FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Thousands of people braved a cold, drizzly Monday for a chance to meet former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who was signing copies of her memoir at a Fort Bragg store.
Some people camped out overnight, and the line snaked around the North Post-Exchange by the time Palin arrived at 11:15 a.m. The crowd chanted Palin’s name when her “Going Rogue” tour bus pulled up outside the PX.
“We love Sarah because she’s a woman and she’s smart,” Sandra Harvath said.
“She loves this country. I voted for her last time, and I’d vote for her (next) time if she ran again,” Barbara Lewis said.
“She’s a real down-to-earth woman – she’s a classy woman when she needs to be – and she hunts moose,” Henrietta Forsyth said.
Tony McGhee of Wilmington said he had waited outside the PX since about 10 p.m. Sunday.
“Look at it this way: You only have a limited amount of time to get the book signed. If you’re in the front of the line, you’re guaranteed to get the book signed,” McGhee said.
Palin wasn’t allowed to make a speech, pose for photos or personalize notes in the books she signed because the Army didn’t want her appearance to prompt political grandstanding against President Barack Obama.
Here’s video of her visit to Fort Bragg, via WRAL.
The AP reports that “officials” are saying the numbers might have been as high as 4,000 for the booksigning:
Hundreds of Palin supporters also arrived early at Fort Bragg, and one woman spent nearly 24 hours in line. Officials estimated that some 4,000 turned out. More than 500 had to be turned away as the three-hour signing ended.
While in North Carolina, Palin also visited the Rev. Billy Graham, a visit in which she brought several family members, including her 2 year-old son Trig:
Sarah Palin, the hottest name in the Republican Party, took a detour from her book-signing tour Sunday to dine with Billy Graham at his mountaintop home in Montreat.
“He’s followed her career and likes her strong stand on faith,” said son Franklin Graham, who was present for the 2 1/2-hour get-together. “Daddy feels God was using her to wake America up.”
The former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate told Billy Graham about how she came to faith in God as a girl in Bible camp.
She quizzed him on the presidents he’s known and wanted his take on what the Bible says about Israel, Iran and Iraq, Franklin Graham reported.
Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, a Raleigh-based evangelist, also joined the dinner. They ate chicken breast, roast beef and green beans – washed down, of course, with that most Southern of beverages, iced tea. All the food was catered, Franklin Graham said.
A little after 3 p.m., Palin and her family arrived at the Asheville airport, where she was met by Franklin Graham. The two got to know each other this year in Alaska. She accompanied him as Samaritan’s Purse, a Boone-based international relief agency he heads, delivered 44,000 pounds of groceries to Eskimo families in villages along the frozen Yukon River who had been hit by a harsh winter.
Samaritan’s Purse has an office in Alaska, and Franklin Graham owns a cabin in the state. Graham also leads the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which his father founded decades ago.
Billy Graham told his son that he ought to invite Palin to visit the next time she was near North Carolina. Palin accepted.
We’d certainly welcome her back!