UPDATE: Sarah Palin Travels To Madison

UPDATED Saturday, April 16, 2011 -- 4:55pm
By Zac Schultz

Madison: An estimated crowd of 6,500 people sat through sleet and wind to wait for conservative favorite Sarah Palin to take the stage Saturday at a tax day tea party rally.

But not everyone was waiting for the same reasons. A solid core of tea partiers were near the stage, but they were flanked on all sides by union protesters who have dominated protests at the Capitol for months.

The tea party folks had the microphone, but the crowd had the volume, literally and figuratively. They made it difficult to hear unless you were with a hundred feet of the speakers.

As Sarah Palin was introduced , the vocal crowd took it up a notch, shouting and booing loud enough to drown out the loudspeakers.

It didn't bother Palin. "These are the front lines in the battle for the future of our country."

She didn't ignore the fact the tea partiers were surrounded by union supporters. Instead, she geared the first part of her speech towards them "I'm here today as a patriot, as a taxpayer, as a former union member and as the wife of a union member."

Palin co-opted the union battle cry of solidarity. "Real solidarity means coming together for the common good. This tea party is real solidarity."

She complimented Governor Walker and the legislature. "I'm in Madison today because this is where real courage and integrity can be found."

Not that anybody in the back could actually hear what she was saying. Standing no more than 100 yards away from the stage, the only evidence she was speaking was the video on the jumbotron behind her.

Many of the protesters waited through two hours of nasty weather simply to shout her down. "Nobody wants to hear her at the state capitol," says Amy Horton of Madison. "There are about a hundred people over there (in the tea party crowd) and the rest of us have been fighting for eight weeks to have our voices heard. We do not want to hear hers."

"She was paid to come in here and talk, we don't need to hear it," says a shivering Madeleine Wieder from Watertown. "We know what the tea partiers have to say and we don't need to hear it."

As Palin went on, her speech shifted towards President Obama. "You ignored us in 2010 but you cannot ignore us in 2012."

Palin could end up facing the president in the next election and knows Wisconsin is a battleground state. "The 2012 election begins here."

Many of the tea partiers said they enjoyed the speech, and had differing reactions to the union crowd.

"You gotta live with it," says Matt Jones of Sheboygan. "We're at a time when things are changing there's always going to be friction. You gotta try to keep it peaceful. I didn't like the little bit of pushing and stuff I saw."

"The crowd was very polite and responded it was unfortunate there was so much background noise but the kids have got to play and we're used to listening to the kids play," says Deanna Young of Wauwatosa.

One man who wouldn't give out his name called the union protesters rude. "Blowing them horns they sound like a bunch of Vikings fans, they wanna do that go to Minnesota."

The one thing everyone could agree on, it was worth the wait to watch Palin take the stage, even if not everybody heard what she said.


UPDATED: Saturday, April 16, 2011 --- 3:32p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Sarah Palin says Wisconsin's governor is doing the right thing by demanding more concessions from public unions.

The former GOP vice presidential candidate appeared at a tea party rally outside the state Capitol building on Saturday afternoon. She ignored a snowstorm to give a short speech in front of hundreds of tea partyers. She says Republican Gov. Scott Walker is trying to save public workers' jobs.

Walker signed a law last month that calls for most public workers to make larger contributions to their health care and pensions. The measure also strips them of almost all their collective bargaining rights.

A throng of labor supporters still smarting over the law surrounded the tea partyers and tried in vain to drown Palin out with their chanting.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


UPDATED Saturday, April 16, 2011 --- 12:55 p.m.

From the DOA:

The Wisconsin Capitol Police estimate that about 6,500 people were outside on the Capitol grounds and vicinity at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. There is no way to accurately determine how many people were attending any specific event.

As of 12:30 p.m. there were no law enforcement incidents or arrests on the Capitol grounds and vicinity.

– Capitol Police


UPDATED Saturday, April 16, 2011 --- 12:30 p.m.

Labor protesters surround tea party at Palin rally
By TODD RICHMOND,Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Hundreds of pro-union labor supporters surrounded smaller groups of tea party members waiting for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to appear outside the Wisconsin Capitol.

Palin was scheduled to take the stage at noon for the tea party's annual tax day rally.

But labor supporters still smarting from the passage of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's polarizing bill eliminating most public employees' collective bargaining rights have been drowning out Palin's supporters, shouting, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Scott Walker's got to go."

Walker is a Republican, and Palin is a former Republican vice presidential candidate.

People on the edges of the rally have been arguing with each other over the size of government and corporate power.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


UPDATED Saturday, April 16, 2011 --- 6:00 a.m.

Palin set to speak at Wis. tea party rally

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The scene at the Wisconsin state Capitol could be a wild one on Saturday.

Former GOP vice presidential candidate-turned-celebrity Sarah Palin is set to speak at the tea party's annual tax day rally in front of the building.

Liberal leaders still smarting from the bruising fight over Republican Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining law are mobilizing a counter-rally. They're urging people to show up with puppets to underscore accusations Walker and Palin do corporations' bidding. They also want people to bring cowbells and sleigh bells.

More than 1,600 people have signed onto the counter-rally's Facebook page promising to attend.

Both rallies are set to begin at noon.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


UPDATED Friday, April 15, 2011 --- 4:45 p.m.

Press Release from Wisconsin Wave:

(Madison) -- The Wisconsin Wave has announced the details for a mass counterprotest against Sarah Palin tomorrow at the Wisconsin's State Capitol.

Calling Palin an "expensive puppet" of big corporations, the Wave plans a permitted rally at noon, Saturday, on the State Street side of the Capitol Square, complete with speeches from Madison mayor-elect Paul Soglin, State Senator Jon Erpenbach, labor and student leaders, and others, as well as music, spoken word, and comedy.

