Palin's bus tour arrives in Philly

Action News reporter David Henry took this picture of Sarah Palin during her stop in Philadelphia on May 31, 2011.

May 31, 2011 5:47:29 PM PDT
Sarah Palin made a trifecta of historical stops in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, hitting the Gettysburg battlefield, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell as part of a secretive bus trip that has some wondering if she's trying to drum up publicity for a 2012 presidential run.

The former 2008 vice presidential candidate and her aides refused to share basic details about the "One Nation" tour, which started in Washington and was expected to take her to New England in the days ahead. The trip renewed questions about Palin's next moves, including whether she would enter the still-forming Republican presidential field.

With security tight and some roads closed off, Palin toured Independence Hall in Philadelphia before working her way through a scrum of tourists, security personnel and media on her way across the street to the building that houses the Liberty Bell. She shook hands and exchanged greetings curious onlookers as she worked her way inside.

Inside, she viewed the Liberty Bell with a group of tourists and fans posing for pictures with her. Rich Nutinsky, of the Philadelphia suburb of Chadds Ford, Pa., had initially come out hoping to see Palin on Monday, but she never showed; he returned Tuesday and made it in to see the Liberty Bell at the same time as the former Alaska governor and her family.

"I wished her luck and told her I supported her," said Nutinsky, a 56-year-old corporate trainer. "To me, she's a breath of fresh air."

In the morning, Palin visited a cemetery at Gettysburg National Military Park. Margaret Elbertson, 66, a retired phone operator from Mt. Laurel, N.J., was at the battlefield with her three sisters - all triplets - and a friend, when they saw Palin arrive in a car and not her bus. She said they took photos of the former governor and the throng of people that gathered around her.

"We just thought one day if she does run for president and makes it, we can say we knew her when," Elbertson said.

In between Gettysburg and Philadelphia, Palin also made a stop at a coffee shop in Dillsburg, Pa.

The tour began Sunday in Washington with stops in Mount Vernon, Va., and Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Palin told reporters Monday she was not on the trip as part of any proto-campaign but was seeking to illuminate Americans' knowledge of the country.


Associated Press writer Mark Scolforo in Gettysburg contributed to this report.