Palin positions herself as populist outsider in Iowa speech
September 3rd, 2011
05:11 PM ET
3 years ago

Palin positions herself as populist outsider in Iowa speech

Indianola, Iowa (CNN) - Sarah Palin took sharp aim at President Barack Obama and at least one of her potential Republican rivals Saturday at a rain-soaked tea party rally in Iowa, the state that will open the GOP nomination fight early next year.

The former Alaska governor, speaking on the third anniversary of the Republican National Convention speech that transformed her into a conservative darling and global celebrity, did not announce a presidential campaign of her own.

But with a flurry of named and unnamed attacks against the president and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the GOP front-runner, Palin aggressively sought to define herself as a populist tea party outsider who would run against “the permanent political class” and “good ole boy politics as usual.”

“The status quo is no longer an option,” she declared to roughly 2,000 admiring supporters, some of whom traveled from as far as San Diego, Dallas and New Orleans for the rally.

Palin urged tea party activists to fight against President Obama and the “special interests” in Washington until “the permanent political class” is thrown out of power.

And for the first time, Palin outlined the makings of a five-point recovery plan for the nation’s flagging economy, albeit in very broad strokes.

Calling it a “pro-working man’s plan,” Palin rattled off a series of familiar and somewhat vague free-market proposals, such as repealing the Obama health care law, rolling back federal regulations, boosting domestic energy production and transferring more spending authority to state capitals.

But for a Republican who has been accused of offering little more than platitudes in the public arena, she did veer into specifics.

Palin, who famously raised taxes on oil industry while governor, proposed eliminating all corporate income taxes, claiming that lost revenue would be balanced out by closing corporate loopholes in the federal tax code.

“This is how we break the back of crony capitalism,” she said, sounding very much like the maverick politician who made a name for herself in Alaska by taking on an entrenched and sometimes corrupt Republican political class that was in cahoots with the oil and gas industry.

It was that theme of “crony capitalism” that led her into a series of barely veiled criticisms of Perry, who would be one of Palin’s most direct rivals in the race if she decides to run.

Palin allies had hinted to reporters before the speech that she would draw a stark contrast between her record and that of Perry, an impressive fund-raiser who has long been criticized by political foes of rewarding his campaign donors and political allies with government contracts and posts.

She did not mention Perry by name, but it was clear who was on her mind when she dressed down the current Republican field and questioned their willingness to return government power to the people.

“Some GOP candidates, they also raise mammoth amounts of cash,” she said. “We need ask them, too: What, if anything, do their donors expect from their investments? We need to know this because our country can’t afford more trillion-dollar thank you notes to campaign backers.”

Palin, who is expected to make a final decision about the race by October, told the crowd, “You must vet a candidate’s record.”

“Our challenge is not just to replace Obama in 2012, but the real challenge is, who and what we will replace him with?” she asked. “Because it’s not enough to just change up the uniform. If we don’t change the team and the game plan, we won’t change the country.”

Speaking briefly to reporters on a rope line after leaving the stage, Palin would not say whether her comments were directed at Perry.

“I want all of our GOP candidates to take the opportunity to kill corporate capitalism that is leading to this cronyism that is killing our economy,” Palin said. “They all have an opportunity to speak out against it. That’s what I want them to do.”

In her speech, she seemed as fed up with her own party as she is with Democrats.

She chided GOP candidates for delivering conservatives rhetoric on the campaign trail but failing to live up to those promises in Washington.

Palin also mocked Republicans who have spoken ill of the tea party movement, namely those who label tea partiers “hobbits.”

That was a jab plainly directed at the man who plucked Palin from obscurity and placed her on the 2008 presidential ticket: Arizona Sen. John McCain, who criticized “tea party hobbits” in a Senate floor speech during the debt ceiling debate.

Thunderstorms moved through Indianola in the hours before the much-anticipated event, organized by a newly formed group called “Tea Party of America,” sending drenched Palin supporters running for cover.

