Thousands turn out for Bachmann, Palin

MINNEAPOLIS — Two of the Republican Party's most potent and polarizing superstars hit the stage in downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon and basked in the adulation of thousands of supporters.

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin headlined the rally to lend a hand to Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

"Let's do the rest of the nation a favor and re-elect Michele Bachmann," Palin said.

She got an equally loud response when she asked, "Are there any tea party Americans here today?" She called the tea party movement "a beautiful grassroots movement sweeping across the country.... The tea party is growing and steaming," having enlisted "people who are deeply concerned about the path our country is on."

When it comes to federal bailout money, Palin said, too many people think "this is all free money and somehow magically it's all going" to work out. She compared the bailout money to an addiction, calling it OPM, or "other people's money."

GOP officials said they handed out more than 11,000 free tickets and ticket holders began streaming into the hall two hours before the event began.

Noting the turnout, Bachmann shouted, "Take that, liberals!"

Speaking of the upcoming midterm election, Bachmann said, "There is hope, there is change — real change coming to this country this November. This is our country. We own this country."

Of Palin, Bachmann said, "She is one of us."