Updated: Palin rallies Handel faithful for ‘epic’ election

Updated throughout 12:50 p.m.: Sarah Palin and Karen Handel just ended a spirited 40-minute rally in which the former Alaska governor urged Georgia Republicans to show the “good old boy” network that there’s a better way to govern.

Palin, appearing on stage at the InterContintental Hotel Buckhead with her husband, Todd, Handel and her husband Steve, said she’s been asked why “so many of us have an opinion in this race.”

“It’s epic,” she said. “It’s historic. The eyes of the nation are on you Georgia, to see if you get rid of that good old boy network. People are watching what’s going on in Georgia.”

Handel, a former secretary of state, and Nathan Deal, a former congressman, face off Tuesday in the GOP runoff for governor. While Handel’s able to boast today’s visit by Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP nominee for vice president, about 800 Deal supporters gathered in Gainesville on Sunday for a rally featuring former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Palin, while never mentioning Deal or Huckabee by name, said she heard the criticisms of her decision to endorse Handel.

“I know there are some isolationist politicos around here who have questioned my endorsement of Karen,” Palin said. “I don’t know if they’ve questioned endorsements by outsiders of the other guy. I havent’ read a whole lot about that.”

She said she chose to endorse Handel because “I know Karen Handel is a self-made strong woman who pulled herself up by her bootstraps. She left a tough home situation and got a good education. She didn’t blame her circumstances. She worked hard to get where she is today.”

Palin said she and Handel have much in common. Both were considered underdogs who have been criticized by the political establishment.

“More power to her,” Palin said. “She’s been under-estimated her entire life. She’s been able to thwart what the experts have said about some circumstances and situations.”

Palin was joined briefly on stage by two of her children: Trigg and Willow.

The Palins and Handels came on stage shortly after noon to the 1980s metal anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by the band Twisted Sister. With nearly 3,000 people packed into the ballroom, Palin made mention of the song and of Handel’s campaign slogan, “Bring it on.”

“Georgia are you ready to bring it on?” Palin asked the crowd. “Are you ready to elect Karen Handel as your new governor? The intro music? That was Twisted Sister singing we’re not going to take it anymore. And bring it on. I can’t believe that’s your theme. Did you know what you were asking for?”

Handel said she was thrilled to have Palin here, the day before the election.

“This has been a tough race and it’s going to get tougher,” Handel said. “That’s why I’m so proud to have this great lady with us today. Governor Palin you’ve been an inspiration for me. And this room says what an inspiration you’ve been for them as well. Governor Palin was under-estimated too. She took on the powerful career politicians, too.”

Original post

It’s not everyday that a Republican event features the (recorded) musical stylings of Atlanta hip-hop legends Outkast, but the rally today for Karen Handel featuring Sarah Palin already has the electricity of a pre-concert crowd.

The vast InterContinental Hotel Buckhead ballroom is already filling with people and the rally isn’t even supposed to begin at noon.

A few chairs line the walls, and all are already taken by mostly older Handel (or Palin, or both) supporters, while others are already standing four and five deep around a small stage up front, similar to the packing of a dance pit before a concert. A precious few are parting with $3 for a cup of coffee, a bottle of water or a soft drink.

A Handel campaign aide said they gave out about 3,000 tickets and reached their max three days ago.

Handel, a former secretary of state, and Nathan Deal, a former congressman, face off Tuesday in the GOP runoff for governor. While Handel’s able to boast today’s visit by Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP nominee for vice president, about 800 Deal supporters gathered in Gainesville on Sunday for a rally featuring former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

It’s an interesting crowd that’s showing up. There are some dressed in Sunday best, some in T-shirts and shorts, and more than a few dressed for a party.

Update 10:45 a.m.: Sharyl Dawes, 57, of Johns Creek, got here early to help with a phone bank the Handel campaign has set up. Anyone who calls an entire sheet of names gets a free T-Shirt, which Dawes is already sporting.

