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. They call me "Tater Salad"

    I love how Obama's success so far has got the GOP and all of their moron supporters so terrified that they feel compelled to fabricate lies to hide their fear of him! Too funny! Oh, and by the way, I'm not afraid of Sarah (cut and run) Palin in the least, I hope the GOP makes her their nominee, nothing would be more satisfying then seeing her crack under the pressure that comes with running a campaign nevermind the pressure of actually being President! The GOP will suffer a blistering defeat of historical proportions if they nominate this mentally challenged, IDIOT! I can't wait!

    August 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. carl stab

    begala has been a slime-ball during the scumbags reign and still is,only cnn would have him on!

    August 15, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. wagon

    Paul Begala is a idiot. A true numbskull next to serious and intelligent conributors like Bill Bennett and David Gergen. Begala is just deverting attention way from what is truly going on which is that the democrats are being exposed for the buffoons that they are with regard to spending and the health care debate.

    August 15, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. Steven

    This is NOT news..

    On so many levels.

    August 15, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Astroturf This

    READ THE BILL. Sarah Palin did not make up anything. She is absolutely DEAD ON.

    Who in their right mind thinks WASHINGTON has any business whatsoever going anywhere near end of life decisions???

    We did not create this country so the government could control every aspect of our lives. We created this country TO BE FREE FROM GOVERNMENT. July 4th...mean anything?

    All the Democrats can do is attack people and hate. They are the ones misinforming the public. They are the liars. Americans are realizing what this administration is doing and they are ANGRY. The news media can try to censor them all day long. It's not going to work.

    August 15, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Sarah Palin should have completed her commitment as Governor of Alaska and shown some credibility there. During that time she could have learned about world affairs, the constitution, the economy and many other prerequisites for higher office. Because she is now seen as a "quitter" and is again using the media to spread outrageous, easily disputed lies, she has lost that chance of credibility. She is her own worst enemy. Does she not have handlers and speech writers to help her manage her public relations because right now it is a disaster? If she ever tries now to run for higher office, her opponents have tons of footage of her putting her foot in her mouth. The ads would be priceless. She may have had possibilites at one time, but unfortunately her actions and words have shown her true colours. It scares me to death to think that as VP she would have become President if something had happened to John McCain.

    August 15, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. Joan

    Sarah Palin should have completed her commitment as Governor of Alaska and shown some credibility there. During that time she could have learned about world affairs, the constitution, the economy and many other prerequisites for higher office. Because she is now seen as a "quitter" and is again using the media to spread outrageous, easily disputed lies, she has lost that chance of credibility. She is her own worst enemy. Does she not have handlers and speech writers to help her manage her public relations because right now it is a disaster? If she ever tries now to run for higher office, her opponents have tons of footage of her putting her foot in her mouth. The ads would be priceless. She may have had possibilites at one time, but unfortunately her actions and words have shown her true colours. It scares me to death to think that as VP she would have become President if something had happened to John McCain.

    August 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Sally

    Here Sarah Palin was able to get the POTUS and the WH clueless Gibbs to address her and Begala answer to that is to call her names.

    I would call Sarah Palin a political genius.

    Just think of it people you would not leave her along. So now Sarah Palin has penlty of time on her hands and guess where she is going to focus that extra time?

    It is going to be so much fun so get your popcorn and enjoy what is about to hard this admin and all their wacho czars.

    August 15, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    This is so sexist.

    August 15, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. Sharon

    Mrs. Pallin says nothing that is of interest to me.
    As a "left winger" I would love to see a woman as President, but she is not even close to having the smarts for that.

    August 15, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Denna

    Sarah Palin is just your typical Conservative Republican. Just look at what these people are doing to America. We Liberals endured 8 long years of the Bush regime without undignified shouting matches and behaving, in general, like spoiled children. The Republicans, lead by that rabid communist pig Rush Limbaugh, are destroying the country from the inside out.

    Socialism is not the worst thing that could happen to America. It is happening now, and right under our noses. The informative town hall meetings are being turned into rabble rousing sessions. The only civil one I've seen so far is the one that President Obama hosted. Any fool that believes that America would set up, let along tolerate, Death Panels, is too far gone to be helped without shock treatments. I now know why she quit her job – she can now be the real Sarah Palin. Aren't you glad that she isn't the vice president?

    August 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. Craig Shaver

    Begala was right. Did we not learn anything from George W. Bush's presidency? We put a lazy, intellectually limited individual, who felt entitled to the office by reason of birth, directed by a bunch of mean-spirited whiz kids with an anti-democracy, class oriented agenda in power and look what we got.

    The founding fathers would turn over in their graves at the very idea that someone of Palin's such obviously limited capability, and knowledge could be seriously considered by so many as a contender for this nation's highest office. It seriously questions whether democracy can work in the information age.

    August 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. Jack CArlson

    I hvae worked w/people for 37 yrs, and WHEN SOMEONE WON'T STOP TALKING AND KNOCKING A PERSON THEY ARE WORRIED AND JEALOUS OF THAT PERSON. If Palin was such a "nothing" they would say "nothing" !
    Arlen Spector said "we took the Death Panels out of the Senate Bill".....Palin was right again.
    I think Palin will be the President in 2012 as an Independent....she's honest and dishonest people don't like that.
    Jack C
    WA

    August 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. Astroturf This

    The real difference between Liberals and Republicans. Republicans actually READ the bills and know the truth. Liberals watch the blogs and believe all the crap they read and watch David Letterman for advice on government.

