I didn’t get great pics because my good camera is having problems recognizing the photo card (ggrrhh), but these should convey the feel of the event at Williams Arena in Greenville last night. I got there early, a bit after 3:00, because I heard the lines were already horrible early in the day, even though doors were not opening until 4:30. When I arrived the lines were really crazy long. One volunteer told me there were people lined up at 11:30 in the morning. He said he went to get tickets for the event on Friday, but they were already all gone. He said people were crying because they were not able to get them. He and some other students from J.H. Rose High School (pictured after the jump) were working the event as McCain-Palin volunteers. The building filled slowly as the lengthy secret service security was conducted at the door. I was “wanded” and had my camera bag sniffed by a gorgeous police dog.
I sat in the media section with Bob Owens (Confederate Yankee) and we had a good time catching up and looking for crazy protestors. We were disappointed to only see one all night — a man outside the arena holding a “McSame” sign. [Update: It would have been worth putting up with some crazies just to hear a response like this.]
Speakers at the event included local candidates, as well as GOP candidate for governor Pat McCrory, and Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr. McCrory gave a really energetic speech the crowd loved and Elizabeth Dole spoke better than I have ever heard her. She got the most applause when talking about not letting a New York Senator buy a North Carolina election (referring to Democratic Senatorial Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer who has sent over $10 million into NC in an effort to defeat Dole) and when recounting a memory of Ronald Reagan telling her that the way he handled the pressure of the job of President was by “looking up” to God for support and comfort. Burr and his wife came onstage to introduce Palin.
The crowd was incredibly pumped and loud. Palin arrived onstage a little after 7 p.m. and received a tremendous welcome. Her speech was often interrupted by supporters yelling things like “We love you Sarah” and “Sarah for President.” I have a feeling we are going to be hearing a lot more of that chant in the years to come.
Update: I forgot to say how stunning Palin is in person. She looked much more polished and more lovely than my pictures convey. She carries herself incredibly well and her suit was gorgeous (sorry, but that is the first thing I noticed when she stepped onstage). After speaking she went down onto the floor into the crowd and I left before she emerged.