Palin book signing a tightly controlled operation
December 3rd, 2010
08:23 PM ET
12 years ago

Palin book signing a tightly controlled operation

Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - Members of the media and book-toting Sarah Palin supporters were asked to follow a surprisingly strict set of guidelines Friday as the former Alaska governor appeared in South Carolina on the final stop of a tour to promote her new book, "America By Heart."

Palin has been met with long lines at each stop during the two-week book tour, but fans at a Books-A-Million in suburban Columbia actually had to line up at the store twice: Once on Wednesday to enter a lottery for one of 500 wristbands that would guarantee them entry into the event, and if they got lucky, again on Friday night to actually meet the former Alaska governor.

Once inside, customers were required to present receipts for their books as a proof of purchase. They waited patiently as country music wafted through the box store, and several customers told CNN they had trekked all the way from Georgia or North Carolina for a moment with Palin.

That was until a store employee told the reporter that press were not permitted to speak with customers inside the store, or leave the roped-off cafe area that had been designated for them.

"It's a Sarah rule, not our rule," the employee said, apologetically. Another store representative told reporters that the strict rules were handed down via Palin's publishing house, HarperCollins.

Unlike Palin's stop in Iowa the previous day, members of the media were required to arrive at Books-A-Million three hours before the event to have their camera equipment, computers and cell phones inspected by officers provided by the Richland County Sheriff's Department and Palin's own security detail.

Reporters were told that live feeds of the event were not allowed, and questions were not to be asked.

The press, including a Danish television crew, waited for three hours in Joe Muggs, the bookstore café, until a store representative selected a handful of journalists to come to the front of the store to observe Palin at a distance of ten feet for ten minutes, at which point they were rotated out.

Palin, accompanied by her daughter Piper, signed books at a rapid clip while chatting with supporters, pausing to linger with a few who said they had relatives serving in the military.

Despite the breach of protocol, Palin responded good-naturedly when asked by CNN if she planning to have a more visible presence in South Carolina, a pivotal early state in the presidential nominating process. Since 1980, no candidate has secured the GOP nomination without winning the state's primary.

"Well I'm here right now," Palin said. "I don't know. We'll try and get back here soon."

Though it was just her second visit to South Carolina, political concerns were not a priority for Palin, who has focused on promoting her book during the tour and did not reach out to state Republican insiders during her Palmetto State sojourn.

Palin's first trip to South Carolina came in May, when she offered a key endorsement to Governor-elect Nikki Haley during her four-way fight for the Republican nomination.

Palin and Haley exchanged friendly emails on Thursday evening but did not meet in person due to their crowded schedules, Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey told CNN.

Haley, just back from a trip to Washington where she met with President Obama and GOP Congressional leaders, attended her son's basketball practice on Friday evening.

UPDATE: Tina Andreadis, director of publicity of HarperCollins, told CNN that logistics at the the book tour events were handled differently by each venue.

Filed under: 2012 • Nikki Haley • Sarah Palin • South Carolina
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. John Boehner is the dumbest person to become speaker

    Her followers are a bit unstable, so I can see why she doesn't want them to talk to each other. I hope she has them check their guns and their clubs for fishing at the door.

    December 4, 2010 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  2. Terry

    It appears that we have to much information regarding a nothing event.

    December 4, 2010 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
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