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[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.palin1.cnn.jpg caption="Palin has been replaced by former House speaker Newt Gingrich."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin will no longer headline a major Republican dinner in June, a Republican official told CNN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

    WOW!!! So, they knew there was miscommunication and then still were not able to organize well enough to get this thing set up. And instead, we have an old relic of the beginnings of this nightmarish GOP who was able to confirm and attend. WOW!!

    March 31, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  2. Kristin

    Good for her – not accepting this because she wants to stay focused on what she was elected to do – work for the people of Alaska. I wish all of our public officials operated with this mentality, versus constantly being in re-election mode. Disappointing that Newt is the headliner though..as someone else mentioned here, that's not the future of the GOP. If that's the best they can do, they are in big trouble in 2010 & 2012. I'm a conservative, but would not vote for someone who represents the GOP of the past...I want to see the GOP of the future. The party is so disorganized & dysfunctional right now...they better get it together pretty soon.

    March 31, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. Greg Slayton

    It should have been Newt in the first place!!!!! He is the only conservative with any original idea's. Newt – Mitt 2012

    March 31, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. Read more

    This is ridiculous. Can the GOP have its head buried any further deep in the sand? Bunch of disorganized, technologically-retarded freaks. I'm embarrased to stand up for my party these days. Between Michael Steele becoming a joke at the RNC and the "budget" the Republicans proposed (without one single number) to oppose Obama's, this party is risking becoming literally obselete.

    March 31, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. D. D.

    Newt managed this one well. He will be the next Republican candidate. Heand Michael Steele will tour the South together.

    March 31, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  6. Cynth

    The GOP is better off without her. She's too divisive.

    March 31, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  7. Dave

    I REALLY hope she is the new face of this failed party...that will make the next election put Republicans back even another notch...this woman is a radical...not mainstream...she's as dangerous to this country as the Newt-wit who is replacing her to speak at the dinner

    March 31, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  8. Judy from Halifax, Nova Scotia

    Palin seems half-hearted in her attempts to move to a leadership role in the Republican Party. The mis-communication occured because she had not actually made up her mind, while SarahPAC assumed they had the mandate to accept this opportunity for her to be in the spotlight for the Republicans. Sarah is not dumb, at least not in terms of knowing how to play her cards to her best advantage. So I think she is just not sure if she wants to go to the head of this particular GOP class or if she'll stand aside right now and then get all Mavericky before the next election and bring on her new fresh-faced outsider team. Time will tell.

    March 31, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  9. james

    I'll never understand how this woman got any serious level credibility.

    March 31, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  10. Skip

    So what!! Sarah Palin will soon be last years news. She has no ideas on health care , fighting terrorism ( arrest Bill Ayers?), higher education, nothing,, not even a real energy policy, just a slogan "drill, drill baby"

    March 31, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  11. Va 4 Obama

    Sarah Palin give a speech? That would require putting together cohesive thoughts and speaking in complete sentences. As we all saw last fall that is NOT in her repetoire!!!

    March 31, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  12. Holly - MO

    OK! is this really a surprise. Palin is a dimwit and her own party is finally realizing it....Her ego is huge since crowds showed up for her before they knew she was nothing but a brainless beauty queen.

    This is not a surprise, Palin couldn't give a speech on her own give me a break! It was reported that she didn't attend a recent legislature mtg because she wished to attend a Funeral. She would have skipped the debate in October if she had her way.... People wake up! This lady puts on a huge facade of being in politics but she is clueless! I would assume since First Gent was found out about attending Gov. mtgs she is skipping all of them b/c he can't be there to think for her!

    March 31, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  13. Thomas Emly

    We need to get over Palin and get on with more important issues.

    March 31, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  14. tiff of lithia springs

    Yeah Right! Sound to me like the GOP are finally coming to their senses.

    March 31, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  15. Joseph, Los Angeles

    Is it possible that the RNC has thrown Palin under the bus a long time ago?

    March 31, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. Amused by Incompetence

    So she wanted to the VP, but she can't even figure out how to get a speaking event on the calendar.

    So instead of tired complaints about the media and a few colloquialisms, the group will get to listen to intelligent discourse about health care reform, the economy, and the future of the Republican Party. Everybody wins!

    March 31, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  17. Cynthia

    You go Sarah! Stick it to them!

    March 31, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  18. JacklynD

    It is a nice way of putting Palin, McCain and Rush Limbaugh behind them.

    The Republican Party is in total disarray. What baffles me is why they would turn to Gingrich. Do they think he is part of the glory days? Newt (such an appropriate name) is partly responsble for their obstructionism and mean spiritedness. His Contract With America was really a contract with lobbyists and the oil industry. None of his policies are worth a damn. He didn't help anything except to get Bush elected and I don't think he wants to take credit for that.

    The Republicans need to find progressive intelligent leadership with a positive attitude and approach. I think our country is done with business as usual and Gingrich is most definitely business as usual.

    March 31, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. Lance

    This must be the fault of McCain's staff. 🙂

    March 31, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  20. Bill

    Palin at best is a dolt. Why would anyone in their right mind want her to speak?

    March 31, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  21. Just Saying

    After all that blame she was doling out to McCain's staff for mishandling her during the election ... I guess her own staff – the ones that she hired- are "mishandling" her too.

    It appears more and more that this woman just doesn't have her act together, mentally or organizationally.

    March 31, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  22. Jane Margaret

    'Communications breakdown' is code for the Republicans dumping her now that her star is no longer in the ascendant.

    March 31, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  23. jeremy

    Sarah Palin can't even keep her own aides organized and communicating effectively, what makes anyone think she could participate in running the country?

    March 31, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  24. Margaret Anderson

    It is just as well. She cannot help the Republican Party in any way.

    March 31, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    And this is the person who said she was ready to step in and be president? She can't keep two teams organized and she thinks she can keep the entire executive branch running smoothly?

    March 31, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
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