GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will spend much of the next few weeks campaigning with Sen. John McCain, a move that not only capitalizes on the Republican enthusiasm for the vice presidential nominee but also limits her exposure to the news media.
Palin, the little-known, first-term governor thrust into the national spotlight, left Washington for Alaska on Wednesday afternoon, her first trip home since being named to the ticket. She and her husband, Todd, boarded the plane after McCain and his wife, Cindy, escorted them to the aircraft.
The two are expected to begin appearing together again as early as next week, said a McCain adviser aboard Palin's flight.
McCain and Palin traveling together limits her exposure to reporters and gives McCain's top aides more control of her. Palin has not done interviews since the first and only one she gave to People magazine on the day McCain introduced her as his vice presidential choice.
Palin's plane made a brief refueling stop in Montana to finish the trip to Fairbanks. She is scheduled to make at least two public appearances in Alaska, including a homecoming rally set for Wednesday evening in Fairbanks.
She also is scheduled for an interview with ABC News, but no other media interviews are scheduled, campaign officials said. The campaign repeatedly has denied other interview requests.
This is Palin's first venture away from McCain and his advisers, although several of the campaign's staff accompanied her to Alaska. She did not interact with reporters during the flight.
Palin's first solo campaign trip drew a crowd of reporters so large that campaign officials had to force them to sacrifice 400 pounds of equipment and luggage before the plane could leave Dulles International Airport outside Washington.
Meanwhile, in Palin's hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, a small group of supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama marched up and down a highway, chanting slogans and holding signs that said "8 years is Enough" and "Obama! Believe." Palin was mayor of the town of about 7,000 residents from 1996-2002. Some drivers honked and waved in support of Obama; others stopped and yelled "Sarah!"
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