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Friday, December 11, 2009

Sarah Palin comes "home" to Minnesota

Going Rogue by the numbers (source: Mall of America):

2500: Number of copies of Going Rogue signed by Sarah Palin at her Barnes & Noble Mall of America appearance on December 7. The previous mall record for books signed was held by Twilight author Stephanie Meyer (850 books).

1700: Approximate number of persons who came to Mall of America to see Sarah Palin

4: Number of hours that Palin signed books on December 7

2: Number of international press covering the event (Der Spiegel and Al Jazeera)

1: Palin event ranking for the number of media organizations covering a Mall of America event in the mall's seventeen-year history

1: Current rank of Going Rogue on the New York Times Best Sellers list for hardcover nonfiction

0: Number of tomatoes thrown at Sarah Palin that actually hit her

It was Fred Barnes from the Weekly Standard who first introduced me to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin back in July 2007, in his column "The Most Popular Governor:"
The wipeout in the 2006 election left Republicans in such a state of dejection that they've overlooked the one shining victory in which a Republican star was born. The triumph came in Alaska where Sarah Palin, a politician of eye-popping integrity, was elected governor. She is now the most popular governor in America, with an approval rating in the 90s, and probably the most popular public official in any state.

Her rise is a great (and rare) story of how adherence to principle--especially to transparency and accountability in government--can produce political success.

I became an immediate fan of Palin, read occasional articles about her, and enjoyed passing through her Mat-Su Valley hometown of Wasilla on vacation in July 2008. Imagine my thrill after attending a local Republican fundraiser, the night Barack Obama accepted the Democrat nomination for President — as we heard through the grapevine that network news helicopters, broadcast satellite trucks, and other media had encircled the home of Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty — that John McCain had chosen Governor Palin as his running mate.

The rest is history, including Palin's dazzling acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul in September of 2008 (in Palin's book, a photo of the convention floor at Saint Paul's Xcel Energy Center is misidentified as being in Minneapolis), and the disappointing defeat of the McCain-Palin ticket in November.

It is fitting that Governor Palin returns to the Twin Cities, to a place called Mall of America. A shopping mall is, after all, a shrine to free enterprise and consumerism, a reflection of the highest standard of living in the history of the world. MOA is really big, like Alaska. And "An American Story" is what Palin is all about.

The gov we love alluded to her Minnesota connections in these Twitter posts sent from her Blackberry on December 7:

In Minnesota,event @ Mall of America,look frwrd 2 seeing Alaska friends' relatives here (a lot of MN transplants in AK!);lot in common w MN

Privileged 2 now meet w MN folks w families n Alaska;1 realizes how intimate r nation is as we travel&hear of connections all Americans have
Palin's book and national tour are laying a strong and wide foundation of trust, loyalty, and affection for the governor and her family, amongst the hoi polloi in the small towns of America she claimed as her own in that acceptance speech last year:
A writer observed: "We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty, sincerity, and dignity." I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind when he praised Harry Truman.

I grew up with those people.

They are the ones who do some of the hardest work in America, who grow our food, run our factories and fight our wars.

They love their country, in good times and bad, and they're always proud of America.

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