Tales from the Trail

Republican northern light sparks up Southern town

Sarah Palin remains the hottest Republican ticket if the crowds and enthusiasm at her book signings are anything to go by.

On Friday she brought her “Going Rogue” book tour to Plano, an affluent town just north of Dallas that is in deeply red Republican country. About 1,500 people lined up for hours in the winter cold to wait for Palin’s bus. A lucky 1,000 among them had advance tickets to get their copy of her new autobiography signed.

USA-POLITICS/PALIN

The former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee clearly remains the northern light of the Republican Party that can spark up its Southern and conservative base. She now reigns almost unchallenged with this base after the apparent downfall of former Arkansas governor and Republican White House hopeful Mike Huckabee.

His political future was dealt a blow this week by the revelation that he had once pardoned the man who killed four police officers in Washington state on Sunday.

“I hope she makes a run for president, I wouldn’t hesitate to vote for her,” said Steve Yurasits, a 59-year-old school bus driver, expressing a sentiment shared by many in the crowd.

The First Draft: Talk shows help drive Palin’s popularity

If Sarah Palin were elected president of the United States, would conservative talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck wind up in her cabinet?

That’s a toughie. But Palin already tops the list of Republican Party favorites and that fact is due in part to her popularity with Limbaugh’s and Beck’s audiences, according to a Washington Post poll.
USA-POLITICS/MCCAIN-PALIN
Seventeen percent of Republicans, including 23 percent of Republican women, say they would vote for Palin if their party’s 2012 state primary election or caucus were held today.

She out-guns Mike Huckabee who got 10 percent of the vote, Mitt Romney at 9 percent and John McCain with only 7.

‘Going Rogue’ Palin trumps best sellers in first week

Watch out James Patterson, Stephen King and Dan Brown. Sarah Palin has you beat — at least this USA-POLITICS/PALINweek.

All that experience on the campaign trail has served Palin well. The 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, who is popular among many U.S. conservatives, has excelled in the first week of her multi-state, campaign-style media tour to promote her new book which was released on Nov. 17.

The former Alaskan governor’s memoir, “Going Rogue: An American Life” topped the charts in its first week of publication.  Nielsen Bookscan said the new author eclipsed best-sellers Patterson and King whose books also debuted that week.

On book tour, it’s Palin unplugged

Like one of those grizzly bears way up yonder in Alaska, Sarah Palin was in hibernation for months while she wrote her book. And now that the book is out, she’s become unplugged.

The conservative firebrand, who says she was all “bottled up” by the John McCain staff on the campaign trail last year, is chock full of opinions and letting lose on all manner of subjects.

USA-POLITICS/MCCAIN-PALINLet’s go over several of them.

The shootings at Fort Hood were “an act of terrorism” and authorities missed “massive warning flags” about the alleged shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, she said.

The First Draft: More is Less

The Senate has spoken — for the moment. But it’s definitely not in one voice.

Senator Harry Reid, the leader of Democrats, last night unveiled a healthcare bill cobbled from two Senate versions.  USA/

At 2,074 pages, it is longer than the 1,990-page House bill. But the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office put the plan’s 10-year cost at $849 billion, which is below President Barack Obama’s $900 billion goal and the House bill which came in at more than $1 trillion.

Palin’s Exxon Valdez account draws guffaws

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Sarah Palin’s new memoir, “Going Rogue,” already has been strongly criticized by John McCain’s aides for her account as a vice presidential candidate on the ticket with him in their unsuccessful 2008 race for the White House.

Now, add Alaskan experts who were involved in the case over the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster saying her account over her role in the litigation is distorted for a number of reasons.

EXXON OIL SPILLIn the book, Palin claims to have helped the fishermen, Alaska Natives and other individuals suing Exxon over spill damages prevail in their legal case.

Next round in Covergirl Palin photo flap…

The flap over Sarah Palin’s photo on the cover of Newsweek magazine is turning into a fray…

To use the words of TV detective Monk, “here’s what happened…” USA/

Newsweek put Palin on the cover ahead of the release of her book “Going Rogue.”

The First Draft: Crossing the Grey Line

President Barack Obama admits he has crossed the grey line.

In the well-worn tradition of those who entered the White House before him, the president’s hair has greyed. And it’s only his first year in office.

USA-POLITICS/OBAMAPerhaps not exactly the change he was hoping for.

“My hair has gotten a lot greyer because I was at the age where my hair was going to start getting grey. Having said all that, you know this has been an extraordinary year,” Obama said in an interview with NBC.

The economy, healthcare, Afghanistan war are all on his mind — “I would be lying if I said that those aren’t weighted questions that I carry around on my shoulders every day.”

In the words of a football coach, philosopher, father…

At the start of  Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue,” before the words begin, there’s a map: “The View from the Top of the World.”******It shows Alaska closer to the center of the top of the world than Washington, D.C. — deliberate perhaps?******Then wandering through the book, the quotes at the start of each chapter caught our eye. USA/******There’s the famous words from college football coach Lou Holtz: “I don’t believe that God put us on earth to be ordinary.”******Greek philosopher Aristotle: “Criticism is something we can avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing.”******That is followed by chapters that feature wise words from basketball coach John Wooden, Christian pastor Charles Swindoll, humor columnist Dave Barry and American author Mark Twain.******The lead in for Chapter 6 is a quote from Palin’s father, Chuck Heath Sr.: “Sarah’s not retreating; she’s reloading!”******What do these quotes say about Palin?******Click here for more Reuters political coverage******Photo credit: Reuters/Mike Segar (Rodin sculpture “The Thinker” outside Philosophy Department of Columbia University)

Live blogging Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue”

Veteran Reuters political correspondent Steve Holland is reading Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue: An American Life” and sharing his thoughts on Twitter. He’s well-qualified as a reader — he broke the news of Bristol Palin’s pregnancy on the eve of the Republican National Convention.************Follow Steve on Twitter***