It may have been a good thing that Bristol Palin's "mamma grizzly" came to her daughter's Mall of America book signing Wednesday.
What was abundantly clear in Bloomington at the younger Palin's signing session for her memoir about an unexpected teenage pregnancy was that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is still the main attraction in that family.
How many of the estimated 700 who got books signed at this event would have turned out just for Bristol, her shimmy-shaking skills on "Dancing With The Stars" notwithstanding? All together, we're told that the crowd in attendance reached 1,500.
These figures are smaller than when the Guv was here in December 2009 promoting her own first book. There had to be 3,000 packed in the mall that morning, although the mall estimated that crowd at around 1,300.
Regardless, Gov. Palin is stacking the deck to make sure that her daughter's book is a success.
No. 1: The guv brought her immense star power, only growing hotter as she Hamlets it up about whether she'll run for president in 2012. (Palin was VP on the defeated Republican ticket in 2008.)
No. 2: There was a rule change at this autograph session that was completely new to me. Autograph seekers had to purchase Bristol's memoir to get the guv's signature on either of her books, "Going Rogue" and "America by Heart."
Celebrities and authors structure these Barnes & Noble book signings as they like. They may only sign their name and not personalize the tome with yours. They may only autograph their latest book and refuse to sign previously published books. They may decline to take photographs with fans, as Molly Ringwald did, which resulted in some disgruntled fans dubbing her Molly Ringworm.
One Barnes & Noble staffer denied that what I'm going to start calling "The Palin Rule" was actually enforced -- although the Strib, KSTP-TV's Gus Rosendale and FOX 9's Rob Olson all stated that it was.
Nevertheless, this was all very much a family affair. Tripp -- Bristol's cute child with Levi Johnston and the only reason this young woman has any public profile -- was there.
And there was a truly cute moment involving former First Dude Todd Palin, when Todd got some pity love from a man in the crowd.
As you can see on my video at startribune.com/video, a man yelled "I love you, Sarah." About 10 seconds later, what sounded like a different male voice called out: "Hey, Todd, we love you, too, man." (I don't think the man was responding to the shirt Todd was wearing, but it was the perfect shade of blue to coordinate with the Dude's eye color.)
Ever-cool, Todd smiled like a man well accustomed to strangers professing their love for his politician wife. Todd also went the extra mile, accepting camera phones passed to him by fans to take self-portraits during the family's heavily policed exit.
By this time, Bristol was mostly out of my sight and probably out of the minds of the fans cooing over Gov. Palin.
C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on FOX 9 Thursday mornings.
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