Sarah Palin stepped into the national spotlight in August 2008, when Republican presidential candidate John McCain chose her as his running mate.
Until then, few people outside of Alaska had heard of that state's first-term governor. She became a figure both popular and reviled, taking the stage in a thunderous appearance at the Republican National Convention but then seeming unable to name any newspapers she read.
Since the election, Palin resigned from office, wrote a biography, began a national speaking tour, signed on as a commentator for Fox News, became popular with the tea party movement and is about to embark on a reality show highlighting Alaska.
She remains the most polarizing figure in American politics: While she is hailed for her blunt talk about government reform, she is lambasted for her inexperience and missteps.
And she's coming to Turlock.
Palin's appearance at tonight's 50th anniversary gala at California State University, Stanislaus, will bring supporters, protesters and the curious to town.
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