After her Tea Party Convention speech this weekend, Sarah Palin flew to Houston to continue campaigning for herself. The news focused on her appearance at a Rick Perry rally, but Palin also appeared at another event in Houston: a "motivational seminar" at the Toyota Center at which she was the featured attraction.
The other event here was the motivational seminar at Toyota Center. The event seemed to be grossly oversold (Tickets were just $19 for entire office staffs to attend), perhaps because organizers thought people would only attend parts of the all-day event.
But no one told attendees that Palin would be speaking at 8 a.m., so bitterly disappointed fans standing in line at 10:30 a.m. weren't happy.
Palin presumably was, having pocketed her fee for a 30-minute speech.
C&L had one of its friends at the seminar: Josef Jarod is a reporter in Houston, Texas with a background that includes work for Fox and CBS News. He presently is on a "mystery" assignment in the Bayou City.
Here's Jarod's report:
"I wasn't motivated" one man said to me in the elevator as I left the speech, "she sounded un-prepared and erratic and focused an awful lot on her script."
It was 9:30 AM, and Just half an hour earlier Sarah Palin had wrapped up a "motivational" speech about "achievement" at the Toyota Center in downtown Houston. Though Palin was to be the headliner of the all day business seminar which featured a dozen other speakers like General Colin Powell and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. She was the first to perform.
"I was also kind of amazed that they let her go first, I mean, we weren't even all seated yet when she started." Palin started her speech at 8:00 AM sharp, she was the first person out of the gates - there wasn't even a Master of Ceremonies. And given the fact that morning rush hour in Houston was exceptionally bad today, it meant there were going to be a lot of unhappy ticket holders(particularly as some paid as much as two hundred dollars.)
"She already gave her speech?!" One man exclaimed in the lobby after arriving minutes too late, "What the hell, I was stuck in traffic... why wouldn't they save the best for last?!" Several elderly women with Palin lapel pins who were trying desperately to hurry through security were also distraught when they heard the news, "Ohhh Noooooo! Nooooo!"
Sarah Palin had another engagement in California later in the afternoon and didn't have a minute to waste. The speech itself seemed more like a sermon, Sarah frequently attributed "God" and "Jesus Christ" to lifting her out of despair. She gave several long rambling examples of tough times in Alaska, during which she would occasionally lose her footing and immediately jump to praising the state for it's beauty.
She also focused heavily on her trade mark lines as a crutch. During one incredulous example of a way to get motivated describing a bed time fairy-tale she told to her daughter: "Last night Piper asked me to tell her a bedtime story and I said 'YOU BETCHA,' let me tell you about two brothers named Abel and Cain..."
The crowd was made up mostly of office-workers who opted to come to an "all day business seminar" instead of sitting in their cubicle and so the fanfare was minimal. As I gazed around the audience from my VIP seat - just feet away from the stage - I had the impression that most of those sitting near me were insulted. Sarah Palin was clearly still in campaign mode, but this wasn't a crowd looking for a stump speech.
She ended by spending several minutes with her head down reading from the podium and gave a very abrupt and final "God Bless America" before departing the stage. As she left one man with a thick country drawl leaned over to me and said "you know, she's not that impressive in person."
She's not that impressive on TV, either.