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Sarah Palin hits Highland Park High School for canceling Arizona trip over immigration law


Chicago Sun-Times Political Reporter

ROSEMONT, ILL.--With 4,000 Chicago area fans cheering her on, former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin trained her sights Wednesday night on Highland Park High School, which conservative talk radio has targeted for canceling the girls basketball team's trip to a tournament in Arizona.

"Them are fightin' words when you say a girl can't play in the basketball tournament ... for political reasons ... so we're going to see about that," Palin said.

Arizona's strict crackdown on illegal immigration is projected to cost that state millions in tourism from such cancellations.

"I said, 'Wait, I thought it was already a crime for an illegal alien [to be here]," Palin said to raucous cheers at the Rosemont Theatre.

Noting that the Highland Park girls held 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 High School District 113's decision to keep the girls home this winter.

Quoting her book "Going Rogue," Palin said: "Everything I ever needed to know, I learned on the Basketball Court: self-discipline, setting goals, teamwork, responsibility." She later added: "faith."

Palin said 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."

In an earlier e-mail to Pioneer Press, school district assistant superintendent Sue Hebson said the decision is not a political statement, but rather for the safety of students.

"District 113 boasts a diverse student population and, as a school district, we believe in equal opportunity for each of our students," she said. "We cannot commit at this time to playing at a venue where some of our students' safety or liberty might be placed at risk because of state immigration law."

For 70 minutes, Palin optimistically preached patriotism, praised Illinois for giving the world Ronald Reagan and the Tea Party movement; slammed President Obama, moderation and Illinois' corrupt politicians -- who she said reminded her of the people she kicked out of office back home in "Alaahhhska."

Palin spoke in a black leather jacket and mini-skirt with her brunette hair hanging down, and a mammoth American flag behind her.

The former Alaska governor 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 urged her enthusiastic fans not to settle for moderates to represent them: "Some Republicans apparently thought they'd have to move to the middle to win. I said, 'No, no, no, no, no. You win by letting the middle move to you. You let the folks in the middle of the road know that your ideas are the right ones."

When she mentioned "Republicans In Name Only" or "RINO's," a member of this very participatory crowd yelled out "Mark Kirk" -- the self-styled moderate GOP Senate candidate who did not attend Wednesday night's event so he could vote in Washington, D.C. Kirk has equivocated on whether he is seeking Palin's endorsement in his campaign for Obama's old Senate seat.

When Palin said Obama "buffaloed a whole lot of good people," an audience member shouted out "Liar!" -- echoing a South Carolina congressman's shout during Obama's State of the Union Speech.

This Palin-loving crowd loved it when Palin bashed the "Lamestream media."

"Somebody told me, 'You know you're going into enemy territory.' I said, 'It's Chicago -- it's not MSNBC."

Palin said the mainstream media demonized members of the Tea Party movement - which includes Palin, and, judging from the cheers, many members of this audience.

"We're being called 'racist' and 'seditious' and 'redneck,'" she said. "I really don't mind the 'redneck' part. I'm fine with that one. It's no mystery who we are: We're Americans; everyday hard-working patriotic Americans. The 21st Century Tea Party movement, it starts right here in Chicago. This is where it starts. So Illinois, your place in the history of this grass movement has been instrumental."

Dentist Marie Beagle and her dental assistant Jane Eplin drove in from Streator because "We love Sarah Palin. She's not afraid to show her faith; she has a great optimism for this country, faith that we can turn things around," Beagle said.

Like Palin, they love conservative talk radio. "I live by it - Rush [Limbaugh], I love Rush. Glen Beck is my new favorite. Mark Levin, the Great One..."

Was there anything they disagreed with Palin on? No. How about the Highland Park girls?

"Those girls should be there" at the playoffs in Arizona, Beagle said. "There's no reason to have it spoiled by politics. It has nothing to do with their ability to play basketball. You are upholding the laws that already exist."

Earlier, Palin impressed Illinois' top Republicans willing to spend $500 to $25,000 at a fund-raiser for the state party.

"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 of Bloomington. "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 the party fund-raiser.

"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, Pa., rally a week before the 2008 election, which Palin signed for him.

"She said this could be a good year for Republicans," State GOP Chairman Patrick Brady said.

"It was a moving experience," said former GOP candidate for governor Adam Andrzejewski. "She was very personable. She was encouraging us to keep up the fight for reform in Illinois."

Some 4,000 Sarah Palin fans paid the more reasonable but still-steep $56 to spend "An Evening with Sarah Palin" later at the Rosemont Theatre.


As a 1968 graduate of Highland Park High School, I am ashamed of the school officials decision to cancel the trip to AZ. Not only should they not use the students as pawns in their liberal radical progressive chess game against constitutional patriots, but, to say that this law which is modeled after the federal immigration law, is against the school's values and beliefs indicates to me that my old school has drunk the kool-aid of radical liberalism that the progressives are serving to the detriment of what our country really stands for. Repeating the lie that the AZ law increases profiling may be believed by those who support breaking the rule of law, but those of us who have read the AZ law know the truth. Shame on you Highland Park High for perpetrating the lie and using young students as a shield for your progressive ideologies.

