Dallas — Long lines and cold weather greeted Sarah Palin as she rolled into Plano, Texas, this morning to sign copies of her new book, Going Rogue, for her ardent admirers. A few media vans, traffic barricades and a very visible police presence marked the Palin book signing event at Legacy Books. Despite the chilly weather, spirits among the Sarah Palin supporters I talked with at the Dallas area event this morning remained high.
Plano was an obvious stop on Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue Book Tour because it is a Republican stronghold. According to USA Today, the majority of voters in this ritzy suburb north of Dallas voted for the conservative pairing of John McCain and Sarah Palin in the 2008 presidential election; the majority of voters in the city of Dallas itself voted for Barack Obama.
Outside the bookstore, spirits were high, even though the line stretched outside still numbered over a hundred more than an hour past Sarah Palin’s 11 am arrival time. Although the temperature was in the mid-30s and cold for Dallas, many of her supporters had arrived before dawn, children in tow. Those who followed the Legacy Books suggested 6 am arrival time were dismayed to discover that the line outside the bookstore was already several hundred people long.
Tickets for the Sarah Palin appearance sold out two days after they went on sale in early November. Tickets cost the same as the book, and fans exchanged their tickets for a copy of Ms. Palin’s book, Going Rogue, at the book signing. Sarah Palin fans who had not purchased a ticket in advance were denied entrance to the store.
This was unfortunate news for Palin supporters who had driven in from Denison. Disappointed, they were forced to leave the event empty handed, along with other conservative supporters who had hoped they would be able to buy a ticket- or at least their own copy of Going Rogue- at the event.
There was more unwelcome news for Sarah Palin fans like those who had traveled to Plano from Oklahoma in the hope of getting a glimpse of the Republican superstar. Ms. Palin entered Legacy Books from the back entrance, and her famous Going Rogue Book Tour Bus was parked out of sight of the the barricaded waiting area outside of the bookstore.
According to the Legacy Books website and notices printed on the tickets themselves, Ms. Palin would only agree to sign books actually purchased at the store on the day of the event. Undeterred, some fans had brought along previously purchased copies of Going Rogue and other Sarah Palin memorabilia in hopes of getting them signed by the ex-Governor of Alaska herself.
Despite Sarah Palin’s recently professed desire to see President Obama’s birth certificate on the Rusty Humphries show, there were less than a handful of visibly obvious “Birthers” present, and many of those questioned were unaware that Ms. Palin was attempting to revive the issue.
Gary Chiero of Columbus, Ohio, remained upbeat. The self described “Palin Man” has been following Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue book tour with all the ardency of a Grateful Dead fan, attending Palin book signing events in Ohio, Virginia and yesterday’s event in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Although Ms. Palin flew to Dallas in her $4,000 an hour luxury jet, the father of eight made the five and a half hour drive in his own vehicle.
Although the ticketless “Palin Man” was denied entrance to the event, Mr. Chiero remained cheerful. Dressed head to toe in his distinctive Palin-wear, Gary Chiero arrived at the bookstore early, prowling around the outskirts of the barricades looking to swell the ranks of his Palin Posse alongside other Sarah Palin fans waving hand lettered signs proclaiming welcome and support, slick Republican operatives seeking support for local conservative politicians and teabaggers hoping to ensure a better turnout for their next North Texas Tea Party.
“I’m the Palin Man,” Mr. Chiero said. “I’ll follow Sarah Palin wherever she goes,” adding that he hoped his journey would not end until Sarah Palin reaches the White House.
Sarah Palin’s next stop on her Going Rogue book tour is Fort Hood, Texas. According to the Dallas Morning News, Ms. Palin will donate proceeds from the stop to the victims of the recent shooting at the army base. Ms. Palin’s fans dismissed charges that her visit to Fort Hood was opportunistic. “She’s a good Amercian,” said Mr. Chiero, “with conservative values. Like me.”
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