Listen to Palin’s speech

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin gave a 40-minute speech to a crowd of about 2000, gathered in an outdoor field this afternoon near Indianola, Iowa.  She blasted the country’s “permanent political class” and “crony capitalism” and warned folks to question presidential candidates of her own political party.  But while Palin spent some time outlining her own economic plan — and the crowd chanted “Run, Sarah, Run” at one point during her address – Palin did not use the occasion to announce a 2012 candidacy of her own.

AUDIO: Sarah Palin’s speech 40 min

Comedian at Tea Party Rally

Eric Golub,  a political comedian from L.A., is on stage.  He did a riff about Obama.  Here’s one of his jokes:  “You would think with ears that size just once he would listen, but he doesn’t.”

Tea Party organizer warns people will “talk dirty about us”

Charlie Grushow, one of the founders of the Tea Party of America, is the main organizer of today’s rally in Indianola which will be capped by a speech from former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Grushow just spoke to the crowd, saying he was a proud Tea Party activist.  “We have enemies out there — the liberal left, the mainstream media…Over the next year until the election they’re going to talk dirty about us,” Grushow said. “They can tear me down, but my commitment is to America and the constitution and to freedom.”

It’s pouring at the Palin event

The outdoor venue for today’s Tea Party of America rally is currently under a thunder cloud. Rain is pouring onto the field and onto the people who are sitting in lawn chairs or standing on the field. This pasture is used as a hot air balloon launching pad during annual Indianola’s balloon festival. Today would be a no-launch day were the festival still on.

It’s difficult to talk with the folks who are in the crowd, as many are huddle under their umbrellas.  The program has begun, however, and the Pledge has been said and the National Anthem was just sung.

There is a press tent at the event, which I’m huddled under along with colleagues who are typing on their laptops.  I’ve taken a few pictures, and offered up a spare umbrella for sale (it’s in my car trunk), on Twitter.  According to the program schedule, the folks outside have another hour and a half to wait before Palin takes the stage.

Palin: “there’s room for more” (audio)

As former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin walked in the front door of The Machine Shed restaurant in Urbandale, Iowa, this evening, a reporter asked Palin what she thought about the current field of GOP presidential candidates.

“Happy with the field of candidates. I always think that there’s room for more, though, because spirited debate and more competition will allow an even better discourse and a more rigorous discourse that the public deserves,” Palin said.

AUDIO: Palin’s answer

Palin was greeted by a chant of “run, Sarah, run” by folks who were crowded in the gift shop area that is the entry for the restaurant.  Palin was surrounded by a clutch of media and she made her way into a room where the “Conservatives4Palin” and “Organize4Palin” folks had gathered.  Read the Radio Iowa account of the event, with comments from people in the  restaurant.

“She’ll be at the event in Indianola”

See the headline above for the latest information from a source close to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, about Palin’s appearance at a “Tea Party of America” event on Saturday in Iowa.  Here’s your background if you’re just tuning in.

Palin’s Iowa appearance on Saturday?

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is/was to be the headliner for a Saturday rally in Indianola, but a Palin insider tells me the Palin camp now is “not sure” that Palin will indeed attend.  Palin had accepted an invitation from a group called “Tea Party of America” to appear at their event in central Iowa over the Labor Day weekend.  That group was formed last year by Charlie Gruschow, former leader of the Des Moines Tea Party.  Earlier this year Gruschow endorsed Herman Cain’s presidential bid, but Gruschow left the Cain campaign in July and he’s been among the planners of this Saturday’s event at the balloon field in Indianola.

Someone cited by The Wall Street Journal as a “person close” to Palin says the Palin camp is upset by the “continual lying” of “Tea Party of America” organizers. Over the past couple of days, there’s been confusion about another Republican, Christine O’Donnell, and whether she would speak at Saturday’s event.  As another source told me, that “seat of the pants” kind of event management has prompted the Palin folks to reevaluate.

As of 12:30 p.m. on August 31, 2011, the Palin folks have not cancelled on the Indianola rally, but the appearance is in doubt.  “Not sure yet” is what one source close to the Palins tells me.

Both “Parry” & “Paylin” got votes Saturday

I talked with Secretary of State Matt Schultz this afternoon. He confirmed there were write-in votes counted in Texas Governor Rick Perry’s tally that did not spell the Texan’s name correctly.  It got spelled “Parry” — as Stephen Colbert suggested . It got spelled “Pery”, too.  Sarah “Paylin” got a vote, according to Schultz.

But most of the 218 “scattered” votes on Saturday were write-in votes for fictional characters — the State Fair’s Butter Cow topped the list.

Oh, and there was at least one write-in vote for a Barack Obama.  Read more here.

Palin casts doubt on straw polls as “barometer” of race

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin spent a good deal of time today at the Iowa State Fair — surrounded by a throng of media.  During the Q&A, she offered this analysis of the value of straw polls (like the one that will be conducted tomorrow in Ames):

…“It’s not always the tell-tale sign of what the electorate is feeling,” Palin said at the Fair today as horses whinnied nearby. “It’s who happens to show up and has the time and energy to spend that day for their particular candidate. They’ll cast that vote and if you can bus in enough people and can get enough people enthused enough about your candidacy, they will be there to vote for you but, again, it’s not an indication of what everybody’s thinking.”

Read the full story.

Palin “doc” man talks about the film

I had a conversation this afternoon with Stephen Bannon, the writer and director of “The Undefeated” — a documentary about former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  The film will premiere this coming Tuesday, June 28 at the Pella Opera House.

“I had a concept about how to tell her story,” Bannon said. “It’s an amazing story of, really, modern America and the kind of difficulty of the middle class and the working class to make an impact on the world. And that story was hiding in plain sight and the mainstream media and even most of the conservative media had not picked up on the story. They really picked up on Governor Palin when she came to the Republican convention and hadn’t really looked at the backstory.”

I followed up with this question: When you see filmgoers leaving the Pella Opera House, what are you hoping? That they’re inspired to vote for her? What’s the goal of the film?

“The goal is very simple,” Bannon said. “Number one is, you know, AMC Theaters which is the second-largest theater chain in the country and Cinedigm which is the largest digital distribution company in the country, and ARC Entertainment — those are Hollywood capitalists. I mean, they’re not conservative companies by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the executives there watch more MSNBC than they do the conservative channels.  They see it as a story that transcends politics.  I mean, it’s really a story about people that are out there — when this story starts off, Sarah Palin is working on a little commercial fishing boat she co-owns with her husband who’s a blue collar foreman up on the North Slope.  Her dad’s a school teacher. He doesn’t make a lot of money. The family’s never made a lot of money. She’s married to a blue collar guy. She’s not part of any social or cultural or political elite.  Even in the frontier like Alaska, we lay out Alaska for the frontier it is, she’s not part of that elite. In fact, she’s as out of the loop as anybody in modern America and it shows you over 20 years really beginning at a town council level what one has to do to take on the vested interests.”