Approximately 1,500 people gathered at the Austin Convention Center tonight to hear former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is emerging as a leader of the Tea Party movement and is often touted as a potential presidential contender in 2012.
"I think she's a big crowd draw, a neat lady and a real asset for the Republican Party," said State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, as he arrived at the downtown convention center.
Gov. Rick Perry, whom Palin endorsed in his re-election bid, was slated to introduce the former vice presidential nominee.
The Austin event was sponsored by Heroic Media, which was founded in 2004 to promote alternatives to abortion.
About a dozen pro-choice demonstrators rallied outside chanting, "My body, my choice!"
"I can't stand her," said social worker Terri Lindgren. "I can't believe that people actually pay to listen to her."
Ticket prices ranged from $50 to $10,000 for a package of 10 tickets as well as attendance to a reception and a chance to meet Palin.
-- Dave Montgomery