But the rain clouds parted for a time when Palin took the stage, drawing rally-goers out of their cars and back to the event site for the speech. Her speech was organized by a newly formed group called Tea Party of America.

Palin now heads to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, where she will headline a rally sponsored by the Tea Party Express.


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Sarah Palin • Tea Party
soundoff (349 Responses)
  1. Joe

    So the rain clouds parted when Palin took the stage? Was there also a ray of light from heaven and the sound of a celestial choir?

    September 3, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  2. Will

    This is the first time I have heard her make sense...she is right.

    September 3, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  3. K in Miami

    This woman is a scurge upon America, John McCain created a MONSTER, she has to be the most POLARIZING person on the political scene in recent History......

    I think Ann Coulter summed it up best when she was asked about Sarah (childish behaving) Palin running for POTUS.....

    Ann Coulter replied "Sarah Palin running for POTUS is Equivalent to Rush Limbaugh Running for POTUS".....!

    September 3, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  4. ngc1300

    Let's transfer more spending authority to state capitols that are already strapped for cash. Well thought out, Sarah.

    September 3, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. cindy

    Really!!!and "oh please" she is a piece of work.what 2 years in her presidency she will then just quit!!! Have fun media with the monster you've all created.

    September 3, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. OU812IC

    2,000 adoring people at her event
    Well there's about as many votes as she would get.
    She talks about money being misued by Perry
    Please when she was Governor she ran the state like the Prison warden in the movie the Shawshank Redemption
    She handed millions to her pals on jobs that were never even completed. Millions just vanished
    She knows if she runs this will all really be investigated, but then again she'll just claim, see Washington out to get an awesome for the people Rogue like herself. All total BS.
    I hope someone puts a surveyors crosshairs on her

    September 3, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  7. CA Dream USA

    How is it a half term governor and a VP candidate who lost is considered a winner .....Someone needs to tell Palin she was defeated in 2008 and to close her 2008 election head qtrs. The President of The United States if Barack Obama and the VP is Joe Biden.
    Palin needs to stop being a sore loser and move on.

    September 3, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  8. Martin

    Wow – she really doesn't make sense at all.

    She wants to eliminate all corporate taxes but balance that out "by closing loopholes in the corporate tax law" ?

    Huh? If corporations pay no tax, how would closing loopholes in the tax law increase revenue?

    Mrs Palin, as usual, makes no sense at all.

    September 3, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  9. Doug

    Palin is obviously going to run. She is also going to top the current field of republicans easy. All their names are going to be, who, the second she announces. Even if you don't like her that is the way it is. The only way to beat her is with someone who has equal weight. Lindsey Graham could give her a challenge. So its President Palin, if Lindsey can't take his feet off the desk. Forget about Obama. The Dems would have a better shot running a Lama. Doug.

    September 3, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  10. Jon

    As I have posted many times... if Palin is the face of America then we are in very sad shape. I hear a ton of hatred from her and tea party loon's but no plan of action. And that's because they have no idea what they would do if they ever got in control.

    Come on Sarah... tell us just what has been stolen from us?? Or is the whole tea party this just smoke and mirrors as most of the contry believes it is.

    September 3, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. mikeSC

    Bush-dynasty as dirty as they come.
    Quayle Father and son now and son supported by tea-party.
    Paul's father and son and supported by tea-party.

    No regular job besides politcians and thats where their riches come from.
    Payments by corporate America

    September 3, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  12. deb

    I just cannot nor will I ever believe that there are actually living, breathing people that truly think this pop-culture personality is presidential material. I cannot fathom this. This story will not compute, my mind will not allow itself to accept this as a reality. Reality TELEVISION maybe....but nothing else. She is a parody, she is a punch-line, she is STARVING for attention that for some INSANE reason keeps being piled on her....she's a photo-op poser, an applause-seeking deliverer of buzzword-loaded rhetoric, a snappy dresser, the mother of an abstinence-preaching teenage mom, a job-quitter, a Saturday Night Live skit, and a comedian's jackpot. But not a president. Nope, no way, ridiculous, hilarious.....

