August 15th, 2009
09:44 AM 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: Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. ConcernedCitizen

    What kind of insane logic even THINKS the government has ANY PLACE whatsoever even discussing end of life decisions???

    The government works for ME. I will not allow the government to take over the healthcare industry. PERIOD. Americans are upset and angry because this is obvious what is going on. Obama has given his intentions clearly. People cannot be shocked to learn he is a socialist liberal. This is what he is doing. He is destroying free enterprise in this country and the liberal news media is distorting the facts to fool the people.

    WAKE UP. This is not Cuba. We did not create this country to be duped into socialism. We created this country for freedom. I refuse to allow this to happen. The government has NO BUSINESS in the healthcare industry or ANY industry for that matter.

    August 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. Dawit

    I think the best way to describe Palin is a moron...., intellectual light weight is too much for her... … I wish she get the spot so we see how the USA is doing in the world face.... lol…

    August 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    The day after McCain picked Palin as his running mate, Paul Begala had a column right here on cnn.com titled "Is John McCain Insane?" or something along those lines, arguing that Palin was too inexperienced. In the year since, Mr. Begala has been proven correct over and over again.

    Unfortunately, no amount of facts or evidence will convince Mrs. Palin or her followers that she is way, way, way out of her league.

    August 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. mjm

    People are getting tired of Democrats calling them every name in the book. Everyone is a wack job, or an extremist, or a lobbyist.
    Palin had the same concerns as every other American regarding this bill.
    Try putting together a health care bill that people can support and save the insults for another day.

    August 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Margaret Wolfson

    Sarah Palin must go away–and the only way to accomplish this is for the media, including CNN, to stop bringing her into American living rooms. As Begala aptly noted, she is a complete lightweight in every sense of the word. The views of the Republican Party don't reflect my own; however, but my skin doesn't crawl and shiver when I listen to an intelligent, informed, and reasonable Republican such as David Brooks. But every time Palin speaks, regardless of the issue, her incoherence combined with her desire to foment class war (e.g. "educated elites" vs. the "real Americans" such as herself) results in lots of skin crawling and shivering. Let her rail on Fox and Facebook–but stop covering her elsewhere.

    August 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. Jose Awesome

    The day after McCain picked Palin as his running mate, Paul Begala had a column right here on cnn.com titled "Is John McCain Insane?" or something along those lines, arguing that Palin was too inexperienced. In the year since, Mr. Begala has been proven correct over and over again.

    Unfortunately, no amount of facts or evidence will convince Mrs. Palin or her followers that she is way, way, way out of her league.

    August 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  7. Darrell LaMere

    Begala's candor is a little brutal; yet, right on target. Palin is not presidential material.John McCain has created monster whose only weapon is arrogance. What a crackpot !

    August 15, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Alex in Wisconsin

    Only "about half"? Paul Begala is being pretty nice to Palin. The only people wackier than Sarah Palin are those who think she is capable of a job that requires intelligence and analytical abilities...ya know, like the Presidency.

    August 15, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Big Ed

    Terry Jefferies? That sqeaky-voiced moron? Here is the big problem for the Republicans: it all aobout opposition – "needs to be more agressive in opposing the president's policies". Is that the whole purpose? Opposition? What about a plan of their own? If Palin does not have a feasible "Plan B", then pipe down! The Republicans have no plan! Show us your detailed plan and show us how it is superior! Lead, follow or get out of the way

    August 15, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. james s lenon

    We're not afraid of Palin. We're afraid of the mob who are all too willing to buy into her mis-informed, racist, fundamentalist, anti-intellectual, lies.

    August 15, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. Christopher, Louisville

    It isn't just that Sarah Palin couldn't go toe to toe with President Obama. She couldn't go toe to toe with either of his daughters. She is a nitwit, and Republicans who treat her as anything else just further drive down the image of their party to the American people.

    August 15, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. F.A

    Let's think about this...we let the kids (Rep) borrow the car for the last 8yr's and when we get it back it's with an empty tank, need of a tune up, and several new ting's and bangs on the body !
    And they want to borrow it again....Hum?.......No.

