August 14th, 2009
09:10 PM ET
13 years ago

Begala calls Palin 'about half a whack job'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Longtime Democratic strategist Paul Begala hammered former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Friday - calling her "flaky and an intellectual lightweight."

Begala was asked on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" to respond to a Politico story in which former House Speaker Newt Gingrich outlined several ways for Palin to repair her image.

Although Begala called Gingrich "a brilliant political strategist," he said giving advice to Palin is an exercise in futility.

"Here's the problem," said Begala, a CNN contributor. "He is trying to treat her like a serious person. She is not. OK? She is about half a whack job. She does not have the intellectual heft of Newt Gingrich or almost anyone else in the Republican Party, and I think she has proved that."

He continued: "I admire Newt Gingrich for pretending that she is a serious person. But Sarah Palin has proven herself to be flaky and an intellectual lightweight."

Conservative journalist Terry Jeffrey, appearing alongside Begala, defended Palin for having "rock solid principles." But he said Palin needs to be more aggressive in opposing the president's policies. At this point, Jeffrey said, "I think it's not proven" she can go toe-to-toe with President Obama.

Filed under: Extra • Sarah Palin
soundoff (305 Responses)
  1. Don Beal

    Begala is right. Gingrich advised Palin to write a book, but the what? 140 characters in a tweet, that's plenty for Sarah.

    August 14, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  2. mitch

    Sarah Palin is an intellectual lightweight – and in other news, the earth is round and revolves around the sun.

    August 14, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  3. Alex, NJ

    Of course she is a wack job! Just remember you can see Russia from Alaska!

    August 14, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  4. marty

    Begala always has been and always will be a jerk. Who cares what he thinks? Wait, you mean he can think??

    August 14, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  5. Ted

    I'm disgusted by Begala's statement. How dare he refer to the former governor as "half a whack job"!

    Clearly, Palin is a full-on, complete whack job!

    The fact that somehow she's got half this country believing in "death panels" is downright scary, though.

    But I will say its nice to know I'm so much smarter than so many people in this country, from the embarrassing former governor of Alaska on down to her fruitcake supporters. =)

    August 14, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  6. Sandra, Atlanta

    She couldn't go toe-to-toe with me and I'm not a politician. Of course I don't wink and say 'you betcha' very well either.

    August 14, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  7. Diane

    It is too late for Palin to create a new image, she has made so many incredible statements that no one can ever believe she is serious. Wonder if she quit because she had a better offer to try to sink the health care reform legislation? If so, it seems to have backfired.

    August 14, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    ...calling her "flaky and an intellectual lightweight."

    Attention Mr Begala: That's a lying flaky and intellectual lightweight..

    August 14, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  9. Buddy Gilmour

    Of course she's crazy, that's why we love her so much! Gingrich plays up to her in the hope of getting her support and the support of the GOP religious-fundamentalist (and also crazy) base. Because you see Gingrich is not crazy, just opportunistic.

    August 14, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  10. You betcha!

    Begala is right on. Gingrich is a fine stratgist, and Sarah Palin is a cartoon character who doesn't realize it.

    You can put lipstick on a quitbull, but it's still gonna be an dumb little mutt with a bad disposition – and lipstick.

    August 14, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  11. Margaret

    This light weight is scaring the Democratic Party to death because of the size of the crowds she draws and the support she enjoys.

    Half a whack job is preferable to a party of Socialists and Marxists.

    See you at the next election, Mr. Begala.

    August 14, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  12. Bette

    If there was any intelligent life in the Republican Party they would admit she's a lost cause. Defending her just proves there is no intelligent life in the Republican Party. She's a joke, a sick joke.

