**UPDATES, VETS are not happy about being used by the tea party and Palin - Sarah Palin stands with WWII vets, stumps for N.J. Senate candidate
Sarah Palin stands with WWII vets, stumps for N.J. Senate candidate
Sarah Palin returned to the national stage over the weekend at a pair of public events highlighting the tea party's fight against President Barack Obama.
On Saturday, Palin and her Tea Party Express bus rolled into New Jersey to stump for Steve Lonegan, the Republican Senate candidate running against Newark Mayor Cory Booker in Wednesday's special election to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Frank Lautenburg's death in June.
A poll released last week by Quinnipiac University showed Booker's lead over Lonegan - which was 28 points in August - has been cut to 12. According to the New York Times, Lonegan, a former mayor of Bogota, N.J., has surged "by framing the election as a referendum on Mr. Booker's celebrity."
"My opponent, Cory Booker, was anointed by Hollywood," Lonegan said. "He was anointed by Oprah."
Yet it was Lonegan who called on Palin's star-power on Saturday.
More than 2,000 people turned out at a race track to see the former Alaskan governor and vice presidential candidate praise the GOP's stance against Obama's Affordable Care Act and bash the closing of war memorials during the shutdown.
"But Michelle Obama's really groovy ‘Let's Move' video is still up and running because you can't be chubby," Palin said. "And our government thinks they can shut down our memorials that honor our vets? For shame."
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have both campaigned for Lonegan, but their popularity pales in comparison to Palin, who has a combined 4.7 million followers on Facebook and Twitter. The last time Palin appeared at a Tea Party Express rally was in 2012.
"Something big is happening here," Palin said of Lonegan's surge. "The country knows it, the media knows it."
At one point, Palin compared the legality of Obamacare to the Prohibition-era ban on alcohol. "I believe now you can get a beer with your famous New Jersey pizza," Palin said.
On Sunday, Palin appeared at the World War II and Lincoln memorials with Sen. Ted Cruz in Washington, D.C., where she continued her rant against the White House.
"We're here to show that the size of America's heart for our veterans is immeasurable," Palin said. "But look around. Barricades to shut down our memorials? Is this how a commander in chief expresses his gratitude? This 'shutdown' priority proves a shameful lack of respect."
Palin then quoted former President Ronald Reagan.
"Ronald Reagan said, 'Some people live an entire lifetime wondering if they ever made a difference in the world,'" she said. "You, vets, need never ask that of yourselves. You made all the difference. Our war memorials remind us of the cost to keep us free. You paid the price. Rest now. We will pick up the mantle. We won't let you down. We now take up the fight for freedom."
Veterans Angry Over Tea Party Takeover Of March On Memorials
Organizers of the Million Veterans March sought to distance themselves from the "political agenda" promoted at Sunday's protests at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., criticizing tea party activists for taking over the demonstration.
"The political agenda put forth by a local organizer in Washington DC [sic] yesterday was not in alignment with our message. We feel disheartened that some would seek to hijack the narrative for political gain," the group wrote on its Facebook page Monday morning. "The core principle was and remains about all Americans honoring Veterans in a peaceful and apolitical manner. Our love for and our dedication to remains with Veterans, regardless of party affiliation or political leanings."
On Sunday, hordes of demonstrators converged on Washington, protesting the closure of memorials and national parks due to the partial government shutdown. According to news reports, Sunday's event was much more political than previous demonstrations at the memorial. A number of conservative politicians spoke at the event, including former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
"Our vets have proven that they have not been timid, so we will not be timid in calling out any who would use our military, our vets, as pawns in a political game," Palin told the crowd.
Many attendees held tea party-supporting signs, and at least one Confederate flag could be seen in the crowd. At one point in the day, some protesters took barricades from the memorial and brought them to the White House gates in apparent protest of President Barack Obama.
One tea party demonstrator, Freedom Watch's Larry Klayman, had particularly strong words for Obama, claiming the U.S. is "ruled by a president who bows down to Allah."
"I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come up with his hands out," he said