Sarah Palin ends her book tour where it all began


Sarah Palin shakes hands with Mark Hamilton, from Post Falls, as he makes his way through the autograph line on Dec. 10 in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. (AP Photo/Coeur d'Alene Press, Jerome A. Pollos)

Former Vice-Presidential nominee, former Alaskan Governor and (briefly) former infant resident Sarah Palin returned to Sandpoint, Idaho Thursday evening to modest fanfare.
 
The small north Idaho town (pop. 8,000), where Palin was born and spent the first three months of her life before the family moved to Alaska, was the last stop on Palin's 36-city bus tour to promote her bestselling memoir, "Going Rogue: An American Life."
 
The Sandpoint signing was added at the last minute and at Palin's personal insistence, or so I heard from several people who said they had heard it from someone who had spoken to someone close to the Palins. (Hey, it's a small town. That's how news travels.)
 
Local bookstore Vanderford's ordered a ton of books for the event - literally (2,000 books weighing a total of 2,942 pounds). About 700 people braved the cold to get their copies autographed, some arriving as early as 5 a.m. for the 6 p.m. event in temperatures well below freezing.
 
The signing took place at the Sandpoint Events Center, a recently renovated building that was formerly the town's high school. Palin's father, Chuck Heath, was teaching science and coaching track there 45 years ago when Palin was born.
 
Marilyn Dalby Sebella, a longtime resident and student of Heath's at the time, recalls him talking about the still unborn Palin during her 8th grade science class. "He didn't know if it was a boy or a girl so he called her 'Oscar.'"
 
Sally Heath, Palin's mother, confirmed the story. "He was convinced it was going to be a boy named Oscar," she said. "I guess we could have made Oscar her middle name."
 
Locals were impressed with the Palins and particularly the personal attention they felt they got. "I was so surprised that they were genuinely interested in my kids," said Crystal Zieske, who spoke with Todd and Sarah about her two boys, who are attending the University of Idaho (Palin's alma mater; she was wearing a U of I sweater).
 
The Palin family seemed to be sincerely enjoying themselves. Todd and Sarah were teasing each other and warmly greeting their fans. However, Chuck Heath was enjoying it the most.
 
Heath stood off to one side watching his daughter and son-in-law and chatting with people. When he had found out the signing was happening, Sally Heath said, it brought "tears to his eyes" he was so happy. "He's really enjoying talking with children and grandchildren of his students," she added.
 
Besides Palin and her family (and, to a much lesser degree, her book), the big attraction of the night was her Book Tour Bus. A near constant stream of people took turns having their picture taken in front of the giant Sarah Palin adorning its side. People loved the Tour Bus.
 
The signing was pulled off with the help of at least 40 local volunteers, who were thrilled to be involved. "Heck, I've lived here my whole life and never been involved with anything like this," said Jesse Gardner. "I think it's a good thing for the town, that's for sure."
 
That sentiment was not shared by everyone in the community, though. About a half dozen protesters quietly held signs denoting their dissatisfaction. Jenni Martin held a sign reading, "Thank God you lost." She was joined by two of her three children.
 
"I don't like her representing Sandpoint," Martin said. She had just hours before returned from a trip to Utah and was frustrated by misperceptions there that north Idaho was home to racists because of the Aryan Nations' past attempts to settle in the region. She felt Palin's relationship to the area fueled a negative perception of Sandpoint along similar lines.
 
The protesters were mellow, and, although occasionally someone would shout something like, "You're pathetic" from a car, no significant arguments broke out. They hung around long enough to take some pictures of themselves in front of the Book Tour Bus (yes, even they wanted to have their pictures taken with the bus) and then departed.
 
By the time Palin headed out of the Sandpoint Events Center to shouts of "We love you, Sarah!" none of the protesters remained.

As she walked through the makeshift barricade from the entrance of the building to her Book Tour Bus, Palin paused to shake hands and tell the crowd, "It's good to be home!" She moved quickly but took time to greet nearly every child who was present and sign just a few more copies of her book. As she reached the bus, she called out over the crowd, "Thank you, Sandpoint! We love you guys."
 
A Post-It note stuck on the bus's front door earlier that evening said, "You go girl! Thank you!! And God Bless you. From Sandpoint."

-- Filed by John T. Reuter

By Ron Charles |  December 11, 2009; 11:31 AM ET Politics
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Comments

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*sits back, pops some popcorn, and waits for the liberals to foam at the mouth and post their usual "why do you pay attention to this woman??????" comments*

Posted by: WashingtonDame | December 11, 2009 12:48 PM

At the bank!

Posted by: whocares666 | December 11, 2009 1:18 PM

We don't need to ask 'why do you pay attention to this woman?" cause you did it for us - THANKS ;-)

Her tour is over and she made her funds - time for her to slither back under her rock. She has milked this for all its worth

Posted by: k998 | December 11, 2009 1:23 PM

The pathetic ones were the ones who were holding the sign "Thank God you lost". They obviously have no clue of the precipice that the current administration is pushing this country towards with its record spending, debts and impending massive, job-killing tax increases to pay for it all. Thanks for nothing, Jenni.

Posted by: honorswar26 | December 11, 2009 1:41 PM

Hey, Caribou Barbie:

Nice corporate jet.