“I said put me to work,” Dawes said. Dawes is here more for Handel than for Palin, but said it’s a bonus to have both in one place.

“It’s more important that Karen wins,” she said.

But Joan Towles, 47, of Alpharetta, was clutching a copy of Palin’s book, “Going Rogue,” and admitted she was drawn more by Palin.

“I know more about Sarah Palin than I do Karen Handel,” Towles said. “I believe in Sarah Palin’s message.”

Knowing Palin endorsed Handel means a lot to her, however.

“Karen is very solid,” Towles said. “I can tell by the way she carries herself. She’s a graduate of the school of hard knocks. Karen Handel having Sarah Palin’s endorsement doesn’t hurt her at all. It elevates her to a national level.”

Update: 11:06 a.m.: Handel spokesman Dan McLagan said the security presence at the event is courtesy of the hotel. There are several men in dark suits with ear pieces and lapel pins, but they’re not Secret Service. McLagan said it’s hotel security and that the state patrol is also on-site — all arranged by the hotel.

Update 11:10 a.m. James Apsey of Athens drove down for the event. He figures it’s a two-fer.

“We support Karen Handel and we wanted to come see Sarah Palin in a small environment,” said Apsey, 52, who is here with his mother, Sally.

Of Handel, Apsey said he likes “that she’s conservative. I think she’s been unfairly attacked by Nathan Deal. And if Sarah Palin is supporting her, I think she’s a Tea Party conservative.”

Sally Apsey, 80, said it’s empowering to see women doing well.

“I am so proud the female population is getting a little bit of what they deserve, and not just becuse they’re female,” she said. “It’s because they’re good.”

Update 11:34 a.m.: Palin is in the building. Repeat, Palin is in the building. In about 25 minutes Palin and Handel will take the stage and we’re told that the two will walk to the stage to the 80s metal anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” by Twisted Sister. Check out the original video below.

Update 10:51 a.m.: The Georgia Democratic Party has taken note of Palin’s presence and are using it to raise money. This just in from party chairwoman Jane Kidd:

“You may not have heard, but half-term governor, Fox News personality and tea partier Sarah Palin is in Georgia today.

Republicans see the writing on the wall- Georgia is going to elect Roy Barnes for Governor this November, and Republicans are pulling out all their tricks to prevent our victory.

Why is Palin fighting so hard in our state? Because the Democratic Party registered over 200,000 new voters in 2008 …”

What do they wanna do with their life? They, it appears, want to rock.

161 comments Add your comment

Write in

August 9th, 2010
3:16 pm

Boy, the “Democrat till I die” puppets are really filling up this blog with diatribe because both Handle and Deal scare the hell out of them. Their boy Roy is in for a real challenge in November so they puke their usual garbage containing nothing of value.


August 9th, 2010
3:16 pm

Lots of trolls posting comments here today, but not surprising, given the nature of the AJC’s fast-declining readership. The more astute political observers note that Palin’s is the only endorsement that matters this election season. Quite a contrast to democratic politicians running away from President Obama as fast as they can. And one other thing, lefties – the ‘foreign policy/see Russia’ jokes weren’t funny in 2008, when Palin was more experienced and qualified [even as the VP nominee] than community organizer/short term Senator Obama. President Obama’s performance since then [insulting the Brits & Germans, dhimmitude toward the Iranians, comforting Hugo Chavez] only makes it less funny today. Lets’ vote for hope and change in 2010!


August 9th, 2010
3:16 pm

Who is Sarah Palin? Did she quit something not long ago. How can she help? She is cute and hot looking. How can you quit being a Gov. and help another run for Gov.?

Wendy Jo

August 9th, 2010
3:25 pm

I thought Karen Handel wanted to give Roy Barnes a run for his money, but why would you want to have some one like Palin as an endorsement. SHE IS A QUITTER….so I assume Handel will be one as well. AND to all you REPUBLICANs still refusing to see the good that President Obama is AND WILL continue to do for this country….well if you vote for Handel, then we KNOW exactly what you are all about…Quiting…LET’s GO DEMOCRATS…YES until the DAY I DIE…


August 9th, 2010
3:25 pm

Deal is a crooked, Handel will get my vote in the primary and probably the GE as well.

