in the assemblies of god, the largest pentecostal denomination; her large family; her opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest; her decision to carry to term her fifth child after learning he has down syndrome; and her belief in teaching creationism alongside evolution in public schools.

from this morning's washington post. read more-

étant donnés by marcel duchamp