Story last updated at 7/8/2009 - 11:36 am
JUNEAU - Gov. Sarah Palin may be keeping a low profile but the governor's mansion drew not only strolling tourists on July 4th but four police cruisers and a CBS News camera crew that filmed the emergence of a hooded, sun-glassed woman who left in an unmarked state vehicle.
The consensus of the CBS crew, sent for the day from their Los Angeles bureau in a failed attempt to interview Palin, and this reporter, was that the short woman wearing wrap-around sunglasses and a baseball cap pulled down to her brow, was not the governor but more likely a friend of a Palin daughter being given a ride home. Despite 80-degree temperatures, the woman, who appeared to have jet-black hair, drew the dark blue hood over her cap and pulled the lower portion over her chin as she entered the back Dodge driven by a plain-clothed state trooper.
The four Juneau Police Department cruisers, which arrived around 2:40 p.m. and left well before the mystery woman's departure, were sent for crowd control. "We got a call that there was a crowd of about 20 up there. We went up there to make sure that traffic was moving and people walking on the sidewalk could still pass," explained JPD Lt. Kris Sell.
Sell declined to say whether the call originated in the governor's mansion but said it did not mention the camera crew. She said the four cruisers, arriving without sirens blaring or lights flashing, were not meant as a show of force.
"Getting people to back up off the sidewalks ... can take quite a few officers," Sell said. She noted that the officers, including one wearing a cap labeled "Chaplain," found no problems when they arrived.
CBS correspondent Terry Brown and his three-member crew spent some three hours outside the governor's mansion, including about 15 minutes at the door. No one from the house staff ever emerged even to tell the media to get lost, though one passing motorist called out to the journalists to leave Palin alone. A young man in the passenger seat of a passing gray pickup truck extended his right arm and middle finger but made no comment to indicate whether the gesture was meant for the media or the governor.