"Wisconsinites didn't create this economic crisis, Wall Street did, and now Wall Street is sending their spokesperson to Madison to muddy the waters; we're smarter than that, we're not buying it." said Ben Manski, Executive Director of the Liberty Tree Foundation and coordinator of the Wisconsin Wave.

In an attempt to defuse a potentially tense situation, the Wave is urging Wisconsinites to bring bells and puppets to its rally; the bells, whether cowbells, jinglebells, or otherwise, are to symbolize Wisconsin's desire for genuine liberty and democracy; the puppets as a show of our recognition of who Palin is and why she has been paid to come here.


UPDATED Thursday, April 14, 2011 --- 10:10 p.m.
by Tim Elliott

Sarah Palin is coming to town. She's set to attend a tea party rally at the capitol on Saturday. But a counter-rally is also in the works.

The former governor of Alaska and vice presidential candidate is the keynote speaker at the Americans for Prosperity annual tax day rally. And love her or hate her, Sarah Palin is sure to draw a big crowd on Saturday.

“Obviously Governor Palin is a large draw. She gets crowds everywhere she goes and people want to hear her speak,” said Matt Seaholm, the state director for Americans for Prosperity.

It should be another busy weekend in downtown Madison.

“Our folks are still fired up,” said Seaholm

Sarah Palin will address fellow conservatives from the capitol steps on Saturday.

“Wisconsin is really the center of the political battles right now and she wanted to come show her support for what we're doing,” he added.

Seaholm helped organize the tea party rally and says their message is simple.

“We're the taxpayers, we're the bosses. Smaller government, lower taxes, and getting Wisconsin and American back on the path towards fiscal sanity and job growth,”

The tea party rally starts and noon and at the same time, a counter rally will be held on the other side of the capitol.

“Yeah, sure, we welcome Sarah Palin to come to town, but the majority of Americans don't take Sarah Palin seriously,” said Tag Evers, who is organizing the counter rally.

“We are expecting a turnout in the thousands. Sarah Palin is a polarizing person,” said Patrick Depula, also organizing the counter rally.

Evers and Depula say Palin's visit is a joke.

“Live from Madison, Wisconsin, it's Saturday night live!” said Depula.

But Seaholm believe Palin's presence will appeal to most people.

“She speaks her mind. One thing she doesn't do, she doesn't pull any punches. Because of that, a lot of folks who agree with her, appreciate it,” said Seaholm.

Madison police say they have not been contacted by the Palin camp about providing any extra security.

The capitol police, however, say they'll be out in full force.


UPDATED Thursday, April 14, 2011 --- 1:52 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Sarah Palin is set to attend a tea party rally in Madison this weekend.

The former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate is set to speak at the tea party's annual tax day rally Saturday at the state Capitol. The rally is designed to correspond with the day taxes are due. The event is scheduled to begin at noon.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party, still stinging over Gov. Scott Walker's divisive collective bargaining law, says in a statement that Palin and Walker complement each perfectly because each of them wants to lower wages and benefits for Wisconsin families.

A Walker spokesman didn't immediately return messages. Palin's attorney had no immediate comment on the Democrats' statement.

Liberal groups already were making plans for a counter-rally on Thursday afternoon.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


UPDATED Thursday, April 14, 2011 --- 1:24 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Sarah Palin is set to attend a tea party rally in Madison this weekend.

The former Alaska governor is set to speak at the tea party's annual tax day rally Saturday at the state Capitol. The rally is designed to correspond with the day taxes are due.

The event is scheduled to begin at noon.

Palin rose to prominence as Republican John McCain's running mate during his 2008 presidential bid.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


UPDATED Thursday, April 14, 2011 --- 1:18 p.m.

Press release from the groups Americans for Prosperity and The Founders Compass:


MADISON , WI - Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin will deliver the keynote address at the Madison Tea Party.

On Saturday, April 16th, Governor Palin will rally tea party patriots from throughout Wisconsin at the state Capitol in Madison to celebrate past victories and to protect Wisconsin's future. Joining Governor Palin will be talk show host James T. Harris and John Fund columnist for The Wall Street Journal. Fund is an author, pundit and columnist who pens the weekly "On the Trail" column for OpinionJournal.com.

The April 16th Taxpayer Tea Party in Madison will feature :
Sarah Palin - Former Alaskan Governor, VP Candidate, pundit, author
John Fund - The Wall Street Journal
Tony Katz - Pajamas Media
James T. Harris - talk show host
Chuck Day - vocalist
Nancy Mistele - The Founders' Compass
Matt Seaholm - Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin State Director
Vicki McKenna - WIBA/WISN rock star of radio
Meg Ellefson - Wausau Tea Party
Kim Simac - talk show host, Northwoods Patriots
Tiger & Shannon Heberling - Stood up to union threats
Nancy Milholland - Racine Tea Party
Ross Brown - We the People Madison chapter

The Wisconsin State Director of Americans for Prosperity, Matt Seaholm, says he is excited Governor Palin will be attending the tea party on Saturday.

"Governor Palin is a strong voice for taxpayers and for reforming government to make it more accountable," Seaholm said, "She doesn't pull punches and is one of the most influential and followed commentators in politics today."

WHAT: Tax Day Tea Party Rally
WHEN: Saturday, April 16, 2011 Noon - 2:00 PM
WHERE: Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison, Wisconsin


Posted Thursday, April 14, 2011 --- 12:34 p.m.

Sarah Palin will be in Madison Saturday for a Tea Party Rally.

Our news partner WIBA reports that the group Americans for Prosperity says that Palin will attend the event that will take place on the Capitol Square Saturday between noon and 2 p.m.