Zell Miller

August 9th, 2010
3:27 pm

That barricuda with the over-bite can shoot spit balls at me till the moonshine runs out

Dem for Life

August 9th, 2010
3:28 pm

ROY BARNES 2010!!!!!

Georgia Voter

August 9th, 2010
3:32 pm


Al Gore

August 9th, 2010
3:34 pm

I’ll be campaigning for Roy Barnes, of course.

With my lisp, I’ll be a hit in Midtown.

Afterwards I can visit the House of Tokyo massage parlor on Piedmont, for a soothing, therapeutic massage after a long day of campaigning with my comrade in socialism, Roy Barnes.

Toodles !


August 9th, 2010
3:38 pm

Did anyone check with Twister Sister to verify that Karen Handel has the right to use their music? Isn’t that an issue? If not, can I use anyone’s artistic work to promote my agenda?
Before I cast my ballot, I would like details about Handel’s education. Other outlets report that she attended the University of Maryland. How long was she there? What was her major? It may not be important to you, but it is to me.
And what about Sarah Palin bashing the “good ole boy” network? Does she support any male candidates?
What about John McCain? Would Handel refer to McCain as a relic of Washington?


August 9th, 2010
3:38 pm

So far, Palin’s endorsements have not worked out well (she’s 1 for 10) – Handel should have asked her to stay away.


August 9th, 2010
3:40 pm

I find it so funny that many Republicans don’t even like Sarah Palin, yet she’s always somewhere trying to give another Republican a boost on their campaign. There’s no way the hillbillies in GA will vote Karen Handell into office. Roy Barnes has it made in November!!!


August 9th, 2010
3:40 pm

Another sad day in Georgia politics. All of the bored soccer moms took their mini-vans to the big city + then commented on the substances of their idols (nice hair! nice shoes! ) Ugh – these 2 have set feminism back 50 years.

Liberal in a Red State

August 9th, 2010
3:45 pm

Why is Handel calling her Governor Palin????? I thought she quit two years into her first real elected position to cash in????


August 9th, 2010
3:47 pm

Handel or Deal – either one of them makes my stomach turn when I think about the gay bashing they’ve been doing. Gay citizens pay taxes and so many of them are capitalists – why in the heck would you not want to embrace their vote?! Especially in Atlanta, the gay capital of the East! I’m a conservative and I don’t agree with that at all – stop playing to the religious right. They’re ruining what used to be Lincoln’s party.


August 9th, 2010
3:50 pm

What an idiot… I wouldnt vote for Handle just because of Palin backing her!!!!


August 9th, 2010
3:52 pm

When the president was here in Atlanta, the ajc had a picture so small of him on the home page until you could barely see him. Why such a large picture of Sarah Palin. Ajc you are showing your true colors, white, white, white.


August 9th, 2010
3:55 pm

Palin is a fraud. If she were not hiding from the press because she afraid to answer questions that are not prescripted for her, it would be obvious to everyone. Just look at the latest video on Youtube where she is talking to a fellow Alaskan. Palin has a completely incoherent one sentence answer about why she quit the governorship. After more than one year she still can’t put together an explanation.

College Grad

August 9th, 2010
3:56 pm

Why would I want someone without a college degree making decisions to improve education in Georgia??? I’not that impress with either but really, a Govenor without a college degree! Is that how we do it in Georgia? No wonder wear almost last in education. GROW UP PEOPLE!!!

Merle Haggard

August 9th, 2010
3:56 pm

What’s wrong with being a good ole boy?

College Grad

August 9th, 2010
3:58 pm

Wow, I was so mad I for to proof it!
Why would I want someone without a college degree making decisions to improve education in Georgia??? I’not that impressed with either candidate but really, a Govenor without a college degree! Is that how we do it in Georgia? No wonder we’re almost last in education. GROW UP PEOPLE!!!

