Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Governor Sarah Palin Makes "Triumphant" Return To Fairbanks, Alaska; 3,000 Supporters Offset 70 Protestors; Sue Hull And Cynthia Henry Warm Up Crowd

Twenty months after being sworn in at Fairbanks as Alaska's first female governor, Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin staged a "triumphant" return to Fairbanks, Alaska, where it all started. It is her first appearance in Alaska since she was named John McCain's running mate on August 29th. Full story published in the Anchorage Daily News, with a more detailed report in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. There's also a series of 20 pretty good still photos posted on the SecretsOfSarahPalin website.

Governor Palin was greeted by a crowd of an estimated 3,000 supporters, some of who drove 100 miles and waited for hours to see her, as well as 70 protestors. Security was tight; some people waited in line as long as 45 minutes to get into the hangar where Palin was appearing. State Republican Chairman Randy Ruedrich, a longtime Palin rival, put in an appearance. Two local Republican legislative candidates helped to warm up the crowd prior to Governor Palin's arrival; Senate Distict E candidate Cynthia Henry, and House District 9 candidate Sue Hull. Hull has an interesting family connection in Utah which I further discuss at the end of this post.

Once Palin arrived at approximately 7:30 P.M., the supporters erupted, shouting "Sarah! Palin!" And the Guv responded. "John McCain and I are ready, and with your help, we are going to win," Palin told the crowd. The speech, which lasted about 15 minutes, ended with confetti being shot out of a cannon. She then shook supporters' hands as the hangar emptied out. KTUU Channel 2 video embedded below:



Many supporters are enthralled with Palin because she's a new, charismatic face and she "breathes new life into politics". Others like her pronounced pro-life stance. Still others appreciated Palin's work in advancing the natural gas pipeline project, even though the contract was awarded to Trans-Canada, which owns no leases in Alaska and whose CEO has publicly stated that work on the pipeline is unlikely to begin until 2015.

But not everyone was happy to see Palin return to Fairbanks. At least 70 people showed up to protest outside the airport grounds, including Nina Harun of Fairbanks. Harun said she voted for Palin but believes the governor has sold out to the Republican party and set aside the so-called maverick streak that helped get her elected. "That's not the Sarah Palin I voted for," said Harun, who held up a sign that said, "Soccer Mom for Obama." "I would have voted for her for governor again, if she ran, but now I won't," she continued. Some environmental extremists also showed up to oppose her position on polar bears. Governor Palin correctly continues to oppose listing polar bears as a threatened species for fear it will cripple offshore oil and gas development.

And Andrew Halcro has posted his own critique of Palin's remarks. Among his relatively few criticisms, Halcro takes particular issue with Palin's claim to have broken the old oil monopoly, stating that Palin had actually raised oil taxes to the highest marginal rates in the world.

Afternote: Sue Hull's story is actually quite interesting because of a Utah family connection. Hull is the aunt of Utah Senate District 16 Democratic candidate RaDene Hatfield, who is running against Republican Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble. Basically little more than cannon fodder two weeks ago, Hatfield's candidacy was abruptly frog-marched into center stage when it was reported that Bramble verbally abused a pizza delivery driver in Provo, Utah. It turns out that Bramble has a history of verbally abusing working class folks, and RaDene Hatfield seeks to make him history in November. Oh, and guess what? The pizza delivery driver who was abused by Bramble is now a volunteer in Hatfield's campaign. LOL!

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