Palin, conservatives rally with Bachmann in Mpls

Speeches focused on small government and preserving the Constitution.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, left, and Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachman, right, wave to the crowd at the end of their rally on Wednesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, left, and Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachman, right, wave to the crowd at the end of their rally on Wednesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

James Nord

Railing against health care reform, high taxes and big government, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann joined forces before a roaring crowd of nearly 10,000 enthusiastic supporters Wednesday afternoon. The rally, which took place at the Minneapolis Convention Center, featured a litany of conservative figures supporting BachmannâÄôs bid for re-election in November. Speakers included Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Reps. Erik Paulsen and John Kline. The brunt of the speeches focused on long-held conservative principles: small government, low taxes and preserving the Constitution. These ideals were exemplified in criticism of recent Democrat-supported legislation and policies: national health care reform and the government takeover of auto giants and student loans. âÄúWe have a federal government thatâÄôs too big to succeed, we have national debt thatâÄôs too big to pay off, and we have national leaders that are too small to do anything about it,âÄù Pawlenty said, setting the tone for the rally. But the crowdâÄôs excitement was palpable when Palin joined Bachmann on stage following her speech. âÄúPart of it is sheâÄôs so much one of us,âÄù Bachmann said welcoming Palin on stage. âÄúAs absolutely drop dead gorgeous as this woman is on the outside, IâÄôm here to testify sheâÄôs 20 times more beautiful on the inside.âÄù Palin commended Bachmann for her commitment to the Republican party and her proposal to repeal health care reform in particular. âÄúYou better believe it, baby. Repeal is going to be what this girl is all about after November,âÄù Bachmann said, referring to herself. Palin denounced Democrats for calling Republicans the âÄúParty of No,âÄù saying it was a positive thing. âÄúWhat I like about Michele is she just doesnâÄôt tell them no, she tells them H-E-L-L no,âÄù Palin said. Bachmann was elected to Congress in MinnesotaâÄôs 6th District in 2006, beating DFL opponent Patty Wetterling by roughly 8 percent. She was re-elected in 2008, beating DFLer El Tinklenberg by 3 percent. Bachmann raised $1.5 million for her re-election through 2009 but has not yet announced her fundraising total this year. Her current DFL opponent, Tarryl Clark, said this week that she has raised roughly $1.1 million in the race. BachmannâÄôs serious tone contrasted with PalinâÄôs comedic approach while still espousing the same message. âÄúWhatâÄôs happening to politicians, especially in Washington, is theyâÄôre becoming addicted to âÄòopium,âÄô âÄù Palin said, explaining, âÄúO.P.M.: other peopleâÄôs money.âÄù Palin first came under the national spotlight in 2008 when she was selected as the running mate for former presidential candidate John McCain. President Barack Obama and running mate Joe Biden received roughly 10 percent more votes in Minnesota than the McCain-Palin ticket. WednesdayâÄôs crowd numbered in the thousands and expressed their support through rally signs, cheers and political regalia. Sarah Korthauer, a member of University of Minnesota College Republicans who was in attendance, said talk of jobs and the nationalization of student loans resonated most with her. âÄúI want a job when I get out of [college], and other people just want jobs now,âÄù Korthauer said. Dressed head-to-toe with red, white and blue apparel, Greg Copeland, chairman of the St. Paul Republican City Committee, said he admired Palin and Bachmann for their politics and personality. âÄú[TheyâÄôre] plainspoken and speak from the heart,âÄù he said. âÄúWe need jobs and need to give people hope and change,âÄù Jim Anderson of Oakdale, Minn., said he was âÄúsick and tired of the tax situation in [America].âÄù âÄúIf people would listen to [Palin and Bachmann], I think they would get on board,âÄù added Anderson. While there was an overwhelming presence of Republican followers, independents were in attendance as well. Mark Ungs of Minnetonka said he was getting to be more of an independent because he was weary of party politics. âÄúBut if I was to pick one, it would be Republican,âÄù he said. While the convention center was full of excitement and glee, a less supportive scene took place outside. James Fellman, a north Minneapolis resident, was among the crowd of roughly two dozen protestors. âÄúAll of the support here is based on racism,âÄù Fellman said. âÄúPeople canâÄôt stand a black man smarter than them.âÄù During her speech, Palin addressed the growing role of women in the Republican Party and said that race was unimportant. Other protesters carried a lighter tone. Longtime activist Roxanne Mindeman of Apple Valley said she was protesting to support the Constitution. âÄúMichele Bachmann rails against the census, which is constitutional,âÄù said Mindeman. âÄúThey say they support [the Constitution] because people like it, but they donâÄôt live up to it âĦ We have a responsibility to call them out.âÄù