WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Hundreds of Sarah Palin supporters didn't seem to mind being herded in small groups from one end of a West Des Moines bookstore to the other Saturday for brief exchanges with the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate.
Few at the book signing at Borders complained. Most couldn't contain their excitement.
Diane Schultz, mother of newly elected Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, said she was at the event to score a surprise Christmas gift for her son: a signed copy of Palin's new book, "American by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag."
"I'm the unpolitical one in the family," said Schultz, whose Republican son was elected with support from tea party activists.
Palin's visit to the suburban bookstore brought her back to Iowa, a state that hosts the caucuses that kick off the presidential nominating season. She has hinted that she's considering a 2012 presidential run, but insists the visit was about promoting her book.
Security was tight at the book signing, and journalists were not allowed to get close. Palin granted no media interviews during the event.
People who bought copies of Palin's book were shuffled to the signing table in small groups. That did little to dampen the enthusiasm among Palin supporters who showed up.
"I think she's speaking for America," said Mark Lahvic from Ankeny. "She is saying things that other people won't."
Palin, in her visits to Iowa, has taken no action toward putting together the type of political organization that many strategists say is essential for the state's precinct caucuses. But she clearly has generated a buzz with her appearances.
"I just think she's very honest and she's a breath of fresh air," said Gloria Anderson of Urbandale.
The book was priced at $25.95, but the store was offering a 40 percent discount for the event.
Chris Crowley of Des Moines said he also was buying Christmas presents, but declared himself a fan. "She is very smart, she is the change that America needs," Crowley said of Palin.
Sheila Wilson said Palin has her vote should she decide to run.
"I stood in line because I appreciate her values," said Wilson, also of Des Moines. "They are right in line with mine."
Brian Belew said he thinks Palin is "honest and very smart."
"You don't run a state without knowing what you are doing," the Des Moines resident said.
Palin had no events scheduled beyond the signing, but is scheduled to return to Iowa on Thursday for an event in Spirit Lake.