It is obvious that Sarah Palin is a very special person. Her magnetism as a speaker and celebrity are not artificial. She need not pay, or bribe persons to attend her rallies, as did Barak Obama during his campaign in 2008. She does not need to use teleprompers, as does Obama, as she speaks directly from her heart to the audience's heart.Sarah Palin possess a very genuine charisma much like Ronald Reagan. She maintains political positions consistent with conservative American values, which according to recent polls is about 59-61 percent of the American public. She is a natural born leader with tremendous political instincts and talents that are the envy of anyone desiring political office. She is destined for great things, which probably means becoming President of The United States. She has a Jeffersonian outlook,and the ability to win over people's hearts and minds. Love her or hate her, she is a major political force, and probable future President of The United States of America.

Let the team go the game in Arizona!!! This is just ridiculous.

I am DYING to know how her brain supports her body weight.


We are so fortunate to have someone like Ms Palin who knows what is best for apparently everyone. She knows better than the school district, or the state of Illinois, what should go on with their basketball team. Imagine if she were the President: she could tell everyone where to go and what to do. Who needs states' rights when you have Ms Palin? It's a wonderful position to be able to give your opinion on EVERYTHING, sounding like Ellie Mae Clampett,
and have the media cover every little tweet you make. Why not just name her queen of America?

I would like to say that I am a legal immigrant, we applied to come to the United States of America. We had waited three and a half years before we recieved the ok to come over, I do know that people want to make a better life as we did. We had lived in a refugee camp all that time, and it was not like living in a homeowners association.

I think that they should make all illegals go back to their own countries, but not at the American peoples tax expense. What gives illegals the right to demand anything, it would be the same for the prison population to demand they get released. I do not understand how our elected officials will take the side of illegals instead of the taxpayers, the only thing I could think of is that our elected officials are taking bribes from these groups. Most of the illegals do not have any respect for our country, they still fly their own flags and turn the American flags upside down. I do not say that I am an Austrian-American, I just say that I am an American citizen.

What our elected officials should do is make a law that the mother should be a citizen, then the child is an American citizen. I have read that hotels have a program for foriegn mother's can stay till they have a child, I say let the hotel support that child. It seems that the tax payer has no say in how our elected officials will spend their hard earned money, most of these elected officials should resign.

I am legal immigrant,an American citizen, a Vietnam Veteran, and I will stand tall with the American flag. How many Americans will do the same? God Bless America and the men & women that defend our flag.

There is a lot of incorrect information floating about concerning the Highland Park Women's Basketball Team and the tournament in Arizona:

1. For instance, someone says, "Those girls should be there" at the playoffs in Arizona," but this is NOT a playoff game, simply a tournament.

2. At the current time, there is NO national high school championship in either boys or girls basketball, so the statement [Highland Park] "girls held bake sales to pay their way to the national finals for the first time in 26 years is also incorrect.

3. Similarly, the statement "Palin suggested conservatives could get the girls to Arizona despite High School District 113's decision to keep the girls home this winter" ignores the fact that any trip of this sort needs to be approved by the School District and also adhere to the rules and regulations of the Illinois State Interscholastic Athletics governing body. Even if someone such as Ms. Palin provided airfare, room, board, etc., for all the players, coaches, and chaperones, this could not be a team trip without those approvals.

And as a personal aside, I am surprised no one questions why a high school team needs to be traveling so far for a tournament. Surely there are pressing educational needs in their academic programs that could use the funds saved by playing in a tournament within driving distance. Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, or Minnesota, perhaps?

Sarah Palin's Choices After her 2008 Election Defeat:

a) Go back to the frozen tundra, sit in long, boring meetings about budgets that need to be cut, deal with a house full of kids, make $125,000 a year and sink into relative obscurity as a bizarre footnote in political history.

b) Quit being Alaska's governor after less than 30 months on the job and enter a life of constant media coverage, talk shows, "book" deals, TV appearances, speeches, parties, new clothes, fine dining, private jets, luxurious suites, hanging out with "glamourous" people, and making millions and millions every year for doing very little real work.

Gee. Tough choice. I wonder why Palin did it?

Hi, I would just like to say that I appreciate this article. I ike how it is informative and does not seem to have a particular side that it is on, liberal or conservative. Thank you.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if this uneducated coutry mayor went back to alaska and got busy raising the rest her family so they don't end up like her oldest?

Sarah Palin is right on hte money. Its obveous that people in this country cry wolf without reading the facts ( or the sb 1070 law) I live in tucson az and am originally from wisconsin. You have NO IDEA what goes on down here at the expense of U.S. citizens. this school should ashamed of itself for keeping the girls from coming to Az. they have more to fear from the "ILLEGALS" that are here than from the authorities. But this is a perfect example of americas ignorance to the problem we all face because of the borders being wide open. it's time the authorities have the right to arrest an "ILLEGAL" for breaking the law just as they would a citizen of this country rather than a sandwich, bottle of water and a "FREE" ride back to the border.people better wake up.


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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 13, 2010 7:50 AM.

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