For hundreds of excited but chilly Sarah Palin fans in Columbia, SC, their long wait in the cold and rainy weather is over. Gov. Palin is signing their copies of America by Heart. In addition to her autograph, reports the Associated Press:
Everyone who walked up to Palin got a "Hi there! What's your name?" followed by a million-dollar smile and a few seconds of chitchat. County music blared over the store's loudspeakers as the line for Palin eventually snaked down almost every aisle.The governor is wrapping up her second book tour (although she's hinted that future signing events may be scheduled) in a key presidential primary state:
South Carolina will be the first state in the South to send its Republicans to the polls in 2012, and Palin is well-liked here. An exit poll taken on Election Day found more than 80 percent of people who identified themselves as Republicans in South Carolina approved of Palin.Gov. Palin was last in Columbia in May to give her endorsement to Nikki Haley, who is now the Palmetto State's governor-elect. Just a few weeks later, Haley defeated three more established candidates to win the Republican Party nomination:
But they also split among Palin, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee when asked which candidate they favored to be the party's nominee in 2012.
At the Books-a-Million in suburban Columbia on Friday, it was hard to find anyone who wasn't planning on voting for Palin if she runs.
"We need someone like her to clean things up," said Gail Martin, who was getting a book signed for her and her 8-year-old daughter. "She's not like anyone up there now."
Martin's husband picked up the bracelet for her. But she wasn't going to miss meeting her hero Friday. The 36-year-old Navy veteran from Lexington was thrilled when U.S. Sen. John McCain from Arizona won the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. She became even more excited when she got to know Palin after McCain picked her as his running mate.
"She just stepped into the spotlight and handled it great. And then I found out she had a child with Down syndrome, and I knew she was what this country needed," said Martin, who has a 6-year-old daughter with autism.
Martin brought along her 8-year-old daughter Lauren, who started liking Palin after watching her climb mountains and go hunting on her new reality show.
Plenty of cars in the bookstore parking lot had fresh "Haley for Governor" bumper stickers on the back.Update: More coverage from The State, The Post and Courier and The Bellingham Herald.
"We now have a woman as governor," Martin said. "Wouldn't it be nice to have one as president too?"