Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin supporters Saturday at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Belleville. (Ricardo Thomas/The Detroit News)
Belleville — Former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin told an energized crowd of supporters Saturday to keep up hope going into the election season.
"I don't want you to be bummed, I don't want you to lose courage and I don't want you to lose hope and faith that things can be turned around, though the challenges do seem daunting," Palin told a cheering crowd of at least 400 strong gathered at the Wayne County Fairgrounds. "We must not lose our sense of optimism."
Palin's address rounded out a day of speeches from tea party and conservatives in politics, religion and the media, hosted by the Michigan branch of Americans for Prosperity and the Willow Run Tea Party Caucus.
Other speakers included Wisconsin Speaker of the House Jeff Fitzgerald, Michigan state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton Township and Troy Mayor Janice Daniels.
Speakers took to a stage laid out in front of rows of people sitting in folding and beach chairs. Many brought umbrellas to escape the heat of the sun.
The crowds greeted Fitzgerald, a proponent of Wisconsin's bill to limit the collective bargaining power of unions, with a standing ovation.
"The way we took back our state is the way we're going to take back our country this fall," said Fitzgerald, to cheers. "Look for politicians that have political courage because that's what we need these days. We need people who are not worried about their next election but about the next generation."
But the enthusiasm of the crowds could not be compared to when Palin appeared shortly before 4 p.m. Dozens ran to the stage to get close enough to snap a picture. Supporters screamed "You go girl!" and "Palin for Energy Secretary."
Palin started off by telling the crowd about how much she likes Michigan.
"Any state that loves hockey and hunting and snow and cars, I feel perfectly at home in," she said.
Palin touched on a myriad of issues including the energy crisis, the budget deficit and healthcare. She said President Obama's vision for the country is to fundamentally change America.
"Why would anybody want to fundamentally transform what is so good and free and strong about America?" she said.
"We're little tea pots and we're getting steamed up because Obama is tipping us over, pouring us out and draining the entrepreneurial spirit from us, that which grew America into the most exceptional nation ever known."
For Newport resident Sharon Mays, Palin's speech was a highlight of an event that energized her.
"I've been so anxious and upset about what is going on in our country. I wanted to come someplace where I could be inspired," said the Tea Party supporter and new member of Americans for Prosperity. "I think the American people are hungry for someone who inspires us and who's not afraid to talk about what's good about America."
Palin's ability to energize the party was what attracted Ron and Donna Kreuger of Grand Blancwhen she was stumping in 2008 as running mate to Sen. John McCain. Donna Kreuger was among a crowd that gathered around Palin after her speech in the hopes of getting an autograph. Palin signed their blanket.
"It's just the energy she brings," said Donna Kreuger. Gesturing toward the enthusiastic crowd surrounding Palin, she said: "Four years later and look what's happening look what she's driving."
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120714/POLITICS03/207140366#ixzz20dw6D6CE