WASHINGTON (CNN) – In her first speech outside Alaska this year, Republican Gov. Sarah Palin praised her state, criticized the president's economic recovery plan and talked at length about her anti-abortion views.
But she didn't touch on what a lot of people wanted to know: Will she run for president in 2012?
Palin's appearance before the sold-out Vanderburgh County Right to Life dinner in Evansville, Indiana, brought in nationwide media and forced organizers to open up an overflow area for attendees.
"It's great to be here in Indiana, the crossroads of America," she said to thunderous applause.
Palin's dinner speech took her out of Alaska in the waning days of her state's legislative session, drawing harsh criticism from Democrats.
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"They condemn anything that I do, but especially traveling outside the
state to speak in another state at a function like this," she said. "Which is ironic, because these are the same critics who would love to see me outside the state forever, permanently, you know, outside the governor's office anyway."
The state legislature on Thursday rejected her nominee for attorney general, adding more tension for a governor who many in her state see as being too preoccupied with national ambitions since she was picked to be Sen. John McCain's running mate in last year's presidential election.
Palin's reticence to request the full economic stimulus money owed to Alaska has also sparked concerns back home.
She criticized the Fed's economic stimulus package as having too many
strings attached and said states will "at the end of the day realize those dollars can actually be bad for states."
"This isn't free money folks. Our nation is $11 trillion in debt. This is borrowed money," she said. "We're borrowing money from China, and we may someday find ourselves enslaved to countries that hold our notes."
Palin dedicated most of her speech to the anti-abortion cause and her support of adoption. She became emotional when discussing her son Trig, who has Down syndrome, and the fear and concern she felt during her pregnancy.
"I had to call upon my faith and ask that my heart be filled up and I will tell you, the moment he was born, I knew for sure that my prayer was answered and my heart overflowed with joy," she said choking back tears.
Palin is scheduled to attend a breakfast Friday morning in Evansville with members of S.M.I.L.E., a nonprofit for relatives of those with Down syndrome.