    To call the GOP a dictatorship is ignorant. Republicans believe in LESS government....it's the center of their entire philosophy. The liberals want to EXPAND government and institute a socialist system where the government takes care of everybody. Hence all the billiions and trillions of tax dollars being flushed down the toilet as we speak.

    If people became educated about true facts and stopped relying on liberal blogs and news anchors they might actually learn something Know your history. Read the constitution. Find out WHY we have a constitution. Stop drinking the liberal koolaid and realize your country is losing its freedom.

    August 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Sally

    I’m speaking of the “Complete Lives System” advocated by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the president’s chief of staff. President Obama has not yet stated any opposition to the “Complete Lives System,” a system which, if enacted, would refuse to allocate medical resources to the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled who have less economic potential. [1] Why the silence from the president on this aspect of his nationalization of health care? Does he agree with the “Complete Lives System”? If not, then why is Dr. Emanuel his policy advisor? What is he advising the president on? I just learned that Dr. Emanuel is now distancing himself from his own work and claiming that his “thinking has evolved” on the question of rationing care to benefit the strong and deny the weak. [2] How convenient that he disavowed his own work only after the nature of his scholarship was revealed to the public at large.

    August 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Lori in St Pete

    It's not difficult to have "rock solid principles" when your head's full of rocks!

    August 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. irving siegel

    I voted for obama, even though I thought highly of McCain. When McCain chose Palin as his VP choice that convinced me to vote for Obama, due to the fact I was not very familiar with her at the time. Now
    when I hear her speak, especially her latest comment about Obama's
    health care plan having a death panel where her downs syndrome child might be taken to affirm whether he has the right to live, I am very thankful that I voted for Obama

    August 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. Tssshhh

    Hahahhaa... Paul Begala taking a shot at Sarah Palin. Scary. Kinda' like Liberace calling Richard Simmons a fruit.

    August 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. Boot Dr

    Sarah Palin is not half a whack job she is a complete whack job without a doubt. On top of that she is not very intelligent. She should just go fishing so she doesn't continue showing the world how much of an idiot she is.
    She pulled off duping the citizens of Alaska once but they now have her number and want her to shut her mouth and just go away.

    August 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  20. Jame J

    I have no doubt if Palin was President she would be "cleaning house" and not trying to muddy up AMerica.
    We can't interrogate rougly Islamic Terrorists, however we can and they want to get into our cookies on the computer, into our checking accts, send nutcase gov't workers to our house to tell us what decisions to make. That sounds much like Eastern leaders of the past and present.
    Gov't Dems are not elistists....look up the word....they are nutcases.
    I'm an independent.
    Jane J
    WI

    August 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  21. J

    Who scared of Sarah Palin? Me
    why? Because she is a divider, absolutely not a uniter.
    She is all about negative, fault and misleading information, spewed all the hate and fear mongering tactics
    She is Cheny in woman clothing.
    The different between Sarah Palin and Cheny is that Cheny is not a quitter.

    August 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  22. C W

    Hello, people! The provision that Grassley took out of the House bill simply said that living will consultations would be paid for; they are not mandated, and the government will not be telling the doctor what to say or recommend.

    I think you're confusing this provision with the gag order the Bush Administration pushed through regarding doctors and abortion.

    August 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. Steve in PA

    This is all Democrats in power have left? They haven't a clue how to fix anything other then taxing people, so they attack them. Demonize them and try to convince everyone that a person is evil, bad or a wack job. Your policies are failing and people are finally waking up to your political ways that are going to destroy everything this Country stands for. The Founding Fathers formed America to get away from the Government Control of Europe and now you are trying to create a system just like it. If you are so unhappy with America, then LEAVE and move to a Socialist Country.

    We see it in the news when you attack demonstrators for speaking their opinion. You call them a Mob and claim they are Republican Organized. Isn't this the same Republican's that you are claiming are so disorganized? You are lying through your teeth because you are afraid of losing the only thing that matters most to you. Power. Funny thing is, years ago when Democrats stood up and shouted at Bush, that was perfectly ok, but when Everyone, Dems, Repubs and Independents stand up and shout about Obama, they are wrong and need to be stopped.

    I know this probably won't be posted, because we all know who CNN favors, but I'm so sick and tired of the way this Government expects us to bend over and take it without questioning anything.

    August 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. curt

    If this is representative of the strategy that the whitehouse has devised to "deal" with Sarah Palin then they are fools. Sarah Palin wrote a brilliant article that evoked a huge response from the American people and all you can come up with in defense of you policies is to call her names? If Sarah Palin is such an insignificant force then why can't you defeat her in the arena of ideas? You had to send the president out after the administration lackies could't blunt her crticism? Really, sending the president out to defend his ideas when one little girl writes one little article? And you STILL lose?

    If Obama cannot beat a girl then he should resign.

    August 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. Jonas M

    Hey guys take a look at the video from Arlen Spector of three days ago wherein he states "we removed the Death Panels from the Senate bill". Research before you speak is always a good idea.
    JOnas M
    CO

    August 15, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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