May 4th, 2009
09:11 PM ET
6 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. Brian mesaAZ

    Her ideas will bring in more people to the party? You have got to be kidding. Just more of the same with lipstick on.

    May 4, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  2. bob in LA

    So Republicans "hate" Palin ( so says Limbaugh)....Finally!
    The rest of us have since 48 hours after she was nominated!

    May 4, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. niraj

    Palin as the most articulate voice in 2008 campaign? Rush.. what are you smoking?

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

    Re-brand this GOP with the same people is :"The same dog with different collar".

    May 4, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. Bob Lees

    So King Rush speaks and his viceroy Eric Cantor immediately hops on his trusty steed, the gelding Mitt Romney, to offer an invitation to Princess Caribou.

    How nice that the GOP continues to listen to that bloviating gasbag, keep digging the hole and lets see how many more Congresscritters and Senators they can lose.

    I guess you have to hit rock bottom before you see how far you've fallen but it's really sad to see the pathetic state of the once decent Republican party.

    May 4, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. Josey

    Shouldn't that be "regelding" and not "rebranding"?

    May 4, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. Doug Fekete

    Well, we finally find out the facts. Whatever Rush says is the truth is as good as God's word to the GOP.

    May 4, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  8. Steve

    Republicans are behaving like, well, Democrats, tearing each other apart after a loss. Republicans don't fear Palin because she's a great voter-getter but because they know she's an idological half-weight who cost them votes. She has one thing going for her: a strongly, inflexible, right wing ideology. This app[eals to activists in the party, like George McGovern appealed to left wing ideologues in 1972, but she will never, ever be President. McCain thought he was doing something groundbreaking, just like Bush I did with Dan Quayle. Both were stupid picks.

    May 4, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  9. Simmy

    "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."
    ************************************************************************
    Limbaugh spoke and Palin was in......Steele will be in only if and when Big Daddy says so......This is too rich! ........ What a great time to be alive..... Thanks Republicans for the dramedy .....

    May 4, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  10. Tom

    Good for them. Keep Sarah out there it can only help the country. If she is out there, then the republicans don't win. That is good for America!

    May 4, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  11. Mark in Atlanta

    Easy to figure this out- Palin has a big future in Rush's party. As a functionally illiterate mean-girl/gun-toting redneck, she is a perfect fit for his "don't pay attention to reality, listen to me instead" politics. The thing is, if the republicans continue to slavishly follow Rush's lead, they will be loved by 20 million Americans and reviled or pitied by the remaining two hundred and some odd million. Add Palin to the mix, and the Rush Republicans might soar to the party of choice for 25 million. Let's hope it works out that way. Makes Obama's re-election a lock.

    May 4, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  12. dsmith

    As a Democrat, I welcome Sarah Palin's addition to the "Republican "makeover." I'm sure her mastery of the issues will definitely help them to formulate a congent plan for reconnecting with America.

    May 4, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  13. Bill in Austin

    So, if I understand this, by all accounts,Senator McCain made a horrible mistake in selecting Sarah Palin for VP. Now she is the bellwether for the GOP. Talk about setting the standards low.

    May 4, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  14. Go Sarah!

    Go Sarah!! Of course they fear her, that is why the media and CNN do nothing but try and tear her apart and try and make a story out of everything Palin. If Dems didn't fear her, they wouldn't obsess over her like they do. Too bad Obama was never questioned like she was, he would have never been voted in if people really knew what he stood for.

    May 4, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  15. Swine Flu denier

    Where is Ron Paul?

    May 4, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  16. Patricia

    That is great news!!!! Ha ha……great news for the democrats! Palin will ensure Obama's re-election!!

    I can't believe the Republicans would put her out there again. "Panel of Experts" LOL I can't wait for the entertainment!

    May 4, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  17. chas rei

    Her participation in the re-branding is the best news all day.
    Signed, A democrat

    May 4, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  18. vicky

    Don't these people have jobs that we are paying them to do? Instead of trying to bring people back to their party by traveling around and campaigning they should be in Washington or their state's capitals doing the job we are paying them for. Maybe if they did their jobs and did them well people would want to vote for them. If we are just paying them to campaign they deserve to be booted out.

    May 4, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  19. once upon a horse

    and these people look up to Limbaugh as a leader? This party can't even get together who the face of it is and with the bickering I doubt if they are going to improve much on that 33% approval rating they have.

    Dump Rush

    Stop asking "Joe the Plumber" to talk at rallies

    and that's just a start..I don't have enough room here to go into more.

    May 4, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  20. Levi Palin

    Dude – the Reagan era has been over for 20 years. Maybe Rush missed the ending because he was in a Percocet-induced fog.

    May 4, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  21. Tom in CA

    Keep the moose protecting the "Great Northern Frontier."

    Rush just needs to keep off the oxy to be coherent!

    May 4, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  22. Kristin

    I thought they were trying to gain new members. I love it. She will make it much easier to win AGAIN. See ya in 2012. Go Sarah!!! LOL

    Barack 2012
    Michelle 2016
    Oh Yeah!!!

    May 4, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  23. Lynn

    I fear her as well!! She is a right wing nut along with the rest of their crew.

    May 4, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  24. DEMICHAE

    As a former long time Republican, I just shake my head when I read about Sarah Palin. She's exactly what the party does not need right now. She's not very bright, she lacks any real experience, and she's got LOTS of baggage.
    If they think their little dog and pony show, featuring the mormon guy, McCain the loser, that clown Bobby Jindal who ruined his career during that televised rebuttal, and W's lil' brother, is going to change anyone's mind, then they are delusional.
    I was a Republican for 26 years before I finally switched this year. I don't recognize the current party. If it isn't representing fundamentalist christian beliefs, its representing the banks. Jindal, Palin, Limbaugh....sad footnotes to a once relevant party.

    May 4, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  25. Jonathan

    Rush has got it all wrong. The Republican establishments has absolutely no problem with Palin; she embraces their neo-con agenda. The man who Republicans truly fear is Ron Paul – he's building a libertarian movement in this country and threatening to destroy neo-conservative dominance in the party.

    May 4, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
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