Hundreds waiting for Palin's book signing in Roanoke; video of overnight campersYou realize, of course, that even Obama doesn't draw this kind of exuberance.
By Katelyn Polantz, The Roanoke Times
7:10 a.m.: More than 300 people camped overnight Saturday outside Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Valley View Mall to await former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's signing of her new memoir, "Going Rogue," today. (See video of the campers, who said Palin made a surprise visit Saturday night.)
Bundled in sleeping bags, blankets and hunting jackets, the crowd huddled together, listening to Christmas music piped over the mall's outdoor speakers, in a line that wrapped around the mall's corner.
Lynn Pixley, 61, of Roanoke County, was one of the first 50 people. She and her sister had been there since 6:30 p.m.
For the hundreds that braved near-freezing temperatures overnight to share about 10 seconds with Palin, the Barnes & Noble and Valley View Mall staff attempted to aid the book enthusiasts' comfort.
Store employees pushed a cart of coffee before the sun came up at 7 a.m., selling cups for $2.75. Overnight, Valley View security had let Palin campers into the mall in groups to use the restrooms.
One couple brought their dog for company. Dixie, a Jack Russell-rat terrier mix, played on the sidewalk next to her owners, Patty and Dan Kaufman of Lithia. "We want her to meet Sarah" if the store will allow it, Patty said. "I think she'll like her."
Kaufman, 53, had a copy of "Going Rogue" tucked in a bag that hung on her fold-up chair. Dixie will read it with her overnight, she said Saturday at 11 p.m. [link]
A sixty-one year-old woman (along with three hundred other freezing enthusiasts) camped out overnight in front of Barnes & Noble, for God's sake, just to have ten seconds with a former governor. And a fifty-three year-old wants her dog to meet Ms. Palin. What?!
There is something going on here. Sarah Palin has struck a cord. A kinship like I haven't seen before.
Where does it take her? Who knows.
Strap yourself in. This is going to be one wild ride.