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. wazrocker

    'It's not proven that Sarah Palin can go toe to toe with President Obama!?" Ha ha! It's not proven that Sarah Palin Could go toe to toe with Spongebob Squarepants! She is NOT the sharpest knife in the drawer.
    She's to be given credit for being a great self promoter but short of that, she hasn't much to offer

    August 14, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  2. Doug

    This Begala is just always whining. What are his credentials, that he worked with Carvill in the Clinton Whitehouse – 2 blowhards. But the bottom line my friends, is that all the guys who are out their blasting Palin are the guys with little dicks that could never get a Palin – look at the hags that Clinton and Carvill are stuck with – i could only imagine what Mrs. Begala looks like – that is the bottom line. It is the little dick syndrome that runs rampant in Washington, more along the liberal side, but basically along both sides. Guys with little dicks are intimidated by a sucessful woman.

    August 14, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  3. Wes

    Thank you Lord! I thought I was the only one who realized It.

    August 14, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  4. denise_denise

    Its all true. She is a light weight and should be an embarrassment to the republican party in addition to being dim and inarticulate.

    I am amazed by the number of people that follow her.

    August 14, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  5. Susan, California

    She couldn't go toe-to-toe with Mickey Mouse.

    August 14, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  6. Leah Texas

    Half? In my opinion she is a FULL whack job.

    August 14, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  7. Advocate for All People with Down Syndrome

    Why not interview Palin and ask her which health care plan will provide coverage and care for her infant son? That would be Medicare and Medicaid, for children and adults with disabilities. Both of these are GOVERNMENT run health care. Wonder if Palin even understands that.

    August 14, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  8. George

    Thank god someone said it point blank. She's an uneducated, mediocre-brained, half-witted, dangerous nut-job of a loon. I don't care that she's conservative, or even ultra-conservative. My concern is that she's so evidently stupid that she speaks in public without a modicum of intelligent facts-based understandings on any issue. At least McCain, Cheney, and even Bush could address facts. She's the exact stereotype of a woman running for president – irrational, hyper-emotional, moody, stupid, and trigger-happy when PMS'ing. Why doesn't the Republican Party showcase some of their strong female contenders?

    And "toe-to-toe with President Obama"? On what planet? She never makes any sense when she speaks. Read her resignation speech on the Alaska governor website. Talk about crazy and insane. Why all the capitals and punctuation marks? Even third grade students can write persuasive speeches that make more sense.

    August 14, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  9. Cyrus Shick in Nashville, TN

    Thanks, Paul!

    August 14, 2009 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  10. lou

    Considering the Donkeycrats have an "Intellectual Giant" in the White House and all he can do is sink the USA in Red Ink while turning us into a Chavez-like Socialist Party has-been, I'm wondering how much validity Begala's opinion carries anyway.

    I'm no Palin fan, but who is he to call the Kettle black?

    August 14, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  11. TexasAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    And what "rock solid principles" would Mr. Jeffrey be referring to– her attempt to sneakily exert her powers while gov. to get her ex bro-in-law fired– her charging her children's flights & expenses to the state (until she got caught)– her inability to manage her own household, let alone the state– just what principles again, Mr. Jeffrey?? The woman couldn't stand with the dimmest politicos. I just wish she would fade away. She's an embarrassment to women who actually have a brain & the fortitude to make it in the business world.

    August 14, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  12. George

    She also once plagiarized one of Michael Regan's speeches. I thought as governor of a country with such a low rate of college attendance she would promote some semblance of intelligence.

    August 14, 2009 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  13. marjorie

    thank you paul begala for saying what so many people believe; sarah palin has a double-digit i.q., if that, and it's about time this was pointed out in no uncertain terms and not politely hinted at; thanks again

    August 14, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  14. joe m

    guess it takes one to know one.

    August 14, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  15. Emery

    First I would like to ask Terry Jeffrey, what are MS. Palin's rock solid principles, I was unaware she had any.

    Secondly, Paul Begala, she is not half a wack job, she is completely a wack job. I am STILL curious about the church she attends and the tounges they speak in. If I have someone in Washington at 1600 Pensylvania Avenue representing me and the rest of the country I want to understand them, not have them babble in tongues as MS. Palin seems to do quite frequently, even when not attending church.

    August 14, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  16. Dave in Massachusetts

    Though Begala's comments are probaly not politically correct, they are very true. I do believe that Sara Palin has strong principles. A lot of people do. But that does not mean they are qualified to hold a high political office. If the Republicans insist on putting this woman forward as a serious candidate for national office, they will get slaughtered.

    People need to find their niche in life. Palin could have a very successful career making speeches and supporting other stonger candidates that hold her same beliefs. She could really make a difference here as long as she does not try to be the one that carries the Republican baner.

    August 14, 2009 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  17. Tyler

    I'm sorry–Mr. Jeffrey, I'm not sure where you're coming from. How can you say that Palin, of all people, has to debate Obama in a stronger manner?
    She has resigned her job and given up any soapbox she might have had. She is now nothing more than another American citizen, and while the viewpoints of this country's citizens are important, I can assure you I speak for many when I say her's are NOT. I applaud Begala for saying what most of the rest of the country was thinking. However, I think calling her an "intellectual lightweight" is actually giving her a leg up. I know the media loves covering the stupid things Palin says, but come on folks-let's put a muzzle on her already.

    August 14, 2009 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  18. dhydar

    It's disturbing that Begala would use such odd masturbatory terminology while discussing a public figure... even if she is an attractive female. I hope his Mom doesn't see that clip.

    August 14, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  19. romie

    Mr. Begala is right. Sarah Palin is a whack job and more. One can clearly see that she is not intellent enough to be a top politican. She should stay home and look out for the Russians.

    August 14, 2009 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  20. Kathy

    Paul Begala is right. I don't know and can't begin to understand where Sarah Palin comes from or how she thinks she is qualified to be a serious politition especially since she left her current elected post. We could never in a million years take the chance of having her as our president or we would be in big trouble and how embarrassing and scary would that be to have her as our first in command. When the going would get tough 2 days into her presidency, she would quit or go on Saturday Night Live. Her cutesy little rants don't impress us as a matter of fact the less we see of her the better. There are definately some smart female contenders that could become effective presidents but Sarah should just work on her acting career or be a soccer mom and preach abstinance to her kids.

    August 14, 2009 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  21. Joe Berson

    The Alaska moose killer scares me–took her attending 4-5 colleges to finally get a degree in journalism. How come she wasn't considered for a Rhodes Scholarship??

    August 14, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  22. REA

    and what kind of people will read a book this wacko write really make you wonder.

    August 14, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  23. GPD

    Finally, someone with balls calling that queen has not clothes after all.

    August 14, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  24. Fan of Common Sense

    Yeah CNN, thanks for informing us what YOUR EMPLOYEE thinks about Sarah. Why don't you find us some REAL NEWS instead of just promoting idiotic statements by your no-name pundits who have never done anything real in their entire lives?

    August 14, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  25. YJ

    I wonder if Sarah Palin will understand what Paul Begala meant!
    She is so dumb as the soles of my shoes!!!!!!!!!!

    August 14, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
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