Via Jennifer Brooks at Tennessean.com:
The National Tea Party Convention wasn’t Sarah Palin’s first stop in Nashville on Saturday.Read the rest here. That Governor Palin attended this meeting is significant. Some in the media have said she hasn't been doing the behind the scenes work necessary for a potential future run. Her presence at Scooter Clippard's home is inconsistent with this meme.
Before she headed to Opryland to address a crowd of 1,100 ticketholders and some 200 national and international journalists, the former vice presidential candidate made a quiet detour to the Nashville home of B.C. “Scooter” Clippard, to meet some of the Tennesseans she’d want by her side if she does make a run for the White House in 2012.
“It’s amazing how people believe in her,” said Clippard, one of the state’s high-octane Republican fundraisers whose past efforts have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into campaigns ranging from George W. Bush to Fred Thompson to John McCain. “I’ve gotten calls and emails from people who were in that room who would love to help her with her cause, who wanted to help her with donations to her PAC…I’m telling you, she radiates.”
About 30 guests came out to meet Palin and her 8-year-old daughter Piper on Saturday afternoon. The group ranged from gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey to country singer John Rich, who toured with the McCain/Palin campaign in 2008. Lee Beaman, president of Lee Beaman Automotive Group in Nashville, gave away his tickets to Palin’s Tea Party speech for a chance to see her up close.
“She immediately started asking a lot of questions about me,” said Beaman, who said Palin peppered him with questions about how he was coping withe recent Toyota recalls and how car sales were faring in the economy in general. “I kept trying to talk politics with her and she kept redirecting the conversation to talk about me. In one sense, it was frustrating because I wanted to talk politics. But on the other hand, how often do you find a politician who’s genuinely interested in what you have to say?”