August 14th, 2009
09:10 PM ET
5 years ago

Begala calls Palin 'about half a whack job'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Longtime Democratic strategist Paul Begala hammered former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Friday - calling her "flaky and an intellectual lightweight."

Begala was asked on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" to respond to a Politico story in which former House Speaker Newt Gingrich outlined several ways for Palin to repair her image.

Although Begala called Gingrich "a brilliant political strategist," he said giving advice to Palin is an exercise in futility.

"Here's the problem," said Begala, a CNN contributor. "He is trying to treat her like a serious person. She is not. OK? She is about half a whack job. She does not have the intellectual heft of Newt Gingrich or almost anyone else in the Republican Party, and I think she has proved that."

He continued: "I admire Newt Gingrich for pretending that she is a serious person. But Sarah Palin has proven herself to be flaky and an intellectual lightweight."

Conservative journalist Terry Jeffrey, appearing alongside Begala, defended Palin for having "rock solid principles." But he said Palin needs to be more aggressive in opposing the president's policies. At this point, Jeffrey said, "I think it's not proven" she can go toe-to-toe with President Obama.


Filed under: Extra • Sarah Palin
soundoff (305 Responses)
  1. Jay

    How true…republicans want Palin more on TV-Question what newspaper do you read—UHHH I don’t know I don’t read.. Pathetic… There should be a level of education one needs to acquire in order to be considered to run for president. Palin is far from that level- she is a joke.

    August 14, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  2. Donkey Party

    I disagree with Mr. Begala. Sarah Palin is a FULL whack-job! Why do the lunatic fringe righties love this nitwit so much? I hope she chokes on tainted moose meat. One last thing (for our troops) Sarah, how about ya quit makin' things up?

    August 14, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  3. Mike O

    An 'intellectual lightweight' who just managed to publicize the so-called 'death panels' (which a number of hardened liberals also admitted substantial concern about) to a point where it's been stripped from the bill. And what have you accomplished lately, Paul? I guess hyperbole is only acceptable from the Left.

    August 14, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  4. N

    Come on already, give the woman credit. She is a full wack job, dont discredit here just because she is a republican.

    August 14, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  5. N

    Come on already, give the woman credit. She is a full wack job, dont discredit here just because she is a republican.

    August 14, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  6. uncle fester

    Paul Begala calling Palin a whack job is like a pot calling the kettle black!!

    August 14, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  7. Proud Democrat in NC

    Paula Begala is wrong. Palin is not "half a whack job", she's a total whack job. Not to mention totally irrelevant. The Newt giving political advice is like the blind leading the blind. shut up Newt. You're a has been.

    August 14, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  8. Jelo33

    Palin is what's wrong with the Republican party, and bad for a sane America.

    August 14, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  9. Greg in Houston

    I think Paul Begala is right on the money about her. More aptly I would term her "lunatic fringe" with emphasis on lunatic. Caribou Barbie is about as intellectual as a say Barney the Dinosaur, no disrespect for fuzzy purple dinosaurs intended.

    August 14, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  10. Larry

    Palin could not go toe to toe with a third grader ...

    As well, her being referred to as half a whack job, is a very generous compliment

    She is far less than that in my mind

    August 14, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  11. Richie

    Oh, she's a WHOLE WHACK JOB.

    August 14, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  12. I give up

    begala is a jerk. and a little man. instead of banning talk show hosts on cnn, why don't you get rid of this gutter snipe.

    a double standard.

    August 14, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  13. Fractured

    Paul, the more you liberals vilify Sarah Palin, the more I support her. She could bludgeon baby seals with a hammer and wear polar bear skin hats for all I care, she's far more qualified than Obama and your hatred of her simply validates her importance.

    August 14, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  14. Alan

    My, isn't that commonly known as the kettle calling the pot black.

    August 14, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  15. Lookout! It's a Death Panel!

    "I think it's not proven she can go toe-to-toe with President Obama"??? Are you kidding me? She can't even go toe-to-toe with good ol' W! Can anyone seriously think Palin should be in any leadership capacity in this country?? This "aw-shucks", "you-betcha", supposedly-down-home act is stale and old and I can't believe anyone is fooled by this stupidity any more. I don't want a President I can "have a beer with" or "shoot a moose with". We are talking about the leader of the free world, not head of the local "order of the water buffaloes" people! Kudos to Paul Begala for telling it like it is!

    August 14, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  16. Robert

    He's right. She's a lyin' kook!

    August 14, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  17. Laughing independent

    We don't need an expert to point that out she's nuts, the American people are figuring that out, although confirmation is helpful.

    August 14, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  18. Barbara

    Twitter is perfect for the Quitter. No one can ask her any questions. No one can ask her to explain her statement s(which beg a few more questions: Are these her statements? Is someone twittering for the twittering Quitter)? You nailed her right on her brainless head Paul!

    August 14, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  19. Dave

    Right on man!

    August 14, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  20. Bev

    Rock solid principles? What? Use your kids to your political advantage? Call individuals names and then become upset when the tables are turned? Just straight out lie? Quit? Yep. Great rock solid principles.

    August 14, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  21. windfall

    she's a cartoon character and the sooner the GOP admits that, the sooner they can start rebuilding their collapsed party.

    August 14, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  22. phillydan

    Begala calling it like he sees it. And the best part is that he is so right.
    Anyone who thinks Sarah Palin has the qualifications to be President, let alone run for President needs to look in the mirror and say: "Hello Stupid!".

    August 14, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  23. Craig

    Begala was right. She is a whack job. She is flaky. And she is an intellectual lightweight.

    Jeffrey was right as well – she's got rock solid principles. The problem is she couldn't find her backside with both hands, a bloodhound, and a set of directions. I'm surprised she learned how to tie her shoes.

    August 14, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  24. Sam

    Palin is not only lacking intellectually, she's a stranger to the truth – lies with such ease and regularity to be accused of having moral fiber.

    August 14, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  25. Don Beal

    Begala is right. Gingrich advised Palin to write a book, but the what? 140 characters in a tweet, that's plenty for Sarah.

    August 14, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
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