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[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.palin1.cnn.jpg caption="Palin has been replaced by former House speaker Newt Gingrich."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin will no longer headline a major Republican dinner in June, a Republican official told CNN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

    How sad to think that one was replaceable by Newt Gingrich. Snafus in communications happen – it just seems odd that something that big would have been let fall through the cracks by either the GOP or by Palin's people.

    March 31, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  2. Blues Dude

    Gee, maybe she has a lot on her mind, like a volcano that has erupted 19 times in the last week that's disrupted everyones lives in Alaska.

    March 31, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. chris

    She can't even get her staff(s) in order; why would anyone think she could run a government?

    March 31, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  4. Brian

    Once again why does the name Palin still appear at the top of this Ticker. She is just the Governor of Alaska, but I bet there have been at least twenty times she has made the ticker. And its usually little things (like this) that CNN attempts to make big.

    The DNC is scared. Scared that a GOP vice presidential candidate garnered nearly 50% of the vote last election (McCains own admission that most people voted for her not him). An African American will be old news in 2012.

    March 31, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  5. annie - Palin 2012

    Newt baby is definitely planning on running 2012. Stupid republicans are playing same old game. Of course, at the rate bo is going their won't be a country here in 2012. Was mccain behing this also? These old politicians never learn! That's how we got stuck with bo.

    March 31, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  6. RZ

    I'm only surprised she isn't blaming the "liberal media". Perhaps that will come tomorrow. And to think she could have been a heart beat away from the Presidency.

    March 31, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  7. Lance

    Are you really that surprised? Look how they ran their presidential campaign.

    March 31, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  8. Tom

    I'd rather it had been Palin.

    Gingrich is sharp and well-spoken. He's the master of the sound-bite.

    March 31, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. Stranger in a very strange land

    Palin's staff is in confusion. Sounds like they listened to what she said and then tried to make some kind of sense out of it.

    Woody Allen once made a film by buying the rights to a bad Japanese movie and then making up dialog to fit the scenes. This seems awfully familiar to what the dimwits staff must be going through.

    This could well be the future if the Republican Party.

    March 31, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  10. Stop already

    Please stop with the Palin news already. She is irrelevant. Let her do her thing in Alaska and lets move on with real news. I don't quite understand how something she is not doing is news.

    March 31, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. Dayahka

    One would have a hard time deciding which one of these two would be the worst–or the best. Gingrich is a typical head-in-the-sky academic totally out of touch with the real world, while Palin is a head-where-the-sun-doesn't-shine non-academic totally out of touch with the real world.

    We already know of Palin's failings, demerits, and intellectual lacunae. Gingrich's latest foray is into the land of science fiction, with his call for some sort of Marshall Plan to gear up and create a way to protect our society from breakdown in the case of an atomic weapon exploded in space that wrecks the electronic web on which our "world" rests, like a Moses calling for the waters to flow or a Joseph demanding that the waters retreat. Well, at least he'd perhaps be more entertaining than El Blimpo or any of the other hooligans the Republicans could invite.

    March 31, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  12. AP in Illinois

    Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin. Now there is quite a choice. I feel so sorry for the GOP. Nowhere to go but down. And we thought you were already at the bottom of the barrel.

    March 31, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  13. clydedogg

    She has gotten lots of publicity for not attending and no one will get a chance to disect what she says. Smart move.

    March 31, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  14. stubanas

    The Republicans always go back to the 'proven' leaders. 'Communication breakdown' my buns. Palin has now become a side story

    March 31, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  15. KJ

    The sooner the GOP leaves Palin behind, the better. I think Newt is alot better. After all, he's the guy that engineered one of the best times of the GOP...Remember, the Contract with America, the economic fruits of which were mainly realized during the Clinton era? Does anyone remember that we actually had a budget surplus once?

    March 31, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  16. NC

    Good. Maybe the Republicans are finally wising up about Sarah Palin.

    March 31, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  17. politics is local

    "That scheduling gaffe is something I'd expect from a receptionist working for $11 an hour."
    Given the dire state of Alaska's economy, chances are her admin staff isn't even making $11. Let's remember, she's a pretty lousy fiscal leader and her constituents depend on the "rebates" she hooks oil companies into paying; she hasn't created a new job in Alaska since she started.

    March 31, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. Russia Watcher

    Not sure why nobody is stating the obvious. If this woman had a coherent thought to share, she would kill for the chance at such a high profile event.
    There is very little in the "idea department" rolling around in that blank slate she calls her brain.
    Not stupid, just hollow.

    Try to imagine if McCain would have won, and died, and she would be leading our country right now. OMG, I just got shivers up and down my spine!!!

    March 31, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  19. reggie

    She will be missed, but Newt will do a fine job. And, Dems, remember that Newt was a huge fan of Palin during the campaign. So, don't bother trying to stir anything up.

    March 31, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  20. Frank, Las Vegas

    What a choice, new lies from Palin or old lies for Newt. And the GOP wonders why they can't win any elections. Absolutely Clueless.

    March 31, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    'Tis a pity. I'm sure Palin would have provided plenty of grist for the late night talk shows' mill.

    March 31, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  22. lived9lives

    Gingrich? Newt Gingrich? You have got to be kidding. That's the best they can come up with? What new, progressive, hip-hop ideas will he be contributing? Hey, maybe he will grab the 19 page, blue, Cliff notes brochure and perform a new rap song like "Wrap it up baby ,wrap it up". Pretty sad. You betcha.

    March 31, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  23. Jennifer

    If Republicans are aligning Gingrich as the future leader of the Republican party, Democrats can count on winning a lot of future elections.

    March 31, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  24. Zach

    I am not surprised that this happened. It is just a repeat of her campaign as Vice-President. When will the Republicans learn that they must find someone new, that the country can trust? However, all of you Republicans out there will not be missing anything by Sarah Palin being absent that evening. However, I am sorry you have to listen to Gingrich, he will say the same thing he has always said........nothing.

    March 31, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  25. HIllDem

    She is the victim of her own crazy logic....she wants to get more national exposure, but refuses to work with the beltway boys/girls. She wants to run a national campaign in 2012, but without ever connecting/shaking hands with GOP congressional leaders. How to sabatoge your own political future...palin course 101.

    March 31, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
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