By: MIKE BAKER
The U.S. Army plans to prevent media from covering Sarah Palin’s appearance at Fort Bragg, fearing the event will turn into political grandstanding against President Barack Obama, officials said Thursday.
Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum told The Associated Press that Bragg’s garrison commander and other Army officials had decided to keep media away from Palin’s book promotion. He said the Army did not want the Monday event to become a platform to express political opinions “directed against the commander in chief.”
“The main reason is to stop this from turning into a political platform,” he said. “There are Army regulations that basically prohibit military reservations from becoming political platforms by politicians.”
He said only one politician can use that platform, “and that person does it as our commander in chief.”
Other members of the public would be permitted to attend the event.
Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, has already agreed not to give a speech at Bragg, McCollum said. But he worried that Palin’s supporters might make the event political and use the media to express opinions from the base.
“This will stop someone from grandstanding,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Palin’s publisher, HarperCollins, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Palin began her promotional tour this week for a new memoir, “Going Rogue,” with plans to travel through several states that were key to the 2008 election, including North Carolina.
McCollum said it’s not clear if Palin is considered a politician but noted that she has been critical of Obama while promoting the book. She said in an interview with ABC News that Obama should provide more troops to Afghanistan.
“It frustrates me and frightens me ? and many Americans ? that President Obama is dithering around with the decision in Afghanistan,” she said.
Palin doesn’t appear to be using her book-signing events to explicitly promote her politics, however. She spoke briefly to supporters outside an event in Michigan on Wednesday, saying it was great to be there and not mentioning Obama.
At least one person in the crowd yelled: “Palin power. 2012, yes.”