Amid the chaos, there was Sarah Palin.
Only one advance staffer was on hand to wrangle the fans and reporters hoping to get close to the former vice presidential nominee, who arrived at Sunday’s Rolling Thunder rally on a motorcycle driven by her daughter Willow.
At the first stop on Palin’s bus tour — which, so far, has a vague itinerary and no other formally announced stops — security and press relations were left to a small group of disgruntled bikers.When asked about the tour, Palin offered only, “This is our first stop; we’re very thankful to be here.”
A map of the tour’s stops on her PAC’s website remains blank.
Palin arrived with Willow on the front of the motorcycle she was driving and her husband, Todd, and oldest daughter, Bristol, on separate bikes. Still, their presence was very small in comparison to the rest of the rally, drawing about 200 people in a swarm around them at an event that drew thousands of veterans. Her husband, wearing a navy blue T-shirt with “Washington, D.C.” printed on the front, worked the crowd with ease — offering fast and short responses to a few reporters and glad-handing the many fans of his wife. They talked happily with those within shouting distance, and they joined the former vice presidential nominee in signing leather vests, posing for the cameras and answering questions to the few reporters who got close enough. She even held a brief availability with reporters in the corner of the parking lot away from the main group.
Organizers of the annual veterans motorcycle ride were clearly frustrated by the media attention and fuss brought by Palin, and the bikers weren’t as encouraging as the Palins. Yelling, and in a few instances, shoving, they tried to keep away press trying to snap photographs or capture a rare quote.
Ted Shpak, the national legislative director for Rolling Thunder, didn’t take kindly to reporters approaching the Palin swarm. “This is our run, back up,” he shouted.
Don Dicks, who later posed with Palin in the background as he put both his thumbs up and his tongue out, repeatedly yelled at fans and reporters near his motorcycle: “Back up from my bike! Stay away from my bike!”
Dicks identified himself as part of the Rolling Thunder organization, but wouldn’t say more other than restating his demand that the reporter go away.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistakenly indicated that Sarah Palin was driving a motorcycle when she arrived. Willow Palin was.
Posting source: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55892.html