Sarah Palin at the Liberty Bell
By Rachel Weiner,
Timothy Jacobsen AP
Members of the Independence Hall Tea Party gathered at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia on Tuesday morning, along with a couple dozen other fans. Groups of schoolkids visiting the museum alternately shouted “There’s Sarah!” and “Who’s Sarah Palin?”
Palin appeared around 1 p.m.; she was quickly whisked into Independence Hall and then led into the Liberty Bell Museum by members of the National Park Service. A few reporters made it in with her, but most of those surrounding the governor were fans just hoping for photos and a quick hello. She was in and out of Philadelphia in about half an hour, headed towards New York — exact location to be determined.
While Palin herself did not address the media, Todd Palin, her husband,did answer a question from The Fix about rumors that he was urging his wife to run for president. “I don’t know where that came from,” he said. “I’m not pushing her one way or the other. It’s her decision. I’ll support her whatever she decides.”
The Philadelphia stop was the latest in an unpredictable first three day s of Palin’s bus tour. She and her staff have done nothing to communicate any specifics about her plans, choosing instead to simply get on the bus and drive — leaving supporters (and the press) guessing about where she might be headed.
Rumors of Palin’s arrival drew hundreds of people to the Gettysburg battlefield on Monday. It turned out she was actually in Baltimore visiting Ft. McHenry, where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write “The Star Spangled Banner.” She got to Gettysburg Monday afternoon, where some reporters and supporters caught up with her at her hotel.
More fans gathered at Palin’s hotel Tuesday morning, but she slipped out unnoticed early in the early morning to tour the Civil War battlefield. From there, she stopped in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania and introduced herself to some locals at a diner called Coffee Express.
While supporters admitted some frustration that Palin’s schedule wasn’t more exact, they said they understood that she wanted to evade constant media attention and that it would be hard to offer exact times.
Piper Palin, the governor’s daughter, was traveling with her parents and did not appear to enjoy the media swarm. In Philadelphia, she shoved a few photographers’ cameras out of the way as the group moved into Independence Hall.
Palin has denied that her intention in keeping the schedule unknown was to mess with the press. “I want them to have to do a little bit of work on a tour like this, and that would include not necessarily telling them beforehand where every stop is going to be,” she told Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren on the bus Monday. “The media can figure out where we’re going if they do their investigative work.”