Palin Draws Thousands to Book Signing at Fort Bragg

Sarah Palin drew a crowd of over 4,000 on Monday to her book signing at Fort Bragg, though the former Alaska governor kept her appearance from turning into the kind of "political platform" that some military officials were concerned about.

Palin did not give a speech during her three-hour stop at the North Carolina Army base, apparently living up to her pledge to tone down the event after Fort Bragg officials expressed concern that the visit could prompt grandstanding against the Obama administration.

"It was just a peaceful crowd -- orderly, no one making any strange comments that I know of," a Fort Bragg official told The official said close to 4,500 people showed up, many braving the cold and rain  as they waited for hours to meet the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. The official said about 500 people had to be turned away when Palin had to leave.

"It was a very excited crowd," the official said.

Fort Bragg officials initially limited news organizations from covering the stop on Palin's tour to promote her book, "Going Rogue: An American Life." Those restrictions were dropped after The Associated Press and The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer protested.

Fort Bragg, which is the base for about 35,000 soldiers, does not hold many promotional events, especially  with political figures. Officials said they worried that media coverage would turn the appearance into a platform for people to express political opinions "directed against the commander in chief."

"The main reason is to stop this from turning into a political platform," Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum said ahead of the book signing.

As with other stops on Palin's tour, the Fort Bragg appearance attracted a devoted following.

The Fayetteville Observer reported that about a dozen people had been waiting since Sunday. More than 1,200 people were lined up outside the Fort Bragg store where Palin was signing books by the time she arrived Monday morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.