Today was the last day of Sarah Palin's book tour.
And it was to be held in the "picturesque" town of Wasilla, at the Curtis C. Menard Memorial Sports Center.
How could I miss it?
So Dennis Zaki and I loaded up his car and headed out to cover this historic event. (Little did we know that dark forces were conspiring against us.)
The drive to Wasilla was pleasant enough. Dennis and I talked about a variety of subjects, including the latest rumors circulating about Palin and which ones had some validity, and which ones did not.
When we arrived at the Sports Center we were somewhat surprised at the size of the place and that the parking lot was almost completely full.
"Wow I guess she DOES still have a lot of fans out here!" I exclaimed.
I helped Dennis gather his video equipment and we headed for the door. Once there I took a deep cleansing breath and mentally prepared myself to enter the heart of Palin-palooza central, and then barged right on through the doors. (I think God had opened it a crack just for me.)
Once inside we were quickly directed to check in with the person in charge of media. As we walked over I saw the size of the crowd waiting to greet Palin and get her signature. I estimated it to be well over a thousand Wasillians, all clutching several copies of "Going Rogue" and waiting to see the local girl who ran their town, ran their state, ran for Vice President, and ultimately ran away.
As I prepared to sign in as a media representative I heard the crowd erupt in cheers as Sarah Palin made her entrance. I could not see her as she was above us in the balcony area, apparently looking down lovingly at her vacant eyed supporters, but there was little doubt that she had made her grand entrance.
There were a few calls of "Sarah, Sarah" before the line started to wind its way up the stairs to have their audience with Queen Ester of the North. I thought "We better hurry if we are going to find a good place to set up our camera."
My first hint that something may be wrong down in Who-ville was when I was asked for my ID, not once, but twice. Then as Dennis and I were about to sign in, and the lady behind the desk took our picture with a little digital camera! WTF? I have never had anybody do that before at any other event that I attended as a media representative. I wondered why there was such tight security, unaware that my question was only seconds from being answered.
Almost as soon as I had my picture taken I felt a hand on my shoulder.
I turned around and came face to face with a local police officer who quickly apologized and then informed me that I was on the "banned list".
"I am on the WHAT list?" I asked.
"The banned list sir, I am going to have to escort you off of the property. This is a private event."
I looked over and saw Dennis talking to somebody else, and clearly receiving the same information.
On my way toward the door I stopped to wait for Dennis so that we could leave together, however the police officer again placed his hand on my shoulder and insisted that I continue on toward the exit. They clearly were under orders to get me off of the premises as quickly as possible.
Outside Dennis joined me and told me that he had learned that both he and I were on the banned list, along with Shannyn Moore, and that they even had pictures of us to reference for quick identification.
Another reporter headed toward the entrance overheard us and asked us if there were REALLY a "banned list". "Yes there is, and we are on it" was our reply. "I have never heard of that!" she said. Welcome to Sarah Palin's Wasilla.
So we loaded up our gear and back to Anchorage we drove. It did not take more than a few minutes before I started to laugh uncontrollably at the absurdity of being banned from Sarah Palin's last book signing. She had not been able to stop us from continuing to write about her, she had not been able to keep us off of Elmendorf, but by God she could damn well have us kicked out of the Curtis C. Menard Memorial Sports Center!
Yep that sure showed us.
Sarah Palin has done everything she could to keep the media as far away as possible during this book tour, however I do believe that this is the first time she actually had anybody listed by name. THAT honor she reserves for the Alaska bloggers. And do you know what? That is an honor that I will wear proudly!
So now we know that, just like Richard M. Nixon, Sarah Palin has her very own enemies list.
The only question is, who else has made that list?
Update: Here is video of Sarah making her way to sit down an start signing her "Book of Lies". About the time you hear that big cheer go up from the crowd is when Dennis and I are getting the bum's rush.
And I bet when she picks up her Blackberry is when she got the news that we had been evicted.
(H/T to GinaM for the video.)
Update 2: Thanks for the link Mr. Sullivan!
Update 3: I just got off of the phone with an ADN reporter who tells me that the banned list only contained FOUR names!
Hmm, now let's see. There was Shannyn, Dennis, and me, and that makes three. Now who do you think was lucky number four?
Update 4: BTW it turns out that Harper Collins paid for the rental of the sports center AND provided our names to security. And that my friends is the Sarah Palin version of "plausible deniability".
"I didn't do it dammit! My publisher did it! Nope not MY fault!"