Good Ole Boy

August 9th, 2010
4:01 pm

I’m a good ole boy. And I know a lot of other Georgia good ole boys and good ole girls who don’t need someone Yankee quitter trying to dictate who we can vote for. I had considered voting for Handel. Not now!

Rob B

August 9th, 2010
4:03 pm

okay, yet again. Politics in Georgia are not that nations concern they are our concern. Don’t let this moron influence who will run our state. Vote for yourself and not a party only concerned with lining their pockets.


August 9th, 2010
4:08 pm

The only thing I hear from Palin is “vote for her because she is a strong woman” I think we deserve more than that.


August 9th, 2010
4:10 pm

Without trying to sound too pious, this video is not a very good foundation for their slogan.


August 9th, 2010
4:19 pm

Palin said Handel “got a good education”??!! Where? In high school? It is common knowledge that Handel does not have a college degree.
Wow, she sure knows her “good friend” well doesn’t she?


August 9th, 2010
4:21 pm

I attend that rally this morning. It was awesome. No one graces a room like Sarah Palin. It was an honor to be in the same room with her. I admire and respect her so much. I don’t care what anyone else says about her, she is wonderful. It is really refreshing as well to see how so many people are just so drawn to her. She really does give hope for the future.


August 9th, 2010
4:26 pm

Palin draws a crowd and has a strong following.

Is Mike Huckleberry even relevant?


August 9th, 2010
4:29 pm

I concur with a previous comment…we get a minute by minute update on this rally but not the one yesterday in Gainesville. Pretty shotty work by the AJC. Just proves they have their own agenda and don’t know what is means to report the WHOLE story without bias.


August 9th, 2010
4:29 pm

I have a masters degree and I am voting for Handel.

Bill Gates and a host of other successful people didn’t graduate from college either.

I’ll take integrity, attitude and hard work over a degree any day.

Do we really need more lawyers running the government?


August 9th, 2010
4:30 pm




August 9th, 2010
4:32 pm

Obama is a great example of an over-educated under-experienced fool running the government. How about some experience and common sense for a change?


August 9th, 2010
4:38 pm


Dubya went to Yale!

sarah's cooch

August 9th, 2010
4:39 pm


Your a fine example of a pimple on the arse of life…


August 9th, 2010
4:41 pm

In this case Sister Sarah is supporting the more moderate candidate, so thanks from this Southern not so conservative– I’m still voting for Roy, but thanks… This state can’t afford any more ideologues or right-wing fanatics…


August 9th, 2010
4:43 pm

If Karen wins, the post mortem on how she did it is going to be pretty revealing if it is ever looked into and a lot of people who view her as a reformer are going to be mighty disappointed to know all the back room manueverings going on. It is all pretty unseemly, to say the least. I think that is why so many grassroots activists in the party have left her campaign to support Nathan.


August 9th, 2010
4:44 pm

Question for the GA Voter, couldy you please explain exactly what Obama has done to this country as far as putting it in a mess. And please be factual and not just spew out rhetorical lies.


August 9th, 2010
5:09 pm

To find out the ethics issues that Sarah Palin is ignoring read the first article about ethics on the voterga.org web site.

Paula Abdulla

August 9th, 2010
5:24 pm

Look at all the “real” Americans


August 9th, 2010
5:25 pm

That a prospective governor should possess a baccalaureate degree matters to me, particularly in a state that ranks near the nation’s bottom in education and is home to its top party school. Also, that Ms. Palin — not Governor Palin; political office titles are used by their incumbents only — appeared unaware of Ms. Handel’s formal education doesn’t speak well for either woman.

As a registered Independent I don’t vote in primaries, but I do pay rapt attention to their candidates for future reference. If I were voting tomorrow, I would not be marking my ballot for Ms. Handel. Her resume, past record and recent statements give me little reason to think she will be able to follow through on her campaign promises. Ms. Palin’s endorsement has not swayed my opinion. IMO Mr. Deal appears more qualified, experienced and better prepared to represent his party in the November election.