Posted by: bs2004 | December 11, 2009 1:42 PM

Palin does not have a boat load of experience. I think this will be a real impediment to her getting nominated as the republican presidential candidate in the future. Since Americans are seeing first hand how their mistake of voting for President Obama, who had very little experience, is destroying the country I don't think they will bite a second time and take a chance on someone with so little experience. I think when Obama leaves office in 2012 he will be replaced by someone with a far stronger resume than Obama. The country will have had its fill of "historic moment" Presidents. Can you blame them?

Posted by: tmonahan1 | December 11, 2009 2:15 PM

@tmonahan1, By 2012, Obama will have a new item on his resume: President 2009-2013. That's a nice item to have. Who on the Republican side is going to run? Palin would be a clear loser. The only guy I know with half a chance is Jindal, but I'm not convinced he wants it. He'll have to write a good book first!

Anyway, onto thinking about books... I wonder if a big part of the success of her tour, is that she went out to the rural parts of the country. That's just not the typical book tour. It was new to these people and a rare treat. I wonder if authors linked together in a sort of mini book festival tour could do the same and what that would do for sales in rural parts of the country and even perhaps boosting author morale. (Naturally, this would not be for culturally bigoted authors or journalists who belittle small town USA as a hobby.)

Posted by: prokaryote | December 11, 2009 2:54 PM

Palin/Gingrich! Palin/Santorum! Palin/Armey! Palin/Huckabee!

PLEASE JUST RUN, SARAH!!!

PALIN/ANYONE 2012!

...After which the Republican party will have 10% representation in government.

Posted by: onestring | December 11, 2009 3:20 PM

Know what's interesting? She's apparently only doing one book signing in Alaska....at a military base. Her supporters should be wondering why she's not interested in meeting her beloved Alaskans.

Or rather, why she figures they're not too interested in lining up for her.

Posted by: BlueDog1 | December 11, 2009 3:54 PM

I just had a sinking feeling that Sarah will keep 'adding' small towns she has skant associations with to create a 'Neverending Tour'............ If not, she will create something to keep getting the kind of free press that politicians pay millions to get.

At least for now, thank goodness that local tax dollars that pay for her police protection can go back to paying policemen to protecting their taxpayers and not Sarah Palin.

Posted by: marie_mcdermott | December 11, 2009 3:56 PM

You all just run her for Pres. in 2012 and I think that you will see how "main stream" America feels about hate speech coming from her and other of her ilk. If this is what you all think represents the USA then I am sadden. She is so inept. She left her State with 2 years in her term. What leader does that? She is in it for the money and if you fail to see that then there is really no hope. America will be the laughing stock of the world If she or others like her get elected.

We have a leader who is trying to get that respect back. We had such a wonderful 8 years with GWB and he did so well---not. And you want to elect that party again?

Obama is trying to clean up a big big mess left by GOP. He will need more than a year to turn around an economic and social mess that took almost a decade in the making.

I am 65 and I am so sadden by what I see. So much hate speech coming from one of our major "news" networks.

Since Mr.Obama has been elected I have feared for his life. He is the object of such outrageous hate from the right and esp. the so called "tea baggers" Surely, we are a smarter country than this

Palin would be poison for our country and its future as world leader would be in grave jepardy.

Any party that would promote her for any office after her abandoning hers has abandon its reason.

Posted by: patisok | December 11, 2009 4:27 PM

"Palin 'aused to shake hands and tell the crowd, "It's good to be home!'"

So, in the World According to Sarah, home is where she she spent the first three months of life? Home is not in Wasilla, Alaska? When Alaskans elected Sarah Palin as Alaska's Governor, did they know that her real home was Sandpoint, Idaho?

From am ethical perspective, I think that Sarah Palin has a point. Her home state should be Idaho, so that she could say, in every sense of the word, "Idaho!"

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | December 11, 2009 4:44 PM

i think it would be nice if sarah palin would just go away. she is good looking. and has nothing else to offer! jim fenton

Posted by: freebutch1embarqmailcom | December 11, 2009 5:24 PM

tmonahan1:

>...Since Americans are seeing first hand how their mistake of voting for President Obama, who had very little experience, is destroying the country...

And how, pray tell, is PRESIDENT OBAMA "destroying the country"? He's having to rebuild it from 8 years of DUMBYA and deadeye dickie.

Posted by: Alex511 | December 11, 2009 7:26 PM


She's 45, and beginning to look it since the tour.

How will she wear as she begins to look like an old woman. With little brainpower and less finesse?

Imagine here speaking abroad, to Putin, for exampoe, or before the sophisticated leadeers of the world? And imagine her
fixing Wall Street.

What are these people thinking?

Posted by: whistling | December 11, 2009 8:05 PM

Boring. Sarah Palin would obviously quit anything, like the governorship of Alaska, that was too challenging. Just imagine if she was elected president, and then quit? You knw she wouyld.

Take your book money and go home, girl

Posted by: dudh | December 11, 2009 8:16 PM

Boring. Sarah Palin would obviously quit anything, like the governorship of Alaska, that was too challenging. Just imagine if she was elected president, and then quit? You knw she wouyld.

Take your book money and go home, girl

Posted by: dudh | December 11, 2009 8:20 PM

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