May 4th, 2009
09:11 PM ET
5 years ago

Palin joins GOP rebranding effort, Limbaugh says leaders fear her

Palin is taking part in a new organization to rebrand the GOP
Palin is taking part in a new organization to rebrand the GOP

(CNN) – A few hours after Rush Limbaugh told listeners GOP leaders launching a Republican re-branding effort hated and feared Sarah Palin, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor announced that the Alaska governor had finally accepted an invitation to join the group.

On a conference call last week for the National Council for a New America, former Republican presidential candidate John McCain said he thought his running mate would probably be part of the effort as well - but there had been no immediate confirmation by her office.

The two groups of key Palin aides - those in the governor's office in Alaska, and at her Virginia-based political action committee SarahPAC - have often given very different messages on her participation in various efforts: Congressional leaders and conservative activists have both announced Palin's planned attendance at major events this year after receiving assurances from one set of advisors, only to learn later from other aides that she hadn't yet made a decision.

The governor's decision to join the NCNA's panel of experts was confirmed Monday by spokeswoman Meg Stapleton.

At the group's kickoff event - a town hall-style gathering at an Arlington, Virginia restaurant - Cantor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney urged the party to re-frame their message. Bush, in particular, expressed admiration for President Obama's political skill, and told the crowd not to get mired in "nostalgia" for past GOP dominance.

He mentioned no names, but Limbaugh interpreted that remark as a knock on Palin and President Ronald Reagan.

"Something else you have to understand is these people hate Palin too," the conservative radio host said Monday. "They despise Sarah Palin, they fear Sarah Palin, they don't like her either. She's, according to them she's embarrassing. McCain said, 'I was there with Ronald Reagan'.... No Reagan voter ever believed McCain was a Reaganite.

"And I think... a lot of this is aimed at Sarah Palin. When you strip all the talk - It's 'the Reagan era is over, stop all this nostalgia and stuff.' Clearly, in last year's campaign, the most prominent, articulate voice for standard, run-of-the-mill, good old-fashioned American conservatism was Sarah Palin. Now, everybody on this [NCNA] Speak to America tour has presidential perspirations [sic]. Mitt Romney there, he wants to be president again. Jeb may someday. Eric Cantor, some of the others, McCain - I don't think he does, but you never know. So this is an early campaign event, 2012 presidential campaign, primary campaign, with everybody there but Sarah Palin."

Limbaugh has not yet responded to the NCNA announcement. Palin joins Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, McCain, Bush and Romney on the NCNA's national panel of experts.


Filed under: Extra • Sarah Palin
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. jclantz

    no one has treated sarah Palin worse than the Republican leaders.

    May 4, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. Kaye -Jacksonville FL

    Ha!! So will Rush now have to apologize to someone?? The GOP is a six-ring circus ... and Rush is the drunken ringleader!

    May 4, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. GOP = 21st century dodo

    "Clearly, in last year's campaign, the most prominent, articulate voice for standard run-of the mill good old fashioned American conservatism was Sarah Palin"

    Rush has officially jumped the shark. I feel bad for the shark missing out on a family-size meal.

    May 4, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. fj

    herr rush speaks and all of the conservofascists salute and march in lockstep.

    if anybody still belives that limbaugh is not the leader of the waning republican party, THIS PROVES IT!

    good luck to the gop in 2010 – you’re gonna’ need it.

    May 4, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  5. Chuck

    If the Republican Party wants to script a message they better leave out the talk-radio base, because a lot of American found out that jobs going overseas (both white collar and blue collar), manufacturing jobs leaving America, illegal immigrants working on jobs for lower wages, and sliding wages were not what mainstream America bargained for when the Conservative got elected in 1980. What we see now is the promise of what America voted for in 1980.

    May 4, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  6. Steve, Columbia SC

    If Governor Palin settles back into effective government in Alaska and is able to put the campaign and personal publicity behind her, I believe she will be one very strong contributor to the rebranding effort the republicans need to complete.

    This is one long-time Alaska resident of Anchorage and Wasilla still has great respect for Governor Palin, and I am not convinced republicans at any level hate her to the degree some believe.

    May 4, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  7. Wayne Messer

    No one should be concerned about Limbaugh or Palin. Nether get it. Their party does not think they have to consider anyone but, their own kind.

    Two blowhard do not save a sinking ship.

    May 4, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. Tim E

    If Rush is truly interested in the rebranding of his Republican lemmings, I have a suggestion for him. It involves fire and hot metal.

    May 4, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  9. Lewis Tant, RN

    Rebranding the GOP??? Maybe we should try that with Torture or Cancer. Make torture, Cancer and the GOP mean something good??? Good Luck with that!!!

    May 4, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  10. proud army navy mom

    Rebranding, are they serious.

    New slogan: From dumb to dumber or;

    from the sublime to the ridiculous

    May 4, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  11. Winkandanod

    Panel of experts? What exactly is Sarah Palin an expert of?
    Abstinence only education?
    Ethics?
    Geography?
    Grammar and Syntax?
    Parenting?

