PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin began a tightly stage-managed visit to Haiti on Saturday in which she visited cholera clinics while avoiding crowds and the press.
The 2008 vice presidential candidate was a guest of Rev. Franklin Graham, whose aid group works in the impoverished country. Haiti is facing a brutal cholera epidemic while struggling with an electoral crisis and reconstruction from the January earthquake.
Palin, who traveled in part by helicopter, provided access on her tour solely to the U.S. cable network Fox News.
Graham's organization, Samaritan's Purse, refused to discuss Palin's itinerary with other media and asked Haitian and American reporters to leave its compounds, citing a "security lockdown."
"I've really enjoyed meeting this community. They are so full of joy," Palin was quoted as saying on the organization's website. "We are so fortunate in America, and we are responsible for helping those less fortunate."
Associated Press television journalists saw Palin talking with foreign aid workers. She wore cargo pants, a T-shirt and designer sunglasses on her first trip outside the United States since speaking to investors in Hong Kong last year. That speech was also closed to the media.
Samaritan's Purse posted pictures online of Palin touring a post-quake shelter, touching the hand of a Haitian child and laughing with Graham and Fox News host Greta van Susteren.
Palin's visit comes amid a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 2,000 people and sickened more than 96,000 others.
"So full of joy." Just like that nice Mr. Robinson who danced with Shirley Temple and then had to stay in the chauffeur's quarters at the Desert Inn instead of in the hotel itself.
How willfully ignorant and heartless do you have to be to visit an area stricken with cholera and describe the people that were allowed through your "tightly stage-managed" entourage to greet you as "joyful"?
Shuffle shuffle Miss Daisy. Them people are always smiling and so good at basketball too. Oh, no, I kid. I kid. We’re lucky she didn’t accuse the Haitians of being limp, impotent and weak as is her wont (see Barbara Walters interview). But, bonus time, she did come bearing every socialist’s tool: a push up bra. Double points for morale boosting.
Good news is that Palin now says we are responsible for helping those less fortunate and this is a great turn around. Pretty soon she’s really gonna deserve at least a teabag’s worth of community organizing cred. It seems like just yesterday that Palin was saying they were supposed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps like Palin did, but without the government cheese and pork because, like, healthcare for everyone was a bad thing….
Since she’s only there for a day, and has no plans to get dirty helping out with actual work, bestowing the beauty of her visage upon the deprived and desperate Haitians is all we can expect from the goddess of charity.
Nothing says Presidential like waiting a year to show up in Haiti — a year spent trying to destroy your own country’s democratically elected president no less. But no worries, Palin is in Haiti now, getting her picture taken by Fox News to sell herself in 2012 as Someone Who Has Been to Other Countries, also, too. Now, the real question is will the prolific tweeter find time to at least tweet out a call to help the Haitians, or will the miser in her overwhelm any urge of Christmas spirit, knowing as any teabagger does that there’s only so much to go around and she’s still got loads of books to sell?
Maybe when someone suggested she visit Haiti she thought that a country with "Hate" in its [incorrect] pronunciation was right up her alley.
And just to finish off your weekend on just the right note of hopelessness, John Quiggin projects what a Palin presidency would look like.