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[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.palin1.cnn.jpg caption="Palin has been replaced by former House speaker Newt Gingrich."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin will no longer headline a major Republican dinner in June, a Republican official told CNN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

    I think Alaska is in need of a Governor right now. With the volcano and people not having enough food to eat, it might be a good idea to do what she was elected to do. I think people are pretty tired on being in campaign mode. It's a long time until 2010. Just give it a rest!

    I think they are pushing Bobby Jindel out there to take her place. She just says more stupid things everytime she can find a camera pointed in her direction. Too bad, Jindel's debute was a major flop too.

    March 31, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  2. Charles

    Just shows you how disorganized the conservatives are , the right hand does not know what the left is doing..............

    March 31, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  3. Not Surprised

    Let's face it: not enough time between now and June for her to actually get educated on anything of substance, so what could she possibly have to contribute to the conference other than a pretty face? The Republican party is so hard-up to try to find their next 'star' that they have to scrape the bottom of the IQ pool? I may not like Newt, and he's definitely old school Republican, but at least he's not one step above illiterate. Then again, Bobby Jindal is a Rhodes Scholar and he seems to have all of the voter appeal and street smarts of a sloth.

    March 31, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. Former Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    The Republicans are all over the place! Each day after my decision to disown the Republican Party, I am convinced that I made the right choice.

    March 31, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  5. Deb Osborne

    Now that that is settled, can we continue to try and forget everything Palin?

    March 31, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  6. Bea

    Sounds like a strategy to buy sympathy for Sarah Palin....not buying this...Sorry G.O.P

    March 31, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. inder

    Republicans should converse themselves with using 21st century tools like Computers, MS Outlook, MS Word, Email, etc...

    Using uncle Bell's invention to co-ordinate between multiple parties is a little last century.

    March 31, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  8. You Betcha!

    Watching the Republican party is more fun than watching Abbott and Costello do their "Who's on First" routine..

    Sunday on Meet the Press, Johnny Mac says he wants to see Sarah "compete" for the 2012 presidential nomination. Now, she can't find her way to a Republican fundraiser. Maybe it was in that country called Africa.

    Watch out! Come 2012 we might see a Jeb Bush-Rush Limbaugh ticket.

    March 31, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  9. Jeffer65

    I really wish the media would stop shoving Palin down our throats. Aren't there any other Republicans to talk about?

    March 31, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  10. bca

    My message to the GOP: Replace Palin with whatever Republican you want – I'm still not voting for you.

    March 31, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  11. LMC in Seattle

    I hope this actually means that the GOP is shying away from Palin! It sounded like her last appearance was "Sarah unleashed," and I think she made some enemies. I hate to see Newt Gingrich making a comeback–he is one of the people that started the party down it's self-destruct path.

    March 31, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  12. Crazy Chester

    Newt sure appeals to a wide and growing cross section of Americans. He'll get so many young voters of all ethnic backgrounds registering Republican that by 2012 the electorate map will be as red as it was in 1984.

    March 31, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  13. JediMasterMatt_Bethlehem, PA

    If they can't communicate little things like a speaking engagement how would she have survived as Vice President....just plain scary.

    March 31, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  14. Dianne

    Yeah right "a communication problem". The GOP know she is not qualified to lead their party. so they gey Newt, wow, things are getting ugly.

    March 31, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  15. Mike, Albany

    Hmmm.... Palin or Gingrich? Sounds like a lose-lose situation, so does it really matter which one speaks?

    March 31, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  16. Carl Justus

    What a shame, she want be able to lead the republicans with her speech and expertise in winning the Whitehouse.

    I think they should reconsider and after picking her, should make sure she has been notified.

    March 31, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  17. Willy G

    I am no fan of Newt, but he is an improvement over Sarah Palin. Which shows how far the GOP has sunk.

    March 31, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  18. Teresa Yaun

    Why can't people leave Gov. Palin alone? The campaign is over until 2012 at which time I hope it will be President Palin.

    March 31, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  19. Art

    Good for the GOP finally a step in the right direction. She can't be taken seriously, just like Joe the plumber, get back to the basics and reestablish your platform. She needs to start addressing problems in Alaska and personal ones at home!

    March 31, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  20. Brian in NC

    Just imagine this type of ineptitude at the federal level. A man who admitted not knowing much about economic matters but that thought the fundamentals of the ecomomy were strong and his flake of a side kick whose staff is obviously just as good at details as my local McDonalds that gets the order wrong half the time.

    I'd say the country dodged a rather big bullet!

    March 31, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  21. trying to be reasonable in WV

    Palin's not speaking would have been a shame had she ever demonstrated an ability to say anything of importance. As it is, the GOP dinner will be addressed by someone with a PhD (Gingrich). I'm no fan of Newtie, but at least the man has ideas.

    March 31, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  22. Evan

    Palin or Newt Gingrich.

    I don't know which one's worse.

    March 31, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  23. Surprise

    Yeah – they just didn't want her. I can't believe they're going back to Newt. Don't the Repubs understand the country rejected Newt and his policies years ago. So sad – not.

    March 31, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  24. Kathy

    I hope the speaker change is the result of the Republican Party realizing Sarah is a total embarrassment for the party. What was McCain thinking when he picked her – was McCain thinking. I just wish she'd go away. She a has been, actually a never was. Why does the media even bother mentioning her. She's not making any note worthy news.

    March 31, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  25. Gil from Ottawa/Canada

    This Republican party is really in trouble. How can these folks still count on Sarah Palin who showed to the world how short minded and ignorant she is. Here in Canada, we would never elect her even as a city counsellor.

    March 31, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
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