Government Motors

Speakers at the rally all hit on the same punching bag Wednesday: the recent spate of federal government bailouts. Said Gov. Tim Pawlenty: "We now live in a country where Wall Street gets a bailout, the poor get a handout and everyone else gets their wallet out." Bachmann followed by saying that the federal bailout of car companies had turned GM into "Government Motors."

Year of the conservative woman?

Palin worked the gender theme hard, with an all-female backdrop behind her, a "This One's for the Girls" entrance song and this quote from the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: "When you want something said, ask a man. When you want something done, ask a woman."

This year, Palin said, "a lot of conservative women are speaking out. 2010 is shaping up to be the year of the conservative woman." The former vice presidential nominee exited to these lyrics from "Red High Heels": "Baby, I got plans tonight you don't know nothing about. ... I'm about to show you how missing me feels."

Ellison goes after Bachmann

As thousands gathered for the Palin/Bachmann event, union members held a noon rally of their own at the state Capitol featuring Bachmann's fellow delegation member, Rep. Keith Ellison, a DFLer representing Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District. "What do we want?" Ellison demanded of the crowd, to which it roared back, "Jobs!"

Ellison also poked fun at the price of having a picture taken with Palin at the Minneapolis fundraiser, telling the union members, "If you want a photo, drop 10 grand on the barrel and you got one." He then talked up Bachmann's challenger, state Sen. Tarryl Clark.

10 Commandments boogie

Standing before a massive American flag, three performers called "Go Fish" (a name derived from Jesus' call for his disciples to be fishers of men) entertained the crowd with songs and raps, sporting hockey jerseys with the number 10.

"It reminds us of the 10 Commandments," one performer said. "This is a safe place to say ... are you guys ready to do the 10 Commandments Boogie?"

Palin = sliced bread

Outside the convention hall a woman was distributing "reality check" fact sheets on Bachmann and Palin, and made a reference to Vietnam, comparing it to Iraq. But Bob Lewis, from Roseville, looked at the sheet skeptically while sitting on a curb. "We're not in Vietnam -- this isn't the '60s," he told her.

After the woman left, he said, "We love Sarah Palin. She's the greatest thing since sliced bread. ... She [seems] to put the people before the policy. ... What I see in her is Christianity, I see integrity."