    September 3, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  13. David

    Mr Hanby she said she wanted corpororate welfare ended in return for eliminating federal income corporate tax rates.Meanning all subsidies,grants,and the like please correct.

    September 3, 2011 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  14. Benjamin

    So much of an outsider, in fact, that she has NO idea what is going on inside.

    September 3, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  15. Steve

    This was a great article. I was there today and Sarah Palin gave a very direct speech. She pointed out to the corporate welfare Obama has partaken in with his biggest campaign contributors and also gave Rick Perry the same lashing. She laid out a clear plan of common sense. Relieving business income taxes but countering it by removing tax incentives and subsidies for corporations. I believe her. These types of subsidies have allowed our government to make a wreck out of a free capitalist nation.

    She lashed at the president for going on TV and warning that the men and women who fight for our nation or our country's seniors would not get their checks. However he and the political establishment around DC will always make sure they get their checks and pensions.

    She also remarked that most of the nation's wealthiest suburbs were direct suburbs of Washington D.C. and pointed out this major connection.

    So like her positions or not, you cannot say she comes without a plan.

    September 3, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. a

    If Palin becomes President, we're going to have lots of illegal immigrates crossing that border.

    Into Mexico.

    September 3, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  17. Tag

    Please change "Former Alaska Governor" to "Former Half Term Alaska Governor who quit for no official reason other than to hide from possible litigation she was facing for illegal deeds in office such as using government money for her own use such as travel to the lower 48 for her own purposes, per diem to travel back and forth from her house in Wasilla and using state police to harass a family member's ex. ." Thanks so much.

    September 3, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  18. JeffinIL

    I don't like Sarah Palin. However, I'm tired of all the unnecessary jabs at her. "Sarah Palin took sharp aim at President Barack Obama..." a subtle linking of her with guns and violence again. She wouldn't even be in the news if CNN didn't cover her every breaking of wind.

    September 3, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. Indy

    So Palin can insult President Obamas testicles and make ignorant statements about The First Lady but she does not have the cajones to call out Perry, now that is cronizm to the highest degree. She refuses to actually say Perry's name but put crosshairs on Gabby Giffords district. All this from someone that ran a socialist state and to this day accepts government handouts for her entire family while she makes millions a year for her one hit wonder speeches.

    September 3, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  20. Blue

    At what point does Palin have to step up and start reporting her campaign finance activity like everyone else?

    September 3, 2011 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  21. mary

    Blah-Blah-Blah!-–Please run Sarah-we are all waiting to see you fall on your face.You must have been studying up this summer to spout off that much dribble... Don't plan on replacing Obama and worry about who with!! Non of you soggy tea baggers is going to run this country. You are a small group of so called CINOs..Christians in Name only..Bet your BIBLE is in the cubbard. Can't figure out how anyone can worship you-YOU ARE A TOTAL FRAUD and You should be ashamed of yourself for taking money from gullible people.

    September 3, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  22. lynn

    I really don't care where she positions herself, but does she care where my dog is positioned? He is definitely a front runner, way ahead of the pack. Max is the name and fun is his game.

    September 3, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  23. AlaskaPalin

    This lady is a mature populist politician. she speaks the language of the regular americans. Regular folks will vote for her. The elites will suck their teeth in vexation but if she comes up against barrack she will win. she has the experience in fighting the status quo both political and cooperates and winning. she will maul them in washington so that 'we the people' of mainstreet will win. Go momma grizzly!!!!

    September 3, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  24. BigRon65

    Really? Is the state of our country such that would allow a mark like Palin to represent our interests internationally? Why are we still entertaining this dribble as a candidate? We can do so much better citizens!

    September 3, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  25. Founders1791

    Oh......a breath of fresh....and honest...air. Way cool girl....knock 'em dead!

    September 3, 2011 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
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