By Abdon M. Pallasch
Sun-Times Political Reporter
ROSEMONT, ILL.--Former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin brought 4,000 Chicago-area fans to their feet Wednesday night, attacking President Obama,
corrupt Illinois politicians and a Highland Park school that told its girl's basketball team it could not go to the play-offs in Arizona.
"Them are fighting words when you say a girl can't play in the basketball tournament, so were going to see about that," she said. Noting that the girls had bake sales to pay their way to the national finals for the first time in 26 years, Palin suggested conservatives could get the girls to Arizona despite the school board which opposes Arizona's strict new laws against illegal aliens.
Palin noted the school is still sponsoring a trip to China.
"You know how they treat girls in China?" Palin said. "It makes no sense. Even
if they have to do this on our own... If the kids have to 'Go Rogue' girls."
Palin led off by saying, "I'm really glad to be here on the president's home
turf... The eyes of America are on this state, watching what will come out of the
political process and the 2012 elections: If it can be done in Illinois, it can
be done anywhere."
She thanked Illinois for giving the world Ronald Reagan and the Tea Party
"The 21st Century Tea Party movement, it starts right here in Chicago," Palin
said to cheers. "This is where it starts. So Illinois, your place in the history
of this grass movement has been instrumental."
Former Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin impressed Illinois' top Republicans willing to spend $500 to $25,000 at a fund-raiser for the state party Wednesday.
"We talked about the situation in Illinois - the deficit, the high taxes, job creation," said the party's nominee for governor, State Sen. Bill Brady. "I told her, 'Your being here is helping rally the troops and get the message out.'"
Brady and his lieutenant governor candidate Jason Plummer both made last-minute decisions to attend Palin's fundraiser. But GOP Senate candidate Mark Kirk, who has tried to cultivate a more moderate image, said his congressional voting obligations would keep him in Washington, D.C. Wednesday night.
"She came in and was gracious enough to help us raise money," said State Sen. Jim Durkin. "It was very low-key, no speeches, she just met with people and talked with them. She said we have the chance to win many seats. People were very eager to take out their check books."
Durkin brought a picture he took with Palin, himself and Mike Ditka at a Latrobe, Penn., rally a week before the 2008 election, which Palin signed for him.
"She said this could be a good year for Republicans," State Party chairman Patrick Brady said.
"It was a moving experience," said former candidate for governor Adam Andrzejewski. "She was very personable. She was encouraging us to keep up the fight for reform in Illinois."