"I thought it was kind of silly," Kern said of the protests against her. "But this is America, and they have that right."
The Oklahoma City lawmaker's devotion to Palin was evident. The Republican Kern was one of the brave souls bearing out the intense winter cold that camped outside the bookstore to be one of the first to get Palin's penmanship. It was almost like witnessing a hobo camp, except for the expensive sunglasses and cups of latte.
Apparently, being an elected official doesn't always mean special treatment. That wasn't the case, however, for Gary Jones, the head of the state Republican Party. He arrived about an hour before Palin and was immediately allowed to wait inside the warm store while Kern was left to wait outside in her coat.
Even protesters had to admit the event was impressive.
"There are a lot of people here tonight," Johnson said. "I'm surprised we haven't gotten a little more harassment than we have gotten."
But shortly after Johnson's words, a young Palin college student supporter walked over to the protesters and voiced her opinion.
"You want to kill children," the supporter said.
Expressions were not just kept inside the parking lot at Hastings. One passerby yelled, "Get out of there, it's dangerous with all those concealed carries!" While one Palinite shouted to the protesters, "Go back to Russia!"
But it wasn't just the cold with which Palin supporters had to contend. Frustration seeped into the pro-Palin ranks throughout the day. The issue of wristbands and who would get in for an autograph plagued the store manager for hours. Confusion reigned as people questioned just how many wristbands would be handed out. Two camps formed like star-bellied and non-star-bellied Dr. Seuss Sneetches. A wristband Sneetch meant you would get Palin's autograph.
Judy Johnson of Norman arrived at 7 a.m. Dec. 3 to get in line for her wristband.
"I thought they were going to give out a thousand wristbands, so I came this morning just to get a wristband and go back home," she said. "There were 1,200 people in line, and they gave out 500, and the other 700 were very upset, so a lot of them left."
Inside, store personnel and Palin staff discussed the non-wristband crowd, which one staffer described as "mad as wet hens." The staff agreed not to give out specifics and keep the day filled with a positive message.
CRANKING UP TUNES
To keep things lively, a DJ came out and started cranking up the tunes. But the music selection at first did not seem suited for a Palin crowd. Songs like Rod Stewart's "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy," Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and Tone Loc's "Wild Thing" were not crowd-pleasers. A change was made, and Moore's Toby Keith saved the day.
While waiting with the non-wristband Sneetches in the middle of the parking lot, Judy Johnson gave a warning.
"I will just take my books back and get a refund if I don't get them signed," she said. "I will get it cheaper somewhere else."
Wallace was unsure her trip from Altus would pay off when she first arrived the previous evening.
"They were already in tents," she said. "I left and came back before 6 this morning, and it was double-wrapped (around the building), and I got placed in the alley. About 7:30 they ran out of wristbands, so I went home and got warm, and we have come back and forth all day just kind of checking the situation out."
But the night would end positively for Judy and everyone else wanting just a few seconds with Sarah. After the wristband crew went through, Palin decided to stick around to keep signing.
It was about 8 p.m. when the good news came.
"All of sudden, they came out and said,