MILWAUKEE — In her Wisconsin debut as a Donald Trump surrogate, Sarah Palin was met with tepid applause and stone-faced silence Friday night at a Milwaukee County Republican gathering.
In contrast, the 750 Republicans at American Serb Hall cheered enthusiastically for Sen. Ted Cruz, who was introduced by Gov. Scott Walker and talk radio host Vicki McKenna.
The contrasting receptions illustrated why the Texas senator has surged past the real estate mogul and reality TV celebrity in the latest polls, especially in southeastern Wisconsin.
Palin opened with a call for unity among the candidates in supporting former Green Bay Packer offensive lineman Jerry Kramer’s induction into the NFL hall of fame, a joke that mostly fell flat. Her free-flowing, seemingly stream-of-consciousness speech from prepared notes criticized crony capitalists on Wall Street for profiting from open borders, free trade and military intervention while regular people suffer.
After Palin, McKenna, who Trump hung up on during an intense interview earlier in the week, fired up the crowd by slamming Trump’s criticisms of Walker and the Wisconsin economy.
Walker then introduced Cruz as a candidate who would bring to Washington the same “common sense conservative leadership” that Walker brought to Wisconsin.
Palin was the second featured speaker after Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who had a small contingent of supporters in the crowd and was introduced by former Gov. Tommy Thompson.
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