Stops: 4 — Gettysburg National Civil War Park, coffee in Dillsburg, Penn., the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and Famous Famiglia Pizzeria in New York City
Tanks of gas: 1
Number of Palin sightings: 3
The surreal third Day of Sarah Palin’s pseudo-political bus tour through the mid-Atlantic started off in Gettysburg, Penn., where she visited the battlefield and the national soldier’s memorial. After a brief tour, she and an assortment of family and friends gathered for a group photo at the memorial. She greeted a few fans on her way out, including Janita Carlton, a 50-year-old homemaker from Green Forest, Arkansas, who waited nine and a half hours at the Gettysburg memorial on Monday when she heard the former Alaska governor was coming for a visit. “I was disappointed yesterday – it was hot!” Carlton said – the temperatures topped 100 degrees at the park. “But today we’re going to finally see the field. And it was so worth it to meet her! There’s hardly a politician I’d do this for.” Who else? “Mike Huckabee, I love him not just because he’s from Arkansas but because I think we needed someone with his values in the race – with Sarah’s values, too,” Carlton says. What about Barack Obama? “No way!” Mitt Romney? “Hmmm, don’t think so.” Tim Pawlenty or Jon Huntsman? “Who?”
Palin then moved on to Dillsburg, Penn. (named for the town’s first settler, Matthew Dill, according to a sign) and picked up what she called “what I heard is the best coffee in town” at Coffee Express on South Baltimore Street. She greeted cafe-goers and took a couple of questions from reporters. One diner told Palin that he’s concerned about government spending. “See reporters?” Palin, sporting a white jacket with a pink leaf pattern, an American and Israeli flag pin, black pencil skirt and heels, said as she turned to the 20 members of the media crammed into the coffee shop behind her. “Don’t ask me what the challenge is. They know: It’s to cut spending.”
“When are you gonna be on Dancing With the Stars?” another man asked.
“Oh my gosh, I’m the biggest klutz in the world,” Palin said. “They should ask Todd, because that’s what people tease him about all the time, ‘Is it Todd’s turn on dancing with the stars?’”
“You should make your announcement here in Dillsburg,” the same man pressed.
“Hahahha, okay,” Palin said, turning towards the coffee counter. “I’ll let you know.”
A reporter then asked Palin if she would do away with subsidies to oil and gas companies. Democrats – and some fiscal conservatives like House budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan – support such a move. But most Republicans oppose it, arguing the cost would be passed on to tax payers.
“I think all our energy subsidies need to be re-looked at and eliminated,” Palin said, warming to one of her favorite topics. “And we need to make sure that we’re investing and allowing our businesses to invest in reliable energy products right now that aren’t going to necessitate subsidies because, bottom line, we can’t afford it. We can’t afford it,” she repeated. “We’ve got to allow the free market to dictate what’s going to be most efficient and economical for our nation’s economy.”
Another reporter asked if she thought U.S. troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan?
“It sounds like they’re going to start to come home,” Palin replied. “And I’ve said, with Senator McCain and so many others that it’s the conditions on the ground that need to dictate when our troops start coming home instead of having some kind of political decision being made with a drop dead deadline to send our troops home. You know, showing our enemy our playbook, that doesn’t make any sense and it’s not good war strategy.”
“I agree with you 100%,” one of the men at the table said – they were the only customers in the coffee shop when Palin walked in. “Ask these guys,” Palin instructed the media. No one did. A minute later, Palin was heading to the door and reporters were running for their cars, worried they’d get left behind.
Palin packed up and headed to Philadelphia where she hurried through the Liberty Bell exhibit – so quickly in fact that few reporters had time to follow her – and left so quickly that only two press cars managed to keep up. She rolled on to Jersey City to stay the night, but soon after arriving, Palin snuck out for the most eyeball-grabbing event of her trip to date: A New York City pizza dinner with none other than Donald Trump.
Thus ended Day Three of Sarah Palin’s “learning tour” up the East Coast. Rumor has it she’ll visit the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday. After that, who knows.