West Allis — Less than two weeks before the release of her memoir “Going Rogue,” former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was on message during a Friday night speech to anti-abortion activists at State Fair Park.
“Let’s simplify, we’re pro children,” Palin told thousands of people who attended a $30-a-ticket fund-raiser for the Wisconsin Right to Life Education Fund.
In a personal and passionate speech, Palin lauded the state’s anti-abortion movement for legislative advances achieved over time.
“We were told to sit down and shut up,” Palin said. “Wisconsin, you went rogue.”
Palin spoke movingly of her youngest son, Trig, who has Down syndrome. She recalled that when she was pregnant, she underwent an ultrasound and the technician told her, “I see boy parts.”
Later, the technician told her that the baby’s neck “is a little bit thicker,” an indication that there might be an extra chromosome. A few days later, Down syndrome was confirmed.
“I was scared,” Palin said, adding that she asked her husband, Todd, “Why us?” He responded, “Why not?”
“My family life is much richer thanks to this beautiful baby boy Trig,” Palin said. “He is awesome.”
The speech marked Palin’s re-emergence on the national scene. The event was emceed by WTMJ-AM radio personality Charlie Sykes. The Journal Sentinel purchased a ticket to cover Palin’s speech.
Security was tight at the Wisconsin Exposition Center. Spectators were told beforehand that prohibited items included cell phones, recording devices, video and still cameras, as well as strollers and car seats. A line stretched across the length of the facility and out to a parking lot as spectators waited patiently to pass through security.
Once they got inside, spectators didn’t have to wait long for what they came for – Palin’s speech. The address began with Palin asking for a moment of silence to remember those killed in Thursday’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas.
It’s hard to believe, but Palin is still something of a national newcomer, only a few years removed from her stunning rise from relative obscurity in Alaska to the Republican Party’s 2008 vice presidential nomination.
Among the high points of last year’s presidential campaign was the joint appearance Palin and Republican presidential nominee John McCain made in Cedarburg, a day after they accepted their party’s nomination at the party’s convention in Minneapolis.
Palin remains a potent force in national politics even after her abrupt resignation as Alaska’s governor. Her future political plans – including the possibility of a presidential run in 2012 – remain unclear. She has kept in touch with tens of thousands of her admirers through online social networking tools.
She used President Barack Obama‘s mantra of change to make her political points.
“Let’s talk about change we can believe in,” Palin said. “Friends, a majority of Americans identify as pro life, and thank God for that.”
She called health care reform a “government takeover” and called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to at least allow a congressional vote to prohibit federally sponsored health insurance plans to pay for abortions.
“I feel real change is just up ahead,” she said. “Wisconsin, we need to ramp it up.”
She brought the crowd to its feet with a simple closing line: “Don’t let anyone ever tell you to sit down and shut up.”
In some ways, the Wisconsin event was a dress rehearsal for Palin’s book tour, which kicks off with a Nov. 16 appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show. The book has been a bestseller for more than a month on Amazon, the online bookseller.
Palin wrote Tuesday on her Facebook page that she is “also hoping to have the opportunity to talk with Bill O’Reilly, Barbara Walters, Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Miller, Tammy Bruce, and others, including local Alaska personalities Bob & Mark and Eddie Burke. (Variety is the spice of life!)”
“Can’t wait to hit the road,” she added. “Can’t wait to see you!”
Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel