April 1st, 2009
09:14 AM ET
14 years ago

Palin replaced as headliner for Republican dinner

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.palin1.cnn.jpg caption="Palin has been replaced by former House speaker Newt Gingrich."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin will no longer headline a major Republican dinner in June, a Republican official told CNN Tuesday.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich will replace Palin as the keynote speaker at a joint fundraising dinner held by the campaign committees of Senate and House Republicans.

The scheduling change follows a communications breakdown between Palin's political staff and her aides in Alaska that left the dinner's organizers unsure the Alaska governor would actually attend the Washington event.

Congressional Republicans announced earlier this month that Palin would deliver the keynote speech at the dinner, but the governor's staff in Alaska said the next day that the governor knew nothing about the speaking slot.

"I communicated with the governor directly and she did not know anything about it," a Palin aide told the Anchorage Daily News after the speech was announced. "I pointed out the [National Republican Senatorial Committee] press release and she was like, 'No.'"

The NRSC said at the time that aides at Palin's political action committee - SarahPAC - had agreed to attend the dinner, but that the governor's staff in Alaska had not been made aware.

(Updated after the jump with official NRSC, NRCC and SarahPAC statements statements)

Two weeks ago, a spokesman for Palin, Bill McAllister, told CNN the "the governor herself had not confirmed" the appearance and that the matter was "still under review." Aides to Palin did not respond to multiple e-mails sent over the last week asking if Palin would make the trip to Washington this summer.

UPDATE: NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh confirmed the switch.

"After initially confirming her attendance, Governor Palin's team informed the Committees that her gubernatorial responsibilities in Alaska prevented her from committing until the end of the legislative session," he said.

"We completely understand and respect Governor Palin's focus on her official state business; however, there is obviously an enormous amount of planning that goes into this annual event. For that reason, we invited and are honored to have former Speaker Newt Gingrich join us as our speaker at the 2009 Senate-House Dinner. As one of our Party's brightest minds and most energetic speakers, we are looking forward to having former Speaker Gingrich provide the keynote address on June 8."

UPDATE II: Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the committee decided to "go in another direction."

“Speaker Gingrich is a leader and an influential voice within the Republican Party and we are thrilled to have him," he said.

UPDATE III: Palin's staff continued to deny that she had ever been scheduled to attend. "The Governor never confirmed her attendance at the event," said SarahPAC spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton. "She was honored to receive the invitation and asked to confirm her attendance at the end of the legislative session. Governor Palin is thrilled to hear that Newt Gingrich will address the audience as the Governor continues to focus on Alaska."

Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (240 Responses)
  1. arithmetic is liberal

    Palin needs to get her administrative staff in order.

    That scheduling gaffe is something I'd expect from a receptionist working for $11 an hour.

    March 31, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  2. Enlightened Voter

    The clueless pathological liar (palin) wouldn't have too much to contribute anyone unless she is making up her infamous lies.

    March 31, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  3. Lynn

    I thought Senator McCain said there were so many bright, young up and comers in the party...and it is are digging back into time with Gingrich???So much for a changed Republican Party.

    March 31, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  4. Jacob

    Wow, and this disorganization is surprising why? Repugs need to open their eyes and realize that mid term elections come in 19 months or so and at that point we'll be over 20 months past the begining of this recession.

    March 31, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  5. Robin

    Oh gosh, here come the liberals.

    March 31, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  6. Kurt

    ..that's a shame...

    March 31, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. Sally

    "communication breakdown" = "You need to give me and my family a lot more money and gifts to make me show up."

    March 31, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  8. Mississippi Mike

    She's got real work to do, leave her alone. She doesn't have time to campaign for a living like our president does.

    March 31, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  9. Veronica

    "Sally March 31st, 2009 6:01 pm ET

    "communication breakdown" = "You need to give me and my family a lot more money and gifts to make me show up."

    LOL – very true and VERY funny!

    March 31, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  10. Bobbie in Maryland

    "Scheduling malfunction" ??? Is this the "up and coming" Repug party of the future?? They can't even get it straight when they talk to THEMSELVES!!!

    March 31, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  11. Kyle

    I dont believe Palin has any intentions of running in 2012. Therefore she really doesnt have any reason to attend the speech.

    March 31, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  12. Bethie

    I think the Republicans are starting to wake up. Bummer!

    March 31, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. JonDie

    Great! From the FAILED leader of today's Republicans to the FAILED leader of the 1990s Republicans.

    March 31, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  14. nick

    Elections got over and we moved on. Seems there are people still stuck to their own egos!

    March 31, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  15. Ellie32

    Palin is always blaming her staff......it's never her fault! She sounds like my sixteen year old. Palin needs to get a grip.... It's all her fault!

    March 31, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  16. Brook E. Mantia

    Thank goodness it was only a GOP dinner party, and not a G8 Summit! You know Sarah, when the Bible says the right hand shouldn't know what the left hand is doing, they weren't talking about your social calendar...

    March 31, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    Even the Republicans must now conclude that she is light weight and not ready, if ever will, for the major league. She has a lot of fire and does blow a great wind, but she cannot make it rain. We need the rain to grow.

    March 31, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  18. Ally23

    Oh no! Sarah won't be the headliner. . . I was looking forward to a good laugh.

    March 31, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  19. Vickie

    I bet you it was not Palin's political staff and her aides in Alaska that dropped the ball rather it was Palin herself.... Look what she did recently in Alaska – She didn't show up for a very important meeting with many republican officials and others to discuss the stimulous monies available to Alaska and whether our Governor was going change her mind about accepting 100% of the monies available to OUR state.... Palin then made excuses (Excuses that were obvious to the public in her interview) and blamed it on others... She's unreal and not a good candiate for America!

    March 31, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  20. Phil

    "...and she was like, No." Does she have a staff of valley girls?

    March 31, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  21. ib

    Liberal are afraid of Palin why lelse would they attack her so hard. They are also low lifes look at the wording of their posts.

    March 31, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  22. afp

    Newt is a very intelligent gentleman. Very articulate, has a great understanding of politics and is a master of history (that was his field, anyway). But... he is so far to the right that he no longer reflects the direction of the party or America. This would have been a great opportunity to bring in some new blood (NOT Palin!). Still ,,, it will be a good speech.

    March 31, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  23. Tiger75

    Palin need to get her a new group of people to work for her to let her know when and where she need to be. But I guess it is a good thing that she is not the speaker what would she have to say and what would be the meaning behind her message.

    March 31, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  24. JS007

    Although washed up, at least Gingrich has a functioning brain.

    March 31, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  25. Sammy

    Why Newt? I know he is a big republican insider but not the kind of voice the party needs to get back on track. They should already be grooming someone new and refreshing but seem to be supporting the same people again... including the front runners for 2012.

    March 31, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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