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Palin wows the crowd at Bucks County fund-raiser

PLUMSTEAD - Sarah Palin wasted no time Tuesday night teasing her audience of supporters at a fund-raiser for Plumstead Christian School.

PLUMSTEAD - Sarah Palin wasted no time Tuesday night teasing her audience of supporters at a fund-raiser for Plumstead Christian School.

After an alumnus of the private school, north of Doylestown in Bucks County, finished an uplifting performance of "God Bless America," she coyly asked him, "Would you like to sing that at an Inauguration?"

It was just what the crowd of more than 400 people wanted to hear. For an hour, the audience of students, parents and alumni listened as the former Alaska governor delivered a speech that was part homespun tales from the Palin household and part hardball tea party politics.

But it wasn't until the end of her program, that the school's chancellor, Dean Whiteway, returned to the question on everyone's mind: Under what circumstances would she consider running for president?

"Goodness gracious," Palin answered. "I'm speechless."

She said it would take "prayerful consideration and polling of my family" before she would make up her mind on whether to run in 2012. "I would be in it to win it," Palin said. "I wouldn't do it just to shake things up." She added, "I would certainly have to put a lot more thought into it than what I could give you today."

She got the biggest cheer of the night when a student asked her what she would change if elected President: "Repeal Obamacare." She called it "the mother of all unfunded mandates. We didn't want it to start with and we can't afford it."

Plumstead Christian, a K-12 school founded as a Mennonite school in 1948, invited Palin to speak as part of its Founders Forum. Past speakers have included Vice President Dan Quayle and Moral Majority Leader Jerry Fallwell. Palin, who was paid for her appearance, spent the day with students and participated in a $750-a-person fund-raising dinner for the school earlier in the evening at the Cock 'N Bull restaurant in Lahaska. Tickets for her presentation cost $75 to $250.

Paul Ciotta, a media coordinator for Plumstead Christian, called Palin "the biggest name going" in politics and said the school invited her because "her values reflect where we are."

Palin didn't disappoint. She said the country's heritage was built on Judeo-Christian values and was "nothing to apologize for."

"Faith must be welcomed in the public square and not shunned," Palin said. And when asked by a student during questions if she would support a tax-credit for parents who send their children to Christian schools, she said, "Absolutely."

Dorothy Ciavarelli, of Chestnut Hill, who drove to the speech with her husband, Gennaro, declared Palin "fabulous." She said it was refreshing to hear a politician speak so unabashedly about "patriotism and spirituality" and would like to see her make a run for the White House.

Her husband was less sure. "She needs more seasoning," he said. "The country is not ready for her firebrand."

For her visit to Plumstead Christian, the student body presented Palin with a gift: a teapot.