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. S M R

    Right on Paul.......Couldn't have said it any better myself....... As far as Sarah "going toe-to-toe with Obama".(a Harvard Scholar vs. several tries at graduating from jr.colleges for a journalists degree). I think not!

    August 14, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. Peoples Voice

    Paul, you are wrong. She's not a half whacked job, she's all the way whacked.

    August 14, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  3. ED FL

    Sounds like Newt has his eye on a new target for female friendship .his record around females are pretty well establshed as he did when he dumped a couple of his wives.

    August 14, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. makesUwonder

    Well, Mr. Begala if anyone would know what it takes to be a "whack job" that would be you.

    August 14, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  5. Charles Shelhamer

    And Begala talks about hatred from the right? Please!

    August 14, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  6. soulstar

    it says a lot about our country when someone with her level of intelect is able to incite the masses with lies, half-truths, and down right nastiness. traditional compationate christian concervatism for you.

    August 14, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  7. alvino

    Newtie gave Sarah a 6 step plan to become president. Since he also wants that job badly, Sarah might want to be careful.

    However, the drop in Sarah's popularity and her lack of truth on health care reform leads me to believe she could not even carry Alaska in a presidential election.

    August 14, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  8. jcsjcm

    Are you kidding me? You are completely ignorant! Her intellect is not in pleasing any politician, her mission is to serve the people fairly. Politicians that you believe to be intellectual are most likely crooks and into the stardom of their post. Who cares what the constituents want from their government as long as they talk well to the camera. You are an extremely nasty person! What have you done for your country today? Oh yeah, slammed Sarah – hope your buddies living off our money are happy with your thoughts for the day!

    August 14, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  9. elana

    Well, that most certainly is "calling the kettle black"!!! Thank you Paul!! No truer words were ever spoken!!!!

    August 14, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  10. Dan

    As a Democrat, my first impression was that Begala's phrases were too harsh. Then I remembered that Dan Quayle was also called a lightweight. More important is to define "lightweight" and specify why they qualify for that term.

    August 14, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  11. 60's survivor

    I can't stop laughing. half a whack job. you sir are incorrect. she is full blown
    Wack job and growing wackier and more dangerous everyday!!

    August 14, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  12. JOBLESS IN IOWA

    Excuss me Paul, but have you ever took a long look at yourself in the mirror, If you did, you would see a democratic crook, that is more of a WACK JOB because you follow Obama instead of supporting the people who put you in office

    August 14, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  13. cindy ex-republican cause of people like rush

    I agree with you Begala. The ones who defend pathetic palin, just seem to hate President Obama and even if he proved she lied over and over, the "less inteligent" would still stick by Palin. She has seemed to divide America more in the last few weeks than even during the primary when she incited so much hate and death threats. Please Palin, go away, you are like a little knat.

    August 14, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  14. Meg

    Begala got it half right, she is a total wack job, not just half.

    August 14, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  15. Just Me

    Paul is being kind. I could think of a few other words to describe her, but since she is a CNN darling, my descriptions of her will most likely end up on the Ticker cutting board. Pity.

    August 14, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  16. mjm

    Conservative journalist Terry Jeffrey, appearing alongside Begala, defended Palin for having "rock solid principles."

    CNN could have lead with this. Instead, they headline the guy who slams Palin. That's amazing. Two people compliment Palin, one person insults her, and the insult is the headline.

    In the mean time, Obama is lying his ass off while he answers questions from a planted little girl at a town hall meeting.

    August 14, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  17. b

    for a strategist your a whole whack job

    August 14, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  18. S M R

    Sarah Palin must have Terry Jeffrey in a spell. LOL

    August 14, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  19. JOBLESS IN IOWA

    DEMOCRATIC WACKO"S, who waste the tax payers dollars trying to support the Obama Socialistic Republic of Non-America. And you say Palin is a wack job, OH GIVE ME A BREAK, you are the wack job

    August 14, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  20. Deep Throat

    What the devil does Begala know???

    August 14, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  21. Ruty

    Finally, someone had the gut to say it.

    August 14, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  22. indyred

    Rock solid principles does not mean intelligent–usually is a polite way to say someone is not willing to listen to the other side of an argument (i.e. stubborn and ignorant).

    August 14, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  23. Ms. Johnson, Pearland,Texas

    Paul please come home to Texas and run for governor, we need you.

    August 14, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  24. Dave

    I disagree. Palin's a whack job and a half! Begala didn't give her enough credit.

    It's hilarious to me to see Republicans utterly discrediting themselves by rallying behind an obvious sociopathic dunce just because she shares their primitive superstition.

    August 14, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  25. Stephy

    Thank you for speaking the truth.
    Harsh a bit?
    well the truth hurts, does it not?

    August 14, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
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