Amanda Coyne is in Iowa covering Governor Palin’s trip for the Alaska Dispatch. She was in Indianola, the site of today’s big speech, and at the Machine Shed Restaurant last night where she talked to two people whose names you’ll recognize, including our “man of few words,” Ian Lazaran. Here are a couple excerpts from her report:
While former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was making her way from her hotel in Des Moines, to greet the Machine Shed Restaurant outside of Des Moines, for the Conservatives4Palin meet-up, other supporters were working in the haze in Indianola, setting up booths and tables, making name tags and checking lists. Not without a fair measure of discomfort. A heat wave has settled heavily upon Iowa. Brows where constantly being mopped. Hands mimicking fans wove in front of pink cheeks.
A collective sigh went up from the volunteers when, as if a mirage, Palin’s big bus drove down a dirt road behind the main stage, seemingly from right out of the cornfields. Volunteers rushed toward the bus, hoping to catch a glimpse of Palin When it was clear she wasn’t there, the supporters wasted no time in dragging a cardboard cut-out of Palin, placing it in front of the bus and posing for the cameras amid the field of dreams.
The sound crew played Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” full-blast. The lyrics, floating over the cornfields, seemed prophetic. Some of the volunteers might have been upset they’d missed Palin’s Machine Shed appearance later that night, but in the end, it might be for the best. It was terribly hot in the restaurant Friday night. Crowds swarmed around Palin. Reporters shoved. Some of her supporters, not ones to cow to a journalist’s sense of entitlement, held their ground.
On Friday night, some of the C4P people got to meet the former governor herself. Among them was Damian Geminder. Twenty-two years old and a regular C4P contributor, he’s freshly armed with a bachelor’s in journalism from Adelphi University in Long Island. He wore a t-shirt that read “God, Guns and Lipstick. Palin: 2012.” Palin looked Geminder in the eyes and said, “Thank you for all you do.”
The man who goes by the pen-name Ian Lazaran, a young Seattle lawyer who helps C4P in his spare time, also met Palin for the first time tonight. Lazarn, a man of few words, smiled when I asked him how it felt to meet Palin. “Good,” he said. “It was really good. This has been very good.”
Read Coyne’s entire piece here. She also has some great pictures you’ll want to check out.
(h/t Damian Geminder)
Update: CNN’s Peter Hamby is also in Iowa. Here are a couple excerpts from his report:
Enthusiastic Palinistas who trekked from places as far away as Dallas and San Diego for Saturday’s rally jammed into the Machine Shed, a popular restaurant in Urbandale, for a meet-up event organized by Conservatives4Palin, the online destination for all things Palin.
Many of them recognized each other from the Conservatives4Palin usernames or Twitter handles that were scribbled onto nametags slapped onto pro-Palin T-shirts.
Dozens of admirers whipped out their smartphones and digital cameras to document the scene, while an editor back at Conservatives4Palin curated the flood of tweets and reporter dispatches coming out of the event.
Palin worked the space for nearly an hour, posing for pictures and signing autographs. She did not address the crowd, but California attorney Peter Singleton, the self-appointed Palin political guru in Iowa, rallied the troops.
“There is no one who has the political courage and vision of this woman,” he said. “If she runs I believe she will win the nomination and I will believe she will win the general election.”
Be sure to read Hamby’s entire piece here.
Via Robin Abcarian of the LA Times:
The evening before her big “tea party” speech in Indianola, Iowa, Sarah Palin arrived to raucous cheers and no small amount of delighted surprise at a meet-up of Conservatives4Palin in a sprawling restaurant just outside Des Moines.
Conservatives4Palin is a website that chronicles, defends and promotes all things Palin. It was co-founded by Rebecca Mansour, who has been Palin’s speechwriter since coming to the attention of the former Alaska governor through the website.
About 200 people had turned out at the Machine Shed, one of those restaurants with a manufactured kind of folksiness and lots of jars of jam and old-fashioned candy for sale in front. Many of those in attendance were known to each other only by their Conservatives4Palin, or C4P, handles. Sapwolf, for instance, turns out to be Thomas Chanteloup of Council Bluffs, Iowa, a 47-year-old IT guy. And the person who goes by “4 Such a Time as THIS” turns out to be Anne Regnier, a very nice woman from a nearby neighborhood who was more or less gobsmacked that Sarah and Todd Palin actually showed up.
Many in the crowd had arrived by bus from Texas, which seems to be a particular stronghold of Palin supporters, despite the fact that the state’s governor, Rick Perry, is the presumptive leader in the race for the 2012 Republican nomination.
“Perry represents crony capitalism,” said Mai Duong, a naturalized citizen from Vietnam who is an accountant in Houston. Duong, who emigrated in 1994 and became a U.S. citizen 10 years later, said she was never political before the 2008 presidential campaign.
More from Abcarian here.