Gaga for Palin: Crowds Flock to First Stop On 'Going Rogue' Tour

Hundreds turnout for Palin book tour debut.

November 18, 2009, 3:05 PM

Nov. 18, 2009— -- Want a chance to meet Sarah Palin and have her sign a copy of her new memoir in Grand Rapids, Mich., tonight? You're too late.

Fans of the former Alaska governor started lining up at 9 p.m. last night and slept out all night long in sleeping bags and snow gear outside the Barnes and Noble store at Woodland Mall, which is the first stop on Palin's book tour.

At 7 a.m. this morning, bookstore staff began handing out orange wristbands to those who would be allowed to meet and greet Palin. Barnes and Noble staff tell ABC News they distributed all of their 1,000 wristbands for tonight's event.

Those with the coveted wristbands were told they could leave and return this afternoon around 4 p.m. to get in line again. But hundreds of people decided to stay as the line moved indoors to the warmth of the shopping mall.

Hundreds more showed up all morning long and were disappointed to hear that they were already too late. The store has set up a holding area for an overflow crowd of people who do not have wristbands. Store officials believe Palin may pause to address that crowd before heading into the store.

Palin's bus should be hard to miss; it's apparently wrapped in a giant poster of the front cover of "Going Rogue".

Holding steady at the front of the ticketed line, hopped up on Red Bull, are 19-year-olds Nichole Perrine and Laura Lomik, along with Lucy Vigmostad, who turns 18 today.

"She's so awesome," Vigmostad said of Palin. "We love her."

"She's one of the politicians that actually sticks to what she says. She has her platform. She doesn't change it. She says it, she does it. There's not many that do that," added Lomik.

Vigmostad was too young to vote in last year's election, but she volunteered for the McCain-Palin campaign. All three young women view Palin as a role model.

"I just love her personality. She sticks to what she says. She's very down to earth. She can handle all politics, all the media, all the press and still be able to raise her five kids," said Perrine.

Fans Say Palin Has Political Future

Suzanne Vainner arrived here at 3 a.m. She called the effort to see Palin her civic duty.

"I can't complain that I want better politicians and then sit home. It doesn't work that way," she said.

With rare exceptions, this is not a crowd that Palin will need to win over. They are her tried and true, her most loyal fans. And they are honored that she chose Michigan as the first stop on her book tour.

As Palin recalls in her book, the McCain campaign gave up on winning Michigan and withdrew its resources here in October 2008. Palin says she was accused of "going rogue" by McCain staffers when she told reporters she thought the campaign ought to still be fighting for Michigan's electoral votes.

"We're excited to have her back. We want to show the support that this area has for her. So that's why we sat out in the cold last night," said Diane Zandstra.

Many in this crowd would like to see Palin run for president in 2012. Some are wearing T-shirts and buttons to that effect.

"I think the McCain campaign did a really good job of squelching what her qualifications really are," said Barb Kaniewski. "And so I think with the release of her book and her being back in the public eye… I think the American public will see who she truly is rather than what the McCain handlers wanted her to be."

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