TUCSON, Ariz. — Sarah Palin lent her star power among fellow conservatives to former running mate John McCain in his Senate re-election campaign, telling a rally Friday that McCain pegged President Obama right when he said the Democrat would swell the size of government.

McCain is facing the hardest election fight of his Senate career as he fends off a primary challenge from the right. J.D. Hayworth, former congressman and conservative talk-radio host, says McCain is too moderate for Arizona Republicans. Hayworth has tried to build support among conservative activists who identify with the Tea Party movement.

Palin, among the most popular figures with those activists, appeared with McCain for the first time since the pair lost the 2008 presidential election.

“Everyone here supporting John McCain, we are all part of that Tea Party movement,” Palin told the rally.

As the former Alaska governor took the stage with McCain, some in the crowd of 4,000 chanted, “Sarah, Sarah.”

Palin said McCain warned the country that Obama’s policies would increase the size of government and the debt, and that the signing this week of a health care overhaul law proves McCain right.

McCain called for a repeal of the law, which the GOP is challenging in court.

“There’s something going on out there, my friends,” McCain said. “It’s a revolution. It’s a peaceful revolution, but we’re going to take on this ObamaCare.”

Palin took heat this week when she released a list of 20 U.S. House seats she said conservatives should try to win in the November elections. The list, posted on her Facebook page, featured a U.S. map with circles and cross hairs over the 20 districts. She also sent a tweet saying, “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!”

Critics said it was inappropriate to use gun imagery, especially as some Democrats who supported the health care overhaul reported receiving threats of violence.