April 8th, 2009
08:30 AM ET
9 years ago

Bob Corker to headline South Carolina GOP dinner

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker will deliver the keynote address to the South Carolina GOP's Silver Elephant Banquet.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker will deliver the keynote address to the South Carolina GOP's Silver Elephant Banquet.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker will headline the South Carolina Republican Party’s annual Silver Elephant Banquet in May, a state party official tells CNN.

The speaking slot offers the senator a chance to impress the South Carolina GOP establishment at the party’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and because of the state’s crucial role in the presidential nominating process, Corker’s visit could spark chatter about his future political aspirations.

Past speakers at the event have included Mike Pence, George Allen, John McCain, Newt Gingrich and Ronald Reagan. The banquet was also the setting for two Republican presidential primary debates in 1996 and 2000.

Although Corker isn’t currently thought to have ambitions beyond the Senate, he is regarded as a rising star within the Republican caucus and won plaudits on both sides of the aisle last December for crafting an alternative to President Bush’s plan to bail out the auto industry.

South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson described Corker - the former mayor of Chattanooga who came to the Senate in 2006 after a tough campaign against Democrat Harold Ford, Jr. - as “a conservative that offers common sense solutions to our nation’s toughest challenges.”

The party will make the announcement on Wednesday.

The South Carolina GOP had planned to invite Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to speak at the dinner, according to a state Republican operative familiar with the plans, but discussions with Palin’s political advisers on the East Coast ended after the governor’s staff in Alaska “shot it down.”

Meg Stapleton, a spokeswoman for Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC, said that the governor’s office in Alaska declined the speaking offer two separate times, once in December and again several weeks ago, when the South Carolina GOP put in a second request through the PAC.

Stapleton said Palin is not even considering “the thousands of invitations and requests” she has received until the Alaska legislative session ends on April 19.

“During the tight timeline of the legislative session, the governor is focused on the state and achieving her goals for the state,” Stapleton said. “SarahPAC looks forward to presenting many of the appearance requests to the governor once the session ends in a few weeks.”

The session hasn’t stopped Palin from scheduling two out-of-state trips in the coming months paid for by SarahPAC: She’s appearing at the Vanderburgh County Right to Life banquet in Indiana on April 16, and will travel to upstate New York in June to attend an event honoring Alaska’s 50th anniversary at the childhood home of William Seward, who negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia

Filed under: Bob Corker • Sarah Palin • South Carolina
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. does Sen. Corker really want to be sloppy seconds to Palin?

    who can follow a Palin?

    she is a natural disaster where ever she goes and carries a good unintentional laugh

    Corker has big shoes to fill

    April 8, 2009 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  2. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Of all the past speakers, Reagan was the only one who was able to move on. Wonder if those attending the elegant Silver Elephant Dinner will be aware of the White Elephant in the room ??

    The GOP continues to search for a leader – Palin and Jindal used to be their rising stars – now Corker since Newt knows his time has passed and carries too much baggage.

    April 8, 2009 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  3. Enlightened Voter

    Please, no more Republicans!

    April 8, 2009 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  4. Ray

    Corker's a hypocrite. He's been so vocal about the auto industry bailout and the stimulus package yet he voted yes on the TARP bailout for the banks without a peep; no grandstanding in front of cameras saying that bankers should make concessions or that banks should go into bankruptcy. The bottom line: Corker is the friend of the wealthy and big business, but woe be the average American in Corker's world.

    April 8, 2009 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  5. Had It

    Just one more white-haired republican hypocrit.

    Who cares?

    April 8, 2009 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  6. PatC

    SHe is only appearing at non-partisan events. In fact I have yet to understand why the State isn't paying for the Seward trip.

    April 8, 2009 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  7. Joe Smoe

    Here we go again the rich working for the rich!!.

    April 8, 2009 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  8. tim

    Hey Republicans!

    Take a break from the meetings and lavish parties! Figure out how to fix things in the country rather than meet and party.

    Can't wait for the golden and bronze elephant meetings!

    April 8, 2009 08:17 am at 8:17 am |

    Sen Corker has impressed me with his reasonableness and his conservatism. Good choice, republicans.

    April 8, 2009 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  10. JasASU

    It looks like someone is trying to get some early support for the next election. hope things go well for him.

    April 8, 2009 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  11. jaye

    Corker is just another Repulican Obstructionist... just another of the many that want our president to fail.
    These republicans and their followers are anti-American. Period.

    April 8, 2009 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  12. Fitz in Texas

    I can only hope there is a "change" in 2010 and 2012 because Obama is ill with........."Patriotic Cancer."