    August 14, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  13. normajean

    Afterall the hoop-la, stories and jokes plus the multitude of times Sarah Palin has shown herself to be lacking in the intellectual curiosity that it takes to be a politician.....there are still people who stand up for her and think she has presidential attributes. She is a personality, not unlike a lot of Hollywood people who are attractive and have a "gift of gab" in the public arena, but intellegent she is not.When challenged for a solid opinion, she is vapid. Her smart words are teleprompted and written for her. Her live interviews proved her inability to "think on her feet". Heaven help us if she is elected to anything in the future..

    August 14, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  14. Wack Job, Amen!!!

    I totally agree with you! She is a total nut. No one should pay this fool any attention. She is a fool!!!!

    August 14, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  15. ImaLindatoo

    Now that's funny. Paul Begala? The man who is so desperate for attention? The man that people from his own party can't stand because...well, of him?

    Yes, I'm sure Paul you want to get in on Sarah's coat tails, it just aint gonna' happen.

    August 14, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  16. Kimberly in Oregon

    love it~!! Its not as if everyone with half a brain is NOT thinking the same thing, I mean come on the woman is about 4 beers short of a 6 pack! COMLETE LOON!

    August 14, 2009 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  17. Stephanie

    I don't care for Palin either, at least not politically, but I think calling her a "whack job" is unprofessional and does not reflect well on the Democrats when that type of name calling is used.

    August 14, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  18. Ken

    Begala, YOU are the nut job. You are obviously medicated.

    August 14, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  19. Dale, plymouth MI

    Bagala is a whack job. Anyone that goes along with this presidents ideas is a whack job. They should be thrown is prison for trying to spread communism in the US.

    That's what it's about people "Communism" not healthcare. Healthcare is just another control factor that helps the other. Thes people are trying to control all AMericans and I for one am very happy to see that all people dem's, repulicans and indenpendents are seeing it and saying NO THANKS.

    Now if you push this you should be held on criminal charges. By the way, I heard that the tax payers arenow footing the bill for 600 lobbiest? THANKS A LOT --See that's waht I mean, You people are ripping us off and trying to control us.

    Don't be to surprised if the people take this a little personal. After all, it's our way of life your messing with. Some elected officials to turn on their our people --WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR back stabbers.

    August 14, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  20. Jq

    "go toe to toe with pres Obama"...ha ha ha that is hysterical. That idiot against a harvard law grad?? Not!!

    August 14, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  21. Independent Voter

    I so agree with Begala! If we are going to have a health care debate lets do it on facts not lies. The sad part is the individulas are falling for it... its a living well.( you can decide how you will die, not the doctors). Sarah Palin should be ashamed of her self...a few years ago she promoted the very same idea in Alaska!

    August 14, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  22. Dennis, Amarillo Texas

    CNN is famous for its LIne: "Your comments are awaiting moderation". But they put this little crack pot Paul Begala on everyday to insult every Repbublican in sight from both Presidents Bush to Chaney to to Gingrich to Palin with language straight from the gutter. But what really gets me is when Begala continuoulsy refers to himself as a "Texan". That is the greatest insult of all, a little pipsqueek like Begala who hides behind a camera and a microphone, and would run to his Granny's dress to hide if he ever was confronted to put muscle to his mouth.

    August 14, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  23. Larry Willet

    Paul Begala calling Sarah Palin an "intellectual lightweight" is the pot calling the kettle black. The only traits that have gotten Paul to where he is today are his ascerbic wit and partisan cynicism, certainly not his intellect. I challenge him to cite anything he has done or said that contains any recognized intellectual content including his books. I generally chuckle when I read his so-called "editorials" since they are devoid of any serious insights and loaded with hollow partisan banter. I entertained the thought of comparing him to other "intellectual lightweights" in the Democratic party but I don't have any reason to insult any of them.

    August 14, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  24. GP

    Palin needs to be 'more aggressive in opposing the presidents policies"?

    Huh? You mean making stuff up about death panels isn't aggressive? Or is it that lies don't count?

    August 14, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  25. John

    Quit acknowledging her. The more you bring her into the limelight the worse it is.

    August 14, 2009 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
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