April 19, 2010
By ANNA M. TINSLEY
Organizers for the future Uptown Women's Center in Dallas wanted a big draw for their one and only fundraiser for a new health and wellness resource center for North Texas women.
They were able to land one of the hottest speakers on the circuit: former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, whose calendar is already booked for the whole year.
"She's a very popular draw," said Carolyn Cline, executive director of the Downtown Pregnancy Center in Dallas, which is working to develop the uptown center. "Our phones are ringing off the walls.
"There's a huge buzz about her coming. We believe we'll have standing room only."
Tickets for the April 30 dinner with Palin, believed to be the former Alaska governor's only Dallas appearance this year, are selling for $1,000. Two tickets to a VIP reception with Palin and the dinner are selling for $25,000.
Organizers say they aren't "allowed to disclose the amount" the organization is paying Palin for the event, but reports show that she commands six-figure fees, the kind that some political observers say are usually reserved for former presidents or vice presidents. . .
"Very few others get individual paydays at that rate," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "No other governor in the country, except maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger, could command a speaker's fee like that now.
"But Sarah Palin is a crossover between a politician and entertainer or celebrity," he said. "She has this personality and a sizzle and a certain pitch perfect sense of what the Tea Party element of the population is looking for."
Jillson noted that if Palin's big paydays will end if she runs for president in 2012.
"If she decides to run for president, she'll have to stop doing this during the campaign," he said.
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