Palin speaks at Fairbanks dinner

Posted: Tuesday, February 17, 2009

FAIRBANKS - In keeping with the Lincoln Bicentennial theme, Gov. Sarah Palin was introduced with a revised, Alaska version of the Gettysburg Address at the Lincoln Day Dinner hosted by Fairbanks Republican Women.

"Two score and five years ago," intoned moderator Ralph Seekins to a capacity crowd Saturday night in the Edgewater Room at the Princess Riverside Lodge, instantly perking up the ears of people familiar with the real address.

And as Seekins humorously transposed the words to fit the Republican governor, the crowd responded with laughter and applause.

"That all women can do what they set their minds to, whether it be running for governor, the vice presidency or field dressing a caribou. ...

"Few will remember what we ate here but never what she said here, or some, in the media what she wears here."

And Palin exhibited her Alaska fashion sense, sporting a tan smoke ring - a circular scarf delicately knitted in Eskimo motifs from fine qiviut, the underwool of Arctic musk ox.

"And that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from Alaska."

The Alaska rendition was recited in good humor, for earlier in the evening, Abraham Lincoln's famous speech made at the Gettysburg, Pa., battlefield was recited eloquently from memory by Glenn Hackney.

Palin addressed the audience in a similar vein, sharing Lincoln lessons and extolling the 16th president's life and accomplishments in a somewhat lengthy speech, which included a short, five-question trivia quiz on Lincoln with small prizes.

Throughout the speech, the governor compared or commented on the similarities and parallels of Lincoln's life, ideas and works to Alaska and Alaskans.

Like Lincoln, who was interested in building transportation infrastructure such as roads, railroads and harbors, Palin said, so too are Alaskans in developing the same infrastructure as well as opening up more federal land.

"We've got to let the federal government know we can responsibly and safely develop our natural resources," she said.

Palin extolled Republicans as knowing how to run their businesses and families best and never becoming a slave to big government.

"We need to turn it around so government is working for us," she said.

Palin said she was pleased to be back in the Golden Heart City, and she reminisced about previous visits, touching on her inauguration here two years ago.

Palin also mentioned media confusion about predator control in Alaska.

She said she responded to a FOX newscaster's questions Saturday with, "For me, I eat, therefore I hunt."

Then she added for the Fairbanks crowd, "That's the way we roll in Alaska."

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