    May 4, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  12. Sevin

    Rush has not been current since the Dole campaign. Rush is the democrat's best friend.

    May 4, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  13. Doug

    As a card carrying Democrat, I truly do hope that the GOP contiues to parade Sarah Sixpack in front of voters. Her inane backwoods antics and inability to discuss even the most basic of issues with any type of intelligence or depth will make it easier for us to continue our recent election victories. Please, Sarah, run in 2012. It will make the relection of President Obama that much easier.

    May 4, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  14. Brent Scott

    These people are scary! They are real scary! America should be afraid of them!

    May 4, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  15. John

    Rush was the idiot who forced Palin on McCain, and pretty much destroyed McCain's, and the GOP's chances in the 2008 election, not that they were good before Palin was selected.

    All Palin did was solidify & energize the GOP base, which McCain probably needed, but it also completely alienated the moderates.

    Once the economy tanked, the GOP was toast.

    Now Rush is trying to justify his huge mistake with Palin, by badmouthing the GOP leadership.

    Keep it up Rush, You're doing more damage to the GOP than they are to themselves.

    What a buffoon.

    May 4, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  16. Sarah

    Oh boy. I'm so glad they invited Sarah to their crazy tea party...now I'm not at all worried about the "new face" of the GOP being at all threatening...it's as white, vapid and stupid as it always has been. New my arse.

    May 4, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  17. Roger from CA

    Oh, this is the funniest thing I ever read!

    The GOP hates Sarah Palin??? Admonishments against "nostalgia" are references to Sarah Palin???? Sarah Palin is "articulate"???? OH, PUH-LEEEEEEZZE!

    If anyone in the GOP hates Sarah Palin, it is because there might be a soul or two who realizes that, despite the splashiness of her entry into the race and the TEMPORARY bump it gave McCain, she was an out-of-control, loose-cannon nut job who eventually proved to be an anchor around the old sailor's neck.

    Sarah Palin was (and is) capable of NOTHING but acting as a petty dictator in her state and on the campaign trail. Check that, she was (and is) capable of blathering on about hateful, wingnut nonsense that warms the cockles of the hearts of 20% or less of the population, expressly seeks to alienate 40% of the population, and simply disgusts the balance of the population.

    The sad thing is that the Republicans are in such disarray, that they either risk becoming a lunatic-fringe minor party, or they may have to put forward yet another Bush (Jeb, this time) as a known quantity. Yikes.

    May 4, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  18. waynef

    You go Rush! Keep dragging your minions to the right! And Palin is going to help "rebrand" the GOP? I love it.

    I think a centalist 3rd party is getting closer by the minute.

    May 4, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  19. Louis

    The GOP should not embrace Palin unless their rebranding effort is being the party of fearmongoring and myopia.

    May 4, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  20. Denise

    Palin joins GOP rebranding effort?? That sounds like the right step in the wrong direction. Of course.

    May 4, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  21. Ken

    Just another example of the total disorganization of a party in shreds. This chaos is turning into a far more interesting "Operation Chaos" than the first one that failed for its organizer, Rush the Entertainer!

    May 4, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  22. Frank Lee

    Stupid Limbaugh thinks everyone else has it wrong but him.

    Keep talkin', Rush. You've managed to sink the GOP, and for that the Democrats are forever grateful.

    Palin is feared – but not for the reasons Limbaugh shares.

    May 4, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  23. Republicans are the American Taliban

    We just had a campaign.... so this is a campaign event? Why don't you get Sarah Palin on a conference call and ask her where the $150,000 in designer clothes are that she promised to return or donate to charity. That would be an image booster. Sarah can't participate with you idiots much anymore because every time she leaves home to campaign she gets another grandchild from one of the neighbor boys.

    May 4, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  24. Bob

    Thank God Palin has joined the "rebranding" effort. Once again the GOP will wallow in its own swill and guarantee a two-term Obama presidency. When will that party get it? Palin is as polarizing a figure as they can produce, and has demonstrated zero amounts of two desperately-needed-by-the-GOP assets - brains and mass appeal - yet they can't seem to move without her. Evidently she's joining the "NCNA's national panel of experts." Experts at what? Screwing everything up? No wonder they went and got her. Talk about being lost in the wilderness without a compass.....

    The Repubs keep saying they need to "re-frame their message." What they should really be saying is "We don't have a message, but we're trying really, really hard to come up with one. Our first step will be to come up with a way to convince everybody that we really do care about other people besides the superrich."

    May 4, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. Kerry, CA

    "the most prominent, articulate voice"? Did he listen to how articulate she was in the Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson interviews? Or is he referring to the articulate ways she riled up the crowds at her rallies? The woman couldn't answer a basic question...that's what we feared, that someone with so little knowledge and so much hatred actually had a chance of leading this great country.

    May 4, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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