May 4th, 2009
09:11 PM ET
9 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. Anthony

    No one fears the GOP any longer... theyve proved time and time again that they have the wrong vision for this country and we Americans are no longer falling for it.

    May 4, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  2. Michael

    GOP should embrace Palin. Make her the center point of their 2112 strategy. Form the whole party's platform around her. Yea Palin! Yea Palin! Go Palin!

    May 4, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  3. JN

    Just goes to show: Rush Limbaugh runs the Republican Party. Without directly saying so, he pretty much gave the politicians there marching orders: Put Sarah Palin on that NCNA tour panel.....and do it now!

    May 4, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  4. Leah in Florida

    Is Limbaugh on drugs again? He's using the same crude "your either wih us or against us" argument that caused America to be despised around the world and fighting our 2 wars virtually without the help ofour historical allies. Limbaugh and Palin are outrageously popular within the GOP because they reflect the conservative agenda: FEAR, HATE and NO.

    May 4, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  5. Smart People

    Nobody is afraid of this women. Most of us are hoping she sticks around. The ignorant 21% is not enough to elect her, and luckily will be the only ones that give her a moment of their attention. The GOP and their blowhard leader are running low on ideas!

    May 4, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  6. Joey Fritts

    No one fears Palin except those who want to win an election as a Republican. Regardless of what Republicans might believe or disbelieve, one thing is true. The Republican Party is out of step with mainsteam America. Those in the party may not like the mainstream but a Republican will not win the Whitehouse without being able to at least give the impression that the party is in it.

    Obama was elected in spite of a large group of southern racist Republicans who hate him with a passion. Many of those folks will be dead by the time Obama runs again. Four years after that, no one will even remember them except for those who write the history books.

    Rush Limbaugh has had a nice ride. No one can deny that he was right for his time in that he made a lot of money creating fear in the hearts of a lot of folks. The problem is that fear didn't win last time out and it won't win again in the same way due to the population shift. If the Republican party elects to use him as their standard bearer for the next election, they might as well pack it in. His group is quickly passing away literally.

    The party may not like Cantor and those in the group with him, but he seems to understand the future. There may simply not be the numbers of voters necessary to put a Republican in office for many years. But, if there are, Cantor is on the right track as he seems to understand that the party much truly change.

    May 4, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. arithmetic is liberal

    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.


    May 4, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. Rosa, b'ham al

    That's funny, Palin part of a "rebranding" effort? She is one of the reasons they have to rebrand. When will they get a clue.

    May 4, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  9. Mark702

    Rush needs to shut his mouth. Both he and Palin, along with many other Neocons are the old face of the GOP. The Republican party is moving forward with a focus on personal liberties, freedom, and the Constitution.

    Ron Paul is the best example of which direction the GOP will be headed when the new internet generation of Republicans.

    May 4, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  10. marcus

    as a democrat, i PRAY that sarah palin becomes a driving force in the republican party. the substantially vacant space between her ears was obvious in the last campaign, and it would be a pleasure to watch her self-destruct again nationally, and take the republican party further down the path of irrelevance that they have charted out for themselves. mind you, the democrats are guilty of the same type of gross stupidity, if they are seriously considering giving arlen specter an uncontested path to the democratic senatorial position in the next pennsylvania election.

    May 4, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  11. Kevin

    He has his own news outlet! Why does CNN continue to act like everything Rush says must be reported in the news? Rush is a movie critic who has never actualy written, directed or even taken classes to learn the fine art of movie making. If the GOP is serious about rebranding then they will have to find a way to minimize Rush because he is a polarizing figure for Americans of both political parties.

    May 4, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  12. johnrj08

    Good to know that the Republicans are still devouring their own kind. Leave it to Limbaugh to spice up the feeding frenzy. Some day, mainstream conservatives will catch on to the fact that Limbaugh is only out for himself and that he could care less about their values.

    May 4, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  13. Rush, eat a salad and hit the gym

    Hate is not the word most Republicans I know use when describing Palin: dismayed and embarrassed are the words I hear. She cannot discuss and articulate the positions she believes in, much less win over the Independents she drove into the Democratic camp. The Republicans will not have any impact unless they adopt Reagan's big tent, something the late Jack Kemp vigorously worked for. Palin talks about her vision of America, which is not inclusive and tolerant. She has come off as shallow, misinformed and hypocritical. She would make the Clintons look like George Washington by comparison.

    May 4, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  14. White person in Virginia

    Bring her on is is all I can say! If the Repugs are so desperate and so stupid, Bring her on!

    May 4, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  15. trixy,mn

    Will this clowns ever stop thinking of Sarah, the more the likes of Limb talk i feel like switching to the Demos. The GOP need to realize that this is a new America where young voices make a difference. The GOP lost and will continue to loose unless they embrace other people and stop being the party of the rich. They should talk of how to help the middle class people who always make the difference come the election day.

    May 4, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  16. GT

    wow. Jeb Bush is a real team player to get involved with the regressives in the NCNA. What good will he had when he left Florida is going to go up in the smoke of their acrid ideas.

    May 4, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  17. GenTwelve

    Hey Rush, it's more likely that most of America despises you, some might say your vulgar! You'll still have enough followers and radio income sources to take to the bank. Yes enjoy your days as a meaningless bag of wind!

    May 4, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  18. Naldo

    So now that the GOP has "got the band back together" are they on a mission from God? If we're lucky, this bad dream will end up like the Blues Brothers with the lot of them in jail!

    May 4, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  19. Benjamin

    Of course they dislike Palin - she represents everything wrong with the GOP, especially when it comes to losing elections. Research already showed that she cost McCain a few points. Even more so, the election represents a preference for the intelligent and well thought-out, i.e. Obama, of which Palin is the antithesis. The era of 'common sense' ruling died with Bush. We need those who study, not those who wing it, in government.

    May 4, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  20. Lysh

    If the National Council for a New America is going to have Sarah Palin as one of it's leaders, then it's another 2 steps backwards for the GOP.

    May 4, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  21. anti hater

    Where is Lou Dobbs on this issue? Is everyone afraid of Limbaugh? Why isn't Lou Dobbs talking about this? Is it me or does Lou Dobbs only speak ill of people of color. CNN it is time Lou Dobbs move over to Fox with Hannity, Glenn Beck and those other haters.

    May 4, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  22. Oregonian

    There hasn't been a "Reaganite" since Ronnie himself. The Bushes have tried to imitate but that didn't happen.

    On the lighter side, I see a little hope for a two party system if some of the GOP members have enough sense to see her as embarressing. Her and that scary base terrify the he!! out of me and as long as she is a GOP potential candidate I will continue to push the democrats registration drive. Palin is just plain nuts, a liar, and has not class or ethics.

    May 4, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  23. abraxis

    Limbaugh is indeed in charge of the Republican Party. He should run for president with Palin as his running mate.

    May 4, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  24. Ben

    who would want to be a Reaganite anyway?
    their idea of a new america is the old america right? yeah how does that work out....I mean not that they haven't assembled a crack team of experts (the man who lost his bid for the presidency, the brother of the president who screwed up the country and helped commit voting fraud in 2001, Karibu Barbie, a Mormon bishop, and a the guy who says 'No' to every single thing)....yes, truly a force to be reckoned with...ahhhh NOT!

    May 4, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  25. Jayden,FL

    Taking advice from Leader Limbaugh huh Sarah! You betcha!

    May 4, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
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