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[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.palin1.cnn.jpg caption="Palin has been replaced by former House speaker Newt Gingrich."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin will no longer headline a major Republican dinner in June, a Republican official told CNN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

    No surprise here. This is just more of the same confusion, one hand not knowing what the other is doing, multiple stories and explainations for the same event, and general lying that dogged her last fall.
    If these guys can't even make a dinner reservation how do they expect to lead the country.

    March 31, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. Moonbeam

    Palin is under the bus and Gingrich is a "new and improved" hope of GOP... It's getting more and more exciting.
    Republicans do seem to like their leaders male, overweight and elderly.
    Good, good!

    March 31, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  3. Raze

    And this is the person people want in a higher office? She can't even handle scheduling simple events because her PAC doesn't know how to communicate properly. Way to go, PALIN recession 2012 baby yeah I'm all for it don't ya know. SAD.

    March 31, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  4. Happy Camper

    The headliner should be Ron Paul. He's the only small government, fiscal discipline, freedom lover left in the republican party

    March 31, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  5. bill

    Gingrich is only slightly better as a candidate than Palin is. He is marginally more moral and intellectual than she is, but still leaves a lot to be desired.

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

    It sounds to me alot like a lame excuse because she knew that she wouldn't be able to be NOT an embarrasment to her party and be sunk once and for all... perhaps she could take some lessons from her local newspaper publisher..?...? You know the one that she reads all of the time with all of the others that she can't remember the names of...?

    March 31, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. Jim

    Thankfully, with each passing day she becomes less significant.

    March 31, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. Monica

    Can't even plan a dinner and she wants to rule the free world? Please.

    March 31, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  9. Angela

    I am not a fan of Newt but at least he does more than critize, he tries to offer opposing solutions and that is much more than can be said about Palin or any other Republican.

    March 31, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. When Did America Become the Land of the Dumb?

    Honestly, what does Mrs. Palin have to say that would interest "thinking people"?

    Her entire campaign schtick was to hurl unsubstantiated and unfounded criticisms at THE PRESIDENT. No one want to hear that bull crap again.

    Her much ballyhoo'd "ENERGY EXPERTISE" is non-existent. She can't even spell wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, or CNG. She is the governor of a state that produces oil ... so by Mr. McCain's standards, that made her and EXPERT on energy. We always knew better.

    Gingrich will have ideas ... unfortunately virtually all of them will be extremist in nature. By going "back to the future" with him, the GOP reveals just how short it is on creative intellectual thinking.

    March 31, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. Carol

    A Palin aide told the Anchorage Daily news........ " I pointed out the press release and she was like, 'No' ".

    'and so Sarah goes, y'know like whatever
    and then I go, yeah, like that's what he said
    then she goes ...........'

    Good Lord, does Alaska have schools? Where do they find these people?

    March 31, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  12. matt

    Palin can't be worse than Obama who is spending money right and left and putting this country in even a bigger hole the only change obama has done since taken office is decorating the white house and making a garden out in the lawn

    March 31, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  13. Moderate Democrat

    Ahh...the GOP/RNC threw another of their own under the bus. How, uhhm, unsurprising.

    March 31, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  14. Lesley Anne

    I hope this means that she will be invited to fewer and fewer Repub events and eventually leave the national scene.

    March 31, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  15. Amy

    This is funny, she also failed to appear at a recent AK legislature mtg because she can't articulate any coherent plans or ideas. She has turned her back on Ak in her delusional quest for higher office and now it showing nationally as well.

    Why didn't they ask there next star player *Jindel* LoL

    March 31, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. Libertarian

    Par for the course? The repubs announce it, then rebuke it, then apologize for not understanding? They call that incompetence where I work....seems like it's just a "slight communication problem" when the Limbaugh party does it.

    March 31, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  17. DX in TX

    Well that's a huge mistake. Newt is not known for pumping up the core Republicans like Sarah Palin has. Newt may have the brains, but Sarah has the heart of the Party. I just don't understand the Republicans anymore. They keep using their own and tossing them aside like dirty laundry...


    March 31, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  18. sue

    If this is the way Palin organizes her life, just imagine how she and her PAC would run a country!

    March 31, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  19. mike

    I'll donate whatever it takes and go door to door if necessary to see that Palin never gains national office. She's the definitive "Opportunist" and wouldn't even be that, if not for McCain's poor judgement.

    March 31, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  20. LOL

    Was this the same aide who allowed a radio show to call Palin? Sarah Palin is the gift that keeps on giving.

    March 31, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  21. carl

    If Palin is the best the GOP can spotlight, they are doomed. She stumbled on the campaign trail, trotted out the same old tired talking points over and over and basically made the GOP look like amateurs. She is also a hypocrite. Alaska has gotten more earmarks in the current budget than any state in the union. Sure Sarah, you said 'No' to the Bridge to Nowhere, but yes to the hundreds of millions in pork projects.

    March 31, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  22. Kristin

    Newt Gingrich? Seriously, this is the best they can pull out of their bums? He's worse than she is. In 1997 the repubs wanted him replaced as Speaker of the house after he was fined by the ethics comittee for lying and of course cheating.

    Nice- thats a leader for ya

    The republican party is heading the same direction as the Wig party. HAHAHAHAHAHA

    March 31, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  23. David in Houston

    What a sad day for the republican party...

    March 31, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  24. Jeanne from Arizona

    Watch out for Gingrich. He has been quietly working in the background and has established a for profit foundation called Center for Health Transformation. Check it out on the web. He is getting his hands in Health Care Reform and anything that he gets involved in isn't good for the average American. So him headlining this dinner advances his cause. The supporters of this foundation are the big Pharmaceutical companies and other big names in health insurance. So you that have posted with disdain for Gingrich, be advised he has an incredible amount of influence, don't count him out of anything.!!!

    March 31, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  25. Chas

    Perhaps the Republicans are beginning to realize that Joh McCain made a BIG mistake in trying to upstage the Democrats by picking a woman who is grossly incompetent. She is not the future of the Republican party and neither are the gang in Congress – McConnell, Boehner, McCain etc, etc, etc. Newt looks better and better! Who would have thought...............................

    March 31, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
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