Palin dinner offered on eBay brings in $63,500 for charity

7 BIDDERS: Winner wants to see former governor as president.

September 18, 2009 

A true fan of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is shelling out $63,500 to have dinner with her.

Cathy Maples of Huntsville, Ala., was the winner Friday of an Internet auction to aid a charity that benefits wounded veterans.

"I fully support the military and our people that fight for our freedoms," said Maples, a defense contractor who owns her own business.

"I thought it was an extremely good cause, and also I'm a big advocate for Sarah Palin. I think she has a lot of morals, and I would love to see her as president of our country," she said in a phone interview.

Palin offered the dinner as part of a charity auction on the Internet Web site eBay for the Ride 2 Recovery program, which supports wounded veterans through cycling programs. Nine other auction items were offered in the event.

"We're extremely happy," said John Wordin, executive director of the California-based Ride 2 Recovery. "We ended up grossing over $95,000, which is about as good as it gets right now. We cannot thank the participants and the bidders enough."

The money will help support the organization's programs, like the Golden State Challenge, where 150 wounded veterans will bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles along the Pacific Coast Highway. The challenge starts Oct. 4.

Messages left with Palin's spokeswoman on Friday were not immediately returned.

Maples has met Palin twice before, once at a fundraiser in North Carolina during last year's presidential campaign. The other meeting was in Alaska last summer, shortly before Palin left office.

"I've been to Alaska about three times, and the last time I came I bought my grandchildren up, and I tried to make sure my they got to meet her, and they did," she said of the brief meeting at an airport.

"She was a very gracious person, and we enjoyed it," Maples said.

Seven people placed 61 bids over the 10-day run of the auction, which had a minimum bid of $25,000. Maples will have to foot the bill to meet up with Palin for dinner, likely in Alaska. She wouldn't have any problems making another trip north. "I love Alaska," she said.

Other auction items for the charity included lunch with former Bush aide Karl Rove (which went for $16,000), a "CSI: New York" set experience and party with star Gary Sinise ($4,150), and a Rob Lowe-autographed baseball jersey ($620).

Maples is allowed to bring four people to dinner. She says the plan right now is to bring her two grandchildren, 13 and 18 years old, their mother and the 18-year-old's girlfriend.

The auction had regulations for the winner, including passing a background check.

"Will not be a problem," Maples said.

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