    August 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  13. Jeff

    Since everyone seems to have chosen a "side", why don't we just let the shooting begin and be done with it?

    August 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. ugh

    Begala was being kind. As a young, professional woman, I am embarassed that Palin is given any press or acknowledgement. She is a disgrace.

    August 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. Cynthia

    Why is it important to some of you on this post whether Trig is her son or not. However, you will blast those that question or would like to see Obama's official birth certificate. I guess what I am trying to convey is it doesn't matter if Trig is her son or not. It does matter what Obama's status is. I personally think he is a citizen and that's not what bothers me. There are FAR GREATER ISSUES.

    August 15, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. Keith in CA

    What makes Palin frightening is that there are people who actually buy into her scare tactics and fear mongering. I believe most Republicans see through her image and agree she is a whack job. What troubles rational thinking individuals are Palin's tactics of inciting paranoia and hysteria. Those shouts of "Kill Him!" directed at Obama during her campaign rallies should have been a serious warning of things to come. I have little doubt the next Eric Rudolph and Timothy McVeigh are out there waiting for Palin's next Facebook post.

    August 15, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. OH

    That's so sweet, she is far worst than a whack job. She need a brain transplant and one reprogram. In a word, she is a crazy lunatic!

    Enough about Sara, let's move on to more important things. How's the economy doing? How many jobs have been created over the past two months? What's the outlook like for the third and forth quarters? These are more important than painting lipstick or a Sow.

    August 15, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. former Democrat

    I laugh at these commenters referring to themselves as INTELLIGENT. If they would pay attention and read and listen.

    August 15, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. ConcernedCitizen

    The progressive liberals have been trying to socialize medicine since Woodrow Wilson. Every decade we go through this. Clinton tried in the 90s. Here we go again. Obama is exploiting a small recession, disguising socialism as "healthcare for all those poor uninsured people". It does not take much brain to figure out you don't take over an entire industry because 15 million people are uninsured. The reason Obama can't get his message out is because he is LYING about his intent. This is about SOCIALISM. This is not about healthcare. There is no logic whatsoever in that bill. He has stormed through every major industry in the country...now he wants the healthcare industry. Every time his message fails he attacks again from a different angle. This week it's the insurance companies who are evil. Remember those evil rich people? Those evil doctors who cut your foot off to make $50,000? How STUPID does he really think people are?

    People know a dead fish when they smell it. This is an entire lake full of dead fish.

    If the Democrats force this bill on Americans they can join Jimmy Carter in exile.

    August 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. Jay

    I am glad Bagala says the truth – Palin is a typical republican idiot liar and misinformed twit.

    August 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. Leslie

    Begala is too kind, full whack job would be too kind in describing Mrs. Palin. Both Palin and Newt ascribe to what they call their "principles" but their principles are not what most of the American people believe in.

    August 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. Andy H

    Any moron can see that Palin is a wack job. I love the 1/2 wits that say America is filled with hockey Moms not elitists. Does this mean we should hire a hockey Mom instead of a nuclear physicist to design a nuclear reactor? Are we elitists if we hire the nuclear physicist?

    August 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. Claudia in Houson

    You'd think Palin, after quitting her governorship, would use her time wisely by furthering her education by studying law and the Constitution if she ever wants to be taken seriously in Washington or any place else. Talk is cheap, but without education and credentials to backup talk, Palin is just whistling in the wind and people are laughing. Republicans are distancing themselves from the ignorance of this woman.

    August 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. Don of Iowa

    For some reason it is only Democrats who can see the Empress has no clothes and for that matter no brains as well, guess you have to be capable of understanding the truth in order to see how flawed this ding bat truly is, such a shame so many in this country live in complete and total ignorance of the truth.

    August 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. Mike O

    Section 1233 has definitely been shelved and in no small part due to the overly harsh light shone upon it by Sarah Palin and the fact major liberal commentatotrs were force to admit their own major reservations with the section because of that light. That makes the political score for the week: Sarah Palin 1, Paul Begala 0

    August 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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