ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck teamed up in the former Alaska governor’s home state Saturday night, delivering their messages to a crowd of thousands and recalling their thoughts and feelings the day of the 9/11 attacks.
Palin applauded the conservative commentator as an inspiration for millions, saying he represents why so many citizens never have to apologize for being American.
She also laughingly noted “goofy” media speculations about her real intentions for appearing on an Anchorage stage with Beck.
“Evidently I’m supposed to make a big announcement here, Glenn and I together, make some big announcement, maybe about the 2012 election or something,” the potential 2012 presidential contender said to cheers and whistles.
Beck played along, telling Palin that he would not be a candidate.
“I’d like to announce that in 2012, we will both be … voting,” Beck said, pausing for comic effect.
Palin and Beck, a popular Fox News Channel personality, took turns recalling what they were doing when they heard of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Palin, who was mayor of Wasilla at the time, said she got a call from the town’s police chief about the attacks, then turned on her television.
“It looked unreal that this was happening to our country,” she said.
She said she shut down city hall, then went over to her church to pray for the country.
Beck said he was getting ready for work when he learned of what had happened in New York and at the Pentagon.
“Here we are so many years later, and I fear we are forgetting,” he said.
Earlier this week, Palin promoted Saturday’s event at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center on her Facebook page, saying Beck could be counted on to make for an interesting and inspiring night.
“I can think of no better way to commemorate 9/11 than to gather with patriots who will ‘never forget,'” Palin wrote.
Thousands of fans who paid between $73.75 and $225 for tickets gathered inside the center to see the two tea party favorites.
Beck was to donate his speaking fee from the event, and Palin wasn’t paid for her appearance, according to Christopher Balfe, president of Beck’s media company. The amount of the fee wasn’t disclosed, and was to go to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides scholarships and services to families of military members.
The event originally featured only Beck, according to Christopher Cox of Northern Stage Co. in Anchorage. Only later did Cox think of adding Palin and she agreed to participate.
Outside the downtown center, about 100 protesters waved signs and denounced Palin and Beck as intolerant fearmongers spreading divisiveness across the country.
Holding a sign that said “Freedom isn’t just for zealots,” Brian MacMillan of Anchorage urged Palin and Beck supporters to ease up on President Barack Obama.
“Give the man in charge his due,” he said. “He’s doing the best he can.”
Many Beck fans attending the event were equally passionate.
“I support a lot of what Glenn Beck has to say, especially when it comes to smaller government and getting God back to America,” Dan Garrett of Wasilla said.