A sidebar: Like another commenter here, I too noticed that Ms. Palin’s Atlanta visit has gotten more AJC coverage than President Obama’s. Given their respective positions, that seems out of balance.


August 9th, 2010
5:42 pm

- “Ms. Palin’s Atlanta visit has gotten more AJC coverage than President Obama’s”

This is because the polarizing Obama was shunned and rejected by his own leading candidates in his own Democrat Party. The less the polarizing Obama is seen with the Democrat Party, the better the chances the the Georgia Democrat Party has.


August 9th, 2010
5:44 pm

People like former Governors Rod Blagojevich and Eliot Spitzer have more college degrees and academic qualifications than Karen Handel.


August 9th, 2010
5:45 pm

Okay, let’s be honest. How much did it cost to get the little sweetheart here from Alaska….this chick doesn’t do anything for nothing.

Scarlett O'Pleaso

August 9th, 2010
5:46 pm

I can see Wasilla from my woo-woo!


August 9th, 2010
5:48 pm

I have a Master’s degree but there are many here in Atlanta with no college degree who are much more successful than I. My parents paid my way through all my school but many, like Handel did not have that luxury and advantage. We should commend people who rise in life without advantages because it took more work for them to get there. Handel has what it takes, which is more than a degree on the wall.


August 9th, 2010
6:27 pm

- “Okay, let’s be honest. How much did it cost to get the little sweetheart here from Alaska….this chick doesn’t do anything for nothing.”

How much does it cost to the American Taxpayers and Georgia Taxpayers to get the polarizing Obama here from DC ? this donkey doesn’t do anything for nothing. By the way, American taxpayers does not pay for Palin’s visit.


August 9th, 2010
6:31 pm

Good grief Georgian…stop defending Handel’s lack of education and pretending it is some badge of honor because she has had a bad childhood. She had 30 years to get a Bachelors Degree…of course that is…IF she valued education. It is a minimal expectation for every teacher here in Georgia. Why should it not be for a Governor who claims to be “leader” for education. Why not show some objectivity instead of blind support for someone who did not value education as a credential.

Real Athens

August 9th, 2010
6:59 pm

What’s so funny is that the Tea Party, Republicans and Libertarians would recognize Palin for the fraud she is.

The state of Alaska “spreads the wealth” like no other state in America? Every single Alaskan gets money from the state. Talk about a welfare, socialist state, Alaska is it. They redistribute the oil producers’ income to its citizens — that is, the state takes oil profits, imposes a tax, and redistributes it among Alaskans — in 2008 alone $3200 for every man, woman and child or $22,000 for a family of seven like Palin’s.

The Alaskan “dividend fund” http://www.pfd.state.ak.us/ is nothing more than a tax on oil paid by you and me every time we fill our gas tanks, redistributed to Alaskan citizens. Additionally, they suck out of the feds $1.89 for every $1 they pay in taxes.

Sarah’s against socialism, but is for state ownership of natural resources, and against tax increases, except when they take the form of the windfall-profits tax she helped levy against oil companies in her last year of office.

Alaska (per capita) is the biggest, most corrupt, tax pig in the country — or, as some would say, the most Socialist — and Sarah Palin’s it’s biggest welfare queen.

Tom McMahan

August 9th, 2010
7:14 pm

I guess its epic in the sense that Handel, if she actually won and served out her term, would do something Caribou Barbie couldn’t hack…I suppose that might be considered “epic”


August 9th, 2010
7:27 pm

Hey Not Georgian, I would rather be Secretary of State with no education than education with a mediocre corporate job or housewife! Deal went to Mercer and I look down on that. What is a degree from Mercer worth? Nothing compared with my education! Yet when Handel rose from an unfortunate childhood to achieve, I admire that! I kiss my lucky stars everyday that I had the advantages that I did! Handel is self made! Thats very outstanding!