Sarah Palin Comes to San Jose

By Lori Preuitt
|  Thursday, Oct 21, 2010  |  Updated 12:27 PM PDT
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Behind the Scenes of the Governor Debate

Newsday

Lots of people paid money to hear Sarah Palin speak in San Jose

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One of the most polarizing political figures in the country is in the Bay Area.

Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is here for two events in downtown San Jose.  She is speaking only to people willing to pay an entry price, but our photographer at a Thursday afternoon event said there were thousands of people who were willing to spend the money to hear the former governor of Alaska.

In the afternoon, Palin held a question-and-answer forum, that was followed by a three-hour dinner reception, which included a one-hour speech by the guest of honor.

It's worth noting that neither of the state's top Republicans running for office took part in the event. Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and Senate challenger Carly Fiorina said they had commitments that would keep them away from a series of Palin appearances this week.

The sponsor of Thursday's event was the Washington-based Liberty and Freedom Foundation, a conservative grassroots group. 

This is all part of a California political swing for Palin.  She will also appear in Orange County over the weekend at a Republican National Committee rally meant to whip up supporters for the final push towards the November elections.  Whitman and Fiorina will also be missing from that rally.

Representatives from both campaigns said their candidates have events scheduled elsewhere that day as well.

The campaigns may be following the cue of a recent poll that found 58 percent of California's registered voters hold a negative view of Palin.  The same poll showed two-thirds of independent voters -- who are essential to the campaign strategies of Whitman and Fiorina -- would be less inclined to support a candidate endorsed by Palin.

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