Skip to comments.(Vanity) Sarah Palin at the Mall of America
Posted on 12/07/2009 1:48:33 PM PST by grey_whiskers
This is an after-action report about Sarah Palin's book signing at the Mall of America.
I went to bed last night at 9:00 PM in order to get up extra early for the signing, setting the alarm for 5:00 AM. But I couldn't sleep (excited over the signing, grief over the Vikings loss) and Freeped, falling asleep around 1:00 AM.
I awoke at 6:20 to the sound of my kids getting ready for school. RED ALERT!!!
Throwing on the clothes I had set out the night before, and grabbing a banana and a book to read in line (Federalist Papers), I dashed out to the car.
Fortunately, there was little traffic. I made it to the Mall of America and missed the turn for Highway 77 / Cedar, so I continued to 24th street and parked in the East Ramp.
When I got in, I saw a crowd already at the East Side Rotunda -- but the elevators weren't working, and the escalators were turned off. Oh, well, I though, it was not even 7:00 AM, they wouldn't have been working anyway.
When I got to the bottom, I saw they had yellow "Do not cross" tape; I stepped over and saw the line and a security guard, with other people coming from the parking garage behind me. I asked where the line started, and the security guard barked, "It starts OUTSIDE. Wait for this group to pass you and then follow them."
Anyone who tries to say that "hundreds" of people showed up is clearly mathematically challenged. I had arrived for a scheduled 12:00 noon signing at maybe ten minutes before seven, and there was already a full rope line at the rotunda, plus a line *from* the rotunda a constant two or three abreast, going up the East side of the Mall, all way past the Sears Concourse, and halfway across the North side, ending at Bath and Body Works.
The group I landed with was interesting. There were several women, including an elderly grandmother, who came from Red Wing (50 miles Southeast of the Mall of America); and a man who had driven all night from Chicago, who lived north of North Branch (mabye 50 miles North of the Mall of America). On the other hand there was the maintenance worker at Cub Foods who lived four miles away, and an older man who (in a touching spirit of hope) had told his wife that he would only be at the Mall until 7:30 ("it's only six blocks away"). I saw a number of college-age girls, and one supercilious looking guy wearing a check shirt, light jacket, and an "Obama-Biden" button. So it looked like Sarah was drawing from across all age and gender combinations.
Oh, and possibly across the ideological spectrum, too -- there was one young man with a check shirt, light jacket, and supercilious smirk who was wearing an "Obama-Biden" button on his lapel.
The conversation was subdued but happy -- I heard no griping about the length of the line. Conversation tended from discussions of radio stations (Christian and Talk Radio predominated), to the depredations of the mainstream press, and the latest occurrences on Fox News, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck. A couple people said that they preferred Minneapolis' own Jason Lewis (who has recently gone national). And a rumor started that KTLK's own Chris Baker (morning drive on the FM conservative talk station) had a team interviewing people at the mall and broadcasting their comments on the air. And most of the people I had the chance to meeet, hadn't yet read her book, or were reading it for the first time while standing in line.
The line started moving after about fifteen minutes -- moving at the rate of about one store front every five minutes or so. People left the line to go to the restroom or get coffee -- the Barnes & Noble had an in-house Starbucks, there was another Starbucks by th Rotunda, and the line went right past a Cinnabon. But not everyone who left came back -- the man from Chicago who had been up all night excused himself to go to Starbucks and never returned; the man with the promise to his wife also left without a trace. At about oh, nine-thirty or so, we approached the Barnes & Noble; I handed over my Federalist Papers and excused myself -- we were beginning to worry about being in time to get wristbands & books outside, so I wanted to buy copies in the store. I also got a coffee and visited the restroom.
I needn't have worried. I met up with my group right at the table where wristbands were being given out, they had just finished and were graciously waiting for me. Our group, having bought copies of Going Rogue and received our tags, was escorted into the Nickelodeon amusement park and put in a line which normally holds people in line for the roller coaster. It was about 10:00 AM.
We had been standing there awhile when there was a stir and bustle, with lots of people ahead of us bunching up in the walkway and taking pictures. It turned out it was Trig Palin being held by a woman, with everyone crowding around. He was wearing a red outfit with silly round plastic glasses. And that's not all -- Sarah Palin's mother, father, and aunt were there, signing books as well (great way to keep the crowd happy while waiting, by the way). I felt sorry for the young woman who was coordinating this, as she kept trying to usher the family to another part of the amusement park to rest and/or meet and greet other people in line, and the line of people kept straggling up for autographs, over her feeble protests that "we can't sign any more we have to move on."
When I returned to my knot of fellow attendees, and mentioned the family, several of the women asked if Todd was there too. I said, "I think he'd be with Sarah" and they mentioned something about not wanting Todd's autograph, but to get to meet Todd. (I think the proper translation is *THUD*.)
Our group left the line to go upstairs to the food court: and on the way back we stopped to look down at the rotunda, at about 11:30. Sarah was *already* in place, half an hour early, signing away! Quick, back to the line!
After about an hour to an hour-and-a-half more, our section of line *finally* began to move. The process was very well organized: they split the line up into two separate lines, where bags and purses were examined, light patdowns executed, and people were wanded. One woman with us, who had retrieved Diet Cokes from her car, passed them out to everyone near her so they wouldn't be confiscatd later. Then up through the rope line towards the dais where Todd and Sarah were seated.
The rope line itself kept going in fits and starts, for two reasons: one, people kept on stopping in the center to take cell-phone and digital cameras of the signings from 20 and 30 feet away, and two, once you were about to go to the front, you had to hand over all purses, cell-phones, cameras, and the like (you were given a numbered sheet of paper to claim it later) for security purposes.
(But let nobody think this means that the Palins were cold or aloof: one person -- I wasn't close enough to see if it was a man or a woman-- was in a wheelchair at the side of the stage, and Sarah and Todd *stopped* the assembly line to go over to greet and sign their book and greet them in person. To the thunderous applause of all of us near the stage, by the way. Would Joe Biden have settled for a "Stand up, Chuck" moment instead?)
When you reached the stage, they checked your books, tucked the flap into the title page, and sent you up. I had signatures from the family, and was instructed to tell the people who passed the books to Sarah that they had signatures. Alas! Alas! To no avail. Once the books were signed (and a quick "What is your name, thanks for coming" from Sarah and a handshake from Todd), my books were swept into a stack with about a dozen others, despite my protestations. I received two signed copies of the book with Sarah's signature alone (Todd only signed one or two books the entire time I was in line); and so someone else has received a copy of a book with Sarah's parents and her aunt's signatures in it as well.
I am aware of a curious combined sense of letdown, and of sympathy for the Palins after this. They themselves appeared to be holding up well, but all of the staff and support personnel -- the ones who keep things flowing smoothly, with no embarrassing glitches -- looked positively fried. But you could see on Sarah's face that though she liked meeting people, she disliked the "assembly line" aspect of it, and wanted to do more to connect. But, just as I sensed in her campaign visit to Blaine, MN, last year during the Presidential Campaign, the exigencies of satisfying the masses won out. Nonetheless, one got the impression that during this book tour, she was largely free of *political* handlers, always slapper her down to stay "on message". Read the book for more details on this, by the way, especially the roles played by Nicole Wallace and Steve Schmidt.
1) Like an ACORN voter, arrive early and often.
2) Conservatives, FReepers, "Dan's Bake Sale" types, and bicylists are among the nicest, friendliest people you'll meet. Rely on them, trust them.
3) Poor Sarah: the problems of a sound-byte news, and the size of crowds in-person, disallow any kind of intense, involved, or personal discussion of the issues. This is not a sign of shallowness or insincerity, but of the demands of the medium. If you want more depth, see her Facebook postings or read her book.