    April 8, 2009 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Sarah Palin is not welcome on the east coats and she is definitely not wanted in the south.

    April 8, 2009 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  14. Alex

    Not that I'm a Sarah Palin fan because I'm NOT, but this just continues to show what a deep divide there is in the Republican Party. I'm amazed these folks still don't understand the principle of "Divide and Conquer" and I honestly have no hope in the immediate future for the Republican Party. The biggest problem here is that the concept of "ME" is the most important thing to some of these wanna be candidates like Sarah Palin. Looks like the Independant Party is the only viable way to go anytime soon. I wonder how many more terms of Democratic Party rule we'll all have to endure. And this, I believe, we owe all to 8 years of George W. Bush. What a legacy he's left this country.

    April 8, 2009 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  15. The black Spider

    You can't talk about a republican meeting anywhere without mentioning Sarah Palin?
    Everybody (at least the most smartest americans) knows by now in this country that that lady was an empty suit or baril and her small followers or fans are as ignorant as she is as well.
    She should be a stay home mom not even a governor and on top to become the president of the USA with all this drama in her family? please stop insulting the intelligence of the people of the gratest country on earth.
    She is irrelevant to the republicans and democrats.

    April 8, 2009 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  16. smokey

    They the GOP just don't know who to put out there..

    April 8, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  17. J.Crobuzon

    So he's "Palin Lite?" There go his political ambitions.

    April 8, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  18. Sharon

    I am from Tennessee and speaking of Bob Corker- I do not understand how it can be said that he is a rising star of the Republican party, unless they agree with his antics. Judging by how the Republicans are acting now, he is probably right in line. Bob Corker ran his own version of the "Willie Horton" ad during his campaign and now tries to portray himself as a common sense senator. Petty, racist and definitely out-of-touch would be my description of the senator.

    Just a piece of advice for Corker- try to keep your senate seat if you can. You will never be President!! I myself can not wait until he runs for e-election. I believe that Bob Corker will be in for a rude awakening. Just imagine all of the auto workers and many others who will happily help the Democratic grass root machine defeat him.

    April 8, 2009 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  19. jfs Memhis, Tn

    I'm from TN, white and over 60yrs...and frankly... I wish SC would keep him there. This FORMER CONTRACTOR who mad millions off of illegals working on his jobsites is a JOKE. He actually ran an ad suggestioning that our black candidate running against him( Harold Ford JR ).....was having an affair with a white woman !!!! Can you possily imagine ???? Guess what..................Corker won !!!!!!!! The mentality of these Southern Republicans is UNREAL. Please, Please South Carolina keep this piece of work. He has done nothing for this state but put it back 45 years in progression. He is NO Howard Baker or Al Gore. Coming from a former California Republican this guy is CLUELESS . Thanks SC for keeping him .

    April 8, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  20. proud army navy mom

    why would anyone want this backward, thieving, maker of the racist Harold Ford's (call me Harold) ads to speak for them..
    A rising star, don't you mean rising idiot. This man is corrupt.

    I live in tn. While, mayor Corker pushed legislation thru to develop land he and other partners owned and then collected millions of dollars in benefits. The gov't is so corrupt here, they make Chicago politicians look like gaudy school girls.

    April 8, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  21. ANGIE

    the repugs are a piece of work. for the last 8 years they didn't have to work, just used the old rubber stamp on whatever bush wanted. Now they don't have time to do the work they were elected to do because they all jockeying to see who will run in 2012. So they just crictize everything President Obama is trying to do, they don't want to take the time and help resolve the mess bush/cheney left. they are a sad bunch of LOSERS!!!!

    April 8, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  22. obama/mama

    The article sounded promising until the mention Caribou Barbie's name. Why don't they just leave her up there in the wilderness. She is not ready for the national stage.

    April 8, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  23. Irma in North Carolina

    Gosh are some of the republicans finally wakening up and realizing this woman can not even speak in complete sentence. I wonder if they will say anything about the torture tapes the republicans have and dont want released and that they are trying to Black Mail the president by not aproving the people he appoints. Just go the daily beast and read the article.

    April 8, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  24. Bill

    Perhaps he'll encourage distancing the GOP from the right wing nuts but that's not going to happen, so perhaps some peanuts for everyone.

    April 8, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  25. Dawn

    Do you guys think it will make a big difference? I think that the American people has had enough of the GOP's, if people can't remember the last 8 years, you must have been in a cave somewhere..

    Remember the GOP in exile and they are trying to find the United States of America......

    April 8, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
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