April 8th, 2009
08:30 AM ET
12 years ago

Bob Corker to headline South Carolina GOP dinner

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/07/art.corker.gi.jpg caption="Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker will deliver the keynote address to the South Carolina GOP's Silver Elephant Banquet."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker will headline the South Carolina Republican Party’s annual Silver Elephant Banquet in May, a state party official tells CNN.

The speaking slot offers the senator a chance to impress the South Carolina GOP establishment at the party’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and because of the state’s crucial role in the presidential nominating process, Corker’s visit could spark chatter about his future political aspirations.

Past speakers at the event have included Mike Pence, George Allen, John McCain, Newt Gingrich and Ronald Reagan. The banquet was also the setting for two Republican presidential primary debates in 1996 and 2000.

Although Corker isn’t currently thought to have ambitions beyond the Senate, he is regarded as a rising star within the Republican caucus and won plaudits on both sides of the aisle last December for crafting an alternative to President Bush’s plan to bail out the auto industry.

South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson described Corker - the former mayor of Chattanooga who came to the Senate in 2006 after a tough campaign against Democrat Harold Ford, Jr. - as “a conservative that offers common sense solutions to our nation’s toughest challenges.”

The party will make the announcement on Wednesday.

The South Carolina GOP had planned to invite Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to speak at the dinner, according to a state Republican operative familiar with the plans, but discussions with Palin’s political advisers on the East Coast ended after the governor’s staff in Alaska “shot it down.”

Meg Stapleton, a spokeswoman for Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC, said that the governor’s office in Alaska declined the speaking offer two separate times, once in December and again several weeks ago, when the South Carolina GOP put in a second request through the PAC.

Stapleton said Palin is not even considering “the thousands of invitations and requests” she has received until the Alaska legislative session ends on April 19.

“During the tight timeline of the legislative session, the governor is focused on the state and achieving her goals for the state,” Stapleton said. “SarahPAC looks forward to presenting many of the appearance requests to the governor once the session ends in a few weeks.”

The session hasn’t stopped Palin from scheduling two out-of-state trips in the coming months paid for by SarahPAC: She’s appearing at the Vanderburgh County Right to Life banquet in Indiana on April 16, and will travel to upstate New York in June to attend an event honoring Alaska’s 50th anniversary at the childhood home of William Seward, who negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia

Filed under: Bob Corker • Sarah Palin • South Carolina
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. dallas gal

    man, they are scraping any GOP member off the bottom to bring in the $

    April 8, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. I used to like CNN but not anymore!

    Ladies and Gentlemen it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you the GOP's flavor of the week.............................

    April 8, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. Ron Alcorn

    This guy is an idiot who only interest is himself, someone should ask him whay he has no words to dish out about the big bonuses of wall street other than the they are legal contracts, the UAW contracts are legal also and he all for breaking those.

    April 8, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. Jean

    When they start defending Palin and only then will she help these fools raise funds.

    Sarah Palin is the gold mine.

    Washington is destroying this country.

    13 trillion in debt.

    April 8, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. Patsy Madison, TN

    O' please, is he the best that you can get to speak? I'm from TN and he is trying to destroy the unions, and put more money in the pockets of the rich. He did nothing about helping the people of East TN when the ash spill happened. He thinks that people of TN and the South are brain-dead. He is the biggest joke to ever come out of Tennessee.

    April 8, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |

    Looks like the Rethuglican'ts are about to pick the first loser for the 2012 POTUS campaign – and it looks like it ain't gonna be the biggest GOP loser to date, Sarah Palin...

    April 8, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Roger

    Please don't wish the fine folk of SC anymore bad luck by hoping that Corker stays here...We have got one of our own "Sanford"....The few Dems in SC are in hopes Corker takes Sanford back to TN

    April 8, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Jackie in Dallas

    How many "rising stars" does the GOP really have? None. Nada. Noone. They are all toe-the-line Republicans who wouldn't know an original thought if it slapped them in the face.

    Until the GOP re-aligns itself with a better message, realistic approaches to politics and government, and cuts their losses with failed policies of the past, the "rising stars" will hit a plexiglass ceiling and bounce off of it. If the best they can do is to regurgitate trickle down, espouse tax breaks for the rich, rerun people like Newt, and complain about deficit spending after their horrible record of it in the last two Presidential terms, perhaps it is time they find a new planet.

    April 8, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. Simpliticus

    You know that this was coming! When Palin failed, when Jindal was tried, and then the GOP governor of South Carolina is set aside, Corker must be paraded as the GOP's next best effort. It was about to happen when Corker was presented as the GOP's best answer to the Auto Industry's woes. Corker was being praised as THE go-to-guy fro the GOP and trying to offset Obama's best efforts to deal with Detroit. The thing about this Corker event might cause more diatribes to ensue as when each GOP member is asked to stand, these falter, first with Palin, then Jindal, and then the South Carolina governor. Corker is sweating in his shoes already and nothing good can come from this, try as the GOP may!

    April 8, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Obama 2.0

    They are going to wish they diidn't throw out that tea when they start choking on that plate of "More of the same."

    April 8, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. Jon

    Sadly, Corker is the better of our two senators in Tennessee. I obviously am a Democrat and did not vote for Corker, but I absolutely despise Lamar Alexander (our other senator) because he does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for the people of our state. Corker barely does either, though. Maybe Tennessee will vote the both of them out in 2012 and 2014.

    April 8, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. Another Old Man.....

    Why do republicans all look the same? Old, grey, boring and stupid!

    April 8, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. flybyshoeing

    If some of the GOP would just have the guts to split from their base and start a new party where they can put forth their own ideas they may be able to reach more people. I voted for Obama. I am not a Republican, but with everything always being so party line we have little choice.

    April 8, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. Ken from missouri

    Bob Corker is one of the few republicans that has some brains maybe
    he could have a chat with south carolina gov and teach him some things.

    April 8, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. shoegazer

    Where do they find these guys?Bottom of the barrel scrapings all trotted out as"the rising stars"of the GOP.

    April 8, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. Daisy

    The Republicans are down to scraping the bottom of the barrel. The GOP has sunken to a new all time low.

    April 8, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. Scab laborer in the south

    This guy thinks hes the mouth of the new Confederate South.

    April 8, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. BETHIE

    What a mess the Reppublican Party has become.

    April 8, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. Kyra

    Let me guess, they're saving Sarah Palin for the "jumping out of the cake" grand finale.

    April 8, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. Brett

    Senator Bob Corker was hand-picked by Carl Rove and approved by Rush Limbaugh. Enough said.

    April 8, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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