4) There are many more conservatives -- and more determined, more vocal, and more *normal* -- than you'll EVER hear or see about on the LSM. The one exception was that there was a crew from Minneapolis 1280 AM WWTC "The Patriot": I caught the eye of one of them and said, "1280 AM The Patriot, right?" (Nod.) "Oh, you're the good guys." (thankful enthusiastic grin).
Thanks SO much for the info. I hope she visits LA soon. I am halfway through the book and its just AWESOME. It would be such an honor to meet her in person
That’s encouraging because that is in a state that not only elected a pro-Rassler for a governor, but also elected a bad commedian for a Senator.
Don’t get me wrong....I lived in Minnesota for about 8 years, and I know a lot of great people from there, but there are also a lot of wacked out libs that wander the tundra too.
Great article—thanks for writing it!
Excellent piece, Thanks!
Thanks for the post!
One of Anoreth's favorites. Excellent report.
"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil" - Sarah Palin, August 8, 2009SARAH'S FAREWELL SPEECH AS GOVERNOR - GREAT READ
"We face challenging times with some hell-bent on tearing down our nation by perpetuating pessimism and apologizing for America. They suggest that our best days were yesterdays. But how can this pessimism exist? Proof of our greatness and pride is all around us today. We produce proud and great volunteers who sacrifice everything for their country.
"We can resist enslavement to big central government that crushes hope and opportunity. We must be wary of government largesse. It doesnt come free and often accepting it takes away everything that is free. Melting into Washingtons powerful and caretaking arms will only lead to suck away the incentive to work hard and chart our own course. This will only contribute to an unstable economy and dizzying national debt, and it will make us less free.
"We dont have to feel that we must beg an allowance from Washington except to beg the allowance to be self-determined.
"See, in order to be self-sufficient (we) must be allowed to develop, to drill and build and climb to fulfill our promise! We can not start believing that government is the answer. It cant make you happy or healthy or wealthy or wise. What can? It is the wisdom of the people and our families and our small businesses and industrious individuals. And it is Gods grace helping those who help themselves." - Sarah Palin, July 26, 2009
Sarah still has the left, the DNC, the MSM and the RINOs all in a frenzy wondering what her next move will be and how it will be perceived...they almost literally froth at the mouth in their efforts to discredit her.
While they do this, and further discredit only themselves in the effort, Sarah is going to promote conservatie principles all over this country in the midst of the Obama administration disaster and support conservative candidates in 2010 and help them win, amassing political capital. She will then take all that capital and make an awesome, stunning, and successful run for the Presidency in 2012.
Great report. BTW, I am a season-long grieving Bears fan, and I took a certain amount of delight in the Vikings loss ;>)
As a SC CCW permit holder, if I showed up with my usual (ahem) accessory, and there was no clear posting that weapons are not allowed (as required by state law), would I have been kicked out? Would that be legal or an infringement of my 2nd amendment rights?
What would Freepers say if - as a law-abiding carrying citizen - I was screened and kicked out of an Al Gore signing under similar circumstances?
Just curious. All hypothetical. I’m just surprised there was patting, wanding, and bag confiscation.
Ne zot, she’s a stunning woman. There never seems to be a bad picture.
I want an America Loving President
I missed her by a week at MOA.
Bet the MSM barely covers it thanks to WCCO and the Red Star.
As a CCW permit holder, you probably wouldn't want to know.
Nothing personal, but as a permit holder, common sense rules the day.
Unfortunately, there are probably a lot of whackos out there who might like to assassinate her. So I doubt whether they can let anyone near her with a weapon.
She is certainly a gun-rights person, and took that position as governor. But although she’s not POTUS, she’d might as well be as far as security is concerned.
Awesome report grey_whiskers...thanks a bunch.
I got to shake hands and have a brief conversation with Sarah at her book signing in Sioux Falls last night. She was very sweet.
She drew a large crowd here with people lining up the day before and staying outside all night in the frigid South Dakota 10 degree weather.
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