Sarah Palin book tour

hundreds queue overnight for Michigan signing . More than 1,000 people queued for up to 24 hours to have their books signed on the first stop of Sarah Palin's tour to promote her new book.

Confirming her rock star political status, students bunked off, employees skipped work and the most ardent fans huddled in the cold overnight to make sure they received an orange wristband, given out by security staff at a shopping mall in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that would let them meet the former Republican vice presidential candidate.

They sported "Palin Power" stickers and Palin T-shirts and broke into occasional chants of of "Palin! Palin! Palin!" Scores more who couldn't get wristbands awaited Mrs Palin's arrival outside, braving the cold and yelling "USA!" and "Sarah, Sarah!" at an event that took on the feel of a political rally.

"She's a person of faith, she has a family, she has gone through a lot of the trials and tribulations we have. I'd vote for her in a heartbeat," said Lana Smith, a worker at a bus company who took the day off work and had been queuing up since 5:30 am on Wednesday.

The song "Only in America," a standard on former President George W. Bush's 2004 campaign stops, played as Mrs Palin's tour bus, painted to resemble the cover of her book, pulled up to the Woodland Mall. She will visit another ten medium-sized towns in swing states, prompting speculation that the tour is designed as a gentle test run for a 2012 bid for the Republican nomination.

"I just can't tell you how good it is to be back in Michigan," the former Alaska governor said after getting off the bus carrying her youngest son, Trig. "Alaska and Michigan have so much in common, with the huntin' and the fishin' and the hockey moms, and just the hardworking, patriotic Americans who are here."

Mrs Palin took time to shake hands with most of those whose book she signed during a three-hour session, something 50-year-old Bill Buckner appreciated after Mrs Palin signed books for him and his 21-year-old daughter, Michelle.

"We are very, very honoured that she came here. And coming to Grand Rapids as her No 1 stop is even better," said Mr Buckner, who had joined the queue at 4.30 am.

The memoir was released on Tuesday but has topped best-seller lists for weeks.

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