Republican Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is meeting with the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. as part Virginia tour designed to upend Democrat Barack Obama's lead over Republican John McCain in a state that hasn't backed a Democratic White House hopeful since 1964.
Palin greeted ambassador Sallai Meridor and apologized for not being able to meet with him sooner. She told the ambassador: "We look forward to ... working with your Jewish agency."
From her first event in historic Leesburg through Fredericksburg and Salem in the conservative southwestern part of the state, Palin is trying to make McCain's closing argument that electing Obama would give Democrats control of the White House and Congress when checks and balances are most needed.
It's a tough sell for Republicans eight days out from the Nov. 4 election. Recent polls show Obama ahead in Virginia, home to the Confederate capital during the Civil War, and Democrats are on track to add to their congressional majorities.
Distractions, from Palin's high-priced wardrobe to the increasing difficulty Republicans face in trying to overcome Obama's lead in polls and money, dogged McCain and Palin through their tour of battleground states in the last week of the campaign.
Palin tried to dismissed days of criticism about her expensive outfits from upscale stores by saying that she and her family live frugally. She even wore jeans to an event Sunday night in Asheville, North Carolina.
"This whole thing with the wardrobe, I try to just ignore it because it's so ridiculous," Palin told a Florida crowd earlier in the day.
"Those clothes, they are not my property, just like the lighting and the staging and everything else the RNC purchased," she said. "I'm not taking them with me. I'm back to wearing my old clothes from my favorite consignment shop in Anchorage, Alaska."
Republicans acknowledged the uphill fight for McCain and Palin.
"Unfortunately, I think John McCain might be added to that long list of Arizonans who ran for president but were never elected," McCain's fellow senator from the state, Jon Kyl, told the Arizona Daily Star editorial board in an interview published Sunday.