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[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.palin1.cnn.jpg caption="Palin has been replaced by former House speaker Newt Gingrich."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin will no longer headline a major Republican dinner in June, a Republican official told CNN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

    I don't believe this scenario took place. The republicans are pulling for straws, and want anyone who they feel will be a good fundraiser. They have actually heard the negative but realistic comments abbout Palin.

    March 31, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  2. VegasGurl

    Not surprised. Even John McCain wouldn't commit several times to saying he would like to see Palin as president last Sunday on Meet The Press. He wanted to see who else would be competing. He's finally seen the light. Palin is an absolute disasster, a train wreck if you will, for the Republican party. Hopefully she will fade away into the darknes so the true stars of the Republican Party can come forth and they might have a better shot of getting something done.

    March 31, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  3. Liz in Seattle

    Perhaps we have finally reached a point where thinking people (even republicans) are tired of listening to Sarah Palin. She is a prominent public figure but no leader of her party. Even I (a staunch democrat) am glad to see them look to someone who may actually have ideas and guidance to move the discourse forward. It's no fun when the other side can't even put forth a decent argument anymore.

    March 31, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  4. rick

    Too bad. She would undoubtedly have said something outlandish that would have made us all laugh for a few days.

    March 31, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. erik

    Ha ha.. kicked to the curb

    scheduling gaffe, my butt..

    March 31, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. Meg

    That's too bad. I would really have been interested to hear what she had to say. I love her!

    But thank you to the liberals on this site who have already shown their negativity by bothering to comment at all. Lovely representation of your party.

    March 31, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  7. windrider

    Remember when Palin blamed McCAIN's staff of the various gaffes and fubars, as if her staff had nothing to do with it? Now it's her own staff responsible for the fubar on this one. If she really has ambitions beyond being governor of Alaska, she needs to hire some competent people who can at least coordinate her schedule.

    March 31, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  8. Erhard

    Mrs. Palin, feed your people in Alaska. They are the once who need you.

    March 31, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  9. Colin

    That's it. She's done. The Repubs have realized what an albatross around their necks she is. Stick a fork in her career...it's done.

    March 31, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. What's all the fuss about

    Have to say, this is actually a good move. Like him or not, Gingrich does have a sound mind about their party's real fundamentals. Now if only he can get the rest of them on board. Remeber, they(1994+ congress) managed to get something done along with Clinton even though they repeatedly tried to stab him in the back.

    March 31, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  11. Shecky

    I'm a staunch conservative Republican who voted for McCain, but Sarah needs to GO AWAY. So does McCain.

    March 31, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  12. Gracie, MD

    Wow.... Palin is replace with Newt the "wanna be GOP Leader" at the RNC Dinner??

    Once again the RNC continues to chase their own tail. They have NO leadership in Michael Steele and NO clue and NO plan or solutions.

    It's just that simple. All they do is sit back and throw spaghetti on the wall and hopes one sticks, and that's their plan. BAM!

    March 31, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  13. Troy Heagy

    The sooner the Republican Party drops Palin, the better of they will be. Its clear that many people in government right now don't know what the heck they are doing, and we don't need one more in the bunch.

    March 31, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. Cathy

    They are smart to leave her alone. This woman attended 7 universities and changed courses many times....That is a light bulb...

    March 31, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  15. M J L

    Newt Gingrich is the reason the GOP is in such a mess. Palin hopefully will keep missing other dinner's! Stay in Alaska.

    March 31, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. Jacques

    The Republican Party does not want to take the risk to have another liar on the stage. Special after what happened to poor little Bobby in Louisiana.

    March 31, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. Kathryn

    Wow...two updates to try and clarify the GOP's intentions!
    Just proves that nobody in the Republican Party knows what's going on these days.

    March 31, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  18. Patrick

    Newt Gingrich? Wow.... .from old news..... to REAL REAL old perhaps ancient news.

    Both failed...

    March 31, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  19. Lilarose, Bandon, Oregon

    Sarah Palin seems to be the "Candidate of Chaos."

    Can you imagine having her in the White House, running our country?

    We would never know from one day to another whether she would do our business or not, show up or not, follow through or not, be available or not.

    Work or not.

    March 31, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  20. Nestor, Austin, TX

    I like the slant on the headline. "Palin replaced as headliner for Republican dinner" That leads people who only read headlines to believe that she was replaced because of something she said, did, etc. It was a miscommunication. Why is this news? Newsflash! Water is wet!

    March 31, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  21. Tricia E

    If they can't have Palin, they're going with Gingrich!?!?! Brightest political minds?!?!?!

    What happened to the other "young" governors, Jindal, etc....???

    GOP for you, marching solidly...backwards

    March 31, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. Charles

    Sarah Palin was not qualified to be vice president and she is not qualified to deliver this keynote address. It looks like someone figured that out.

    March 31, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  23. magella

    Maybe if Palin had a BlackBerry like Obama she could manager her own damn calendar.

    Really, is any of this a surprise? And really, a keynote speaker should have something to speak about. I don't think much of Newt, but at least he's reasonably lucid and intelligent.

    March 31, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  24. ContinentalGal

    The way the Anchorage airport keeps gettting closed due to ash from Mt Redoubt, Nodoubt that eruption may have an influence on Palin going anywhere that's very far. Let's give her the benefit of doubt on this one. And even so Newt the Puke is the speaker, he's still a sight better than some of those other Repubs. Like, better Newt the Gengrich than Mitt the Romney. Think about it.

    March 31, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  25. DLB

    Well it's a good thing she isn't our Vice President, OMG if she doesn't know about a speaking engagement! Sounds like she and her staff don't communicate much. Nor does she stay in touch with other members of the GOP. So much for the up and coming young Republicans!

    March 31, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
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