McCain/Palin Campaign Rally In Lee’s Summit, MO

First of all, if you want to get really good pictures of Sarah Palin you have to get up earlier than 6:00a.m., and be willing to wait in line for five hours like Eddiebear’s Mrs. did in St. Louis, the other day. Now those are some good pictures.

McCain and Palin were scheduled to speak at 10:30, and the doors were supposed to open at 8:30. I got to the rally site at 7:30 a.m., and was astounded by the massive amount of people already waiting in line:

It wasn’t long before the line behind me was just as long:

I struck up a conversation with the people who were waiting in line near me, which was fun, because, obviously, they were mostly die hard Republicans like me. A young lady, a senior in high school got in line at the same time I did. She had skipped school  to get a closer look at Sarah Palin. The guys I talked  with had a familiar story: They were on the fence until McCain nominated Palin. Now they were voting FOR the Republican ticket…not AGAINST the Democrat one. In short, they were psyched.

I spotted my Dermatologist not far ahead of me in line, and several other familiar faces. And there were plenty of vendors working the crowd with McCain/Palin campaign paraphernalia. One of the guys I had been chatting with spotted me $5.00 for a McCain/Palin button, when he heard me say that I hadn’t brought any cash. He totally insisted!

The Pavillion which was hosting the rally could only hold 3000 people, and none of us were sure that we were going to make it…the line went on and on and wound around out of sight. And still people kept coming and coming…many of them brought their own signs:

This one said “we vote for Trig’s mom”.

Finally it was announced that the overflow would have a spot outside where speakers would broadcast the speeches. Most of the people behind us started heading for the overflow site, causing some of the people in line around me dismay…what if we don’t make it in? All those people who came later will now be in front!

But we edged closer and closer to the door:

I felt like Quint in the movie Jaws when he told the story of the downing of USS Indianapolis: “You know that was the time I was most frightened? Waitin’ for my turn”. We were so sure they would cut it off right in front of us.

This Piper look-alike drew this picture while she was waiting in the long line. I also noticed a few Palin updo’s while we were waiting….I think a trend has been born.

After about another hour of waiting, the rally started with local pol, and PUMA Susan Tripp, a former Hillary supporter from Parkville, who now is solidly behind McCain. When she mentioned Hillary Clinton, she was greeted with polite applause, (and a few snickers).

After several more local pols including the always popular Senator Kit Bond, there was a musical interlude, (yes “Celebration” was played) and then finally, the main event:

The crowd chanted, “Sarah! Sarah! Sarah”!

A video of the speech in part:

McCain gave a good speech, too, but there’s nothing on Youtube, yet.

The KC Star’s Prime Buzz characterized the visit thus:

Palin-McCain tell Lee’s Summit that they’re better than the Dems

(Wait a minute!…..Palin/McCain? Did someone at The Star catch Palin fevah?)

Heh. I have no problem with that.

As political rallies go, I give it a 6.5. The venue was too small for the crowd, it was standing room only, and all the people blocked the view. That guy in the picture with the dark shirt, kept moving his head  right into my frame, completely blocking my view. It wasn’t his fault, but it was annoying. Plus, Sarah Palin needs to come up with some new lines because some of the old ones like “I said thanks..but no thanks to that bridge to nowhere,” are getting stale. But she had tons of charisma, and said her lines flawlessly, only periodically looking down at her notes.

Afterwards, (correction: it was before) they graciously went outside and waved to the overflow crowd:

(Photo/Stephan Savoia)

I haven’t seen any reporting (online) on the size of the turnout, but my official guestimate would be 3,000 inside, and another 2,000 outside.

When it was all over, people headed home with their new McCain Palin Yard signs:

But they had to pass this on their way to their cars:

Look at the ages of some of these protesters. What kind of person has their kid skip school to protest an opposing party’s political rally, I ask you?

The McCain/Palin troops were a feisty bunch, who jeered at the sullen group as they passed.  One of the signs said “Get the facts on Palin”. I countered with, “Let’s hear what you got, come on let’s hear it….any more dirt on baby Trig???”

Fun times, fun times! (Seriously though, here’s a great source of 71[and counting] debunked Palin smears. Or you can try Fact Check.Org, which is now on the case).

I was home in time to see my afternoon kindergartner off on his bus to school.

UPDATE:

Steve Kraske at Prime Buzz reports on the crowd size:

While about 2,000 supporters awaited the ticket inside, at least that many, and probably more, stood in a light rain outside to catch a glimpse of a woman who — in 10 short days — shot from obscure governor to the biggest name in American politics.

My understanding was that they would allow 3000 inside, but that was just based on heresay. Still, everyone was using that same 3000 number.

UPDATE II:

Some Freepers were there, having a freeping good time!

More pictures and video at Theodore’s World.

Also, click here if you would like to see a live webcast of the McCain/Palin rally this morning in Lebanon, Ohio.

Ohio is on fiiiya for McCain/Palin.

UPDATE III:

I was right about the 3000 number inside. Via  Chatterbox of Conservatism With Heart, we find that is the official estimate from the McCain campaign:

Doors to the event opened at 8:30 a.m. and an estimated 3,000 people got inside, according to Wendy Riemann, the Midwest Regional Communications Director for the McCain campaign.

However, instead of going home to watch the event on television, the overflow crowd gathered in the parking lot and listened to the speeches on speakers. Before entering the building, McCain and Palin stopped to shake hands and greet their supporters.

Riemann estimated another 3,000 listened to the rally outside.

If my math is correct, that amounts to 6,000! Wow, I underguesstimated by 1000.

Thanks to Rivka from Right Think who says:

These numbers seemed unfathomable to the campaign just last month.

So what happened?

Two words: Sarah Palin.

Yep. Does this mean we can stop hearing about the ol’ Eagleton option, now?

Well played, Obama camp.

UPDATE IV:

Holy cow! Pennsylvania may be turning  magenta:

It’s official, Sen. John McCain’s crowds are now Obama-sized.

While McCain got a little taste of a rock star style crowd at a rally in Sturgis, the annual ultimate motorcycle rally held in South Dakota, that crowd was there for a lot more reasons than McCain.

Crowds have never been a problem for McCain’s rival Sen. Barack Obama — for McCain, well, not so much.

But that has changed since the surprise announcement of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska less than two weeks ago.

Franklin & Marshal political science professor Terry Madonna said as he wandered around the crowd that “the Palin selection for veep has motivated a base of core voters in ways that were completely unexpected. It has turned a luke warm electorate to an electorate that possesses an indescribable energy level.”

The event is sold out with 7,500 tickets distributed within 48 hours. According to a Pennsylvania State trooper, they have an over-flow section in the parking lot for an expected 4,000 more.

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