ABC News’ Sheila Marikar ( @SheilaYM ) reports from Pella, Iowa:
There’s the stereotype of the Sarah Palin supporter, and then there’s Sonnie Johnson.
The 30-year-old African-American mother and wife is featured in “The Undefeated” as one of the many people Palin captivated when John McCain thrust her onto the national stage as his vice presidential running mate in 2008. In Pella, Iowa today for the premiere of the film, Johnson said she latched on to Palin when the former Alaska governor took the stage at the Republican National Convention.
“We were watching it on TV and my daughter was like, ‘A girl can be president?,’” Johnson recalled. “And I said, ‘Yes, baby, girls can do anything.’ That was the moment -- I saw that look in my daughter’s eye, that anything in possible. The next week, I went to my very first political event, and that was to see Sarah Palin. John McCain and Sarah Palin.”
Johnson has become increasingly involved in the tea party since then, speaking at tea party events around her native Virginia. She’ll give the keynote address at an event held by the Charlottesville, VA. tea party on the Fourth of July with her young daughter by her side.
“She’ll be on stage with me,” Johnson said. “I want to get her involved, little by little. I like to say that for the black community, nothing will change until we learn to love our children more than we love the Democratic party.”
After Stephen K. Bannon cast her in his 2010 documentary about conservative women leaders, “Fire From the Heartland,” he asked Johnson to speak about Palin’s influence on her for “The Undefeated.” Other tea party personalities have failed to capture Johnson’s attention as Palin has.
“The main thing she says and she goes for is [for government] to get out of my life,” Johnson said. “That’s the kind of person that we need in the White House. One that takes responsibility and puts it back on the people.”
And while Johnson’s only met the former Alaska governor once before, she hopes to push her towards running at tonight’s premiere.
“I’ll peddle her today,” she said. “Basically, I put the option out there that if she’s going to run, I’ll be hers through 2012. Anything I can do, I’ll be hers.”