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. C W

    Palin doesn't have "rock sold principles" – she is:

    – A liar (saying the proposed health care reform includes "death panels" when it does no such thing)
    – A quitter (resigning her governorship with 1.5 years to go)
    – A thief (taking Alaska per diem money when she was living in her own house)

    With principles like those ...

    August 14, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  2. grahame

    Sarah Palin is a disease which believes the world is only four thousand years old and fossils are the work of the Devil

    August 14, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. Brian

    Please can we be done with Palin. There really is nothing extrodinary about here, I mean think about it.

    Everyone take a moment to think of people in your life; you know someone right now who is more special than Palin. Lets stop wasting our time and get on with it...

    Enough with Palin

    August 14, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. Mike Mundy, Houston, TX

    LOL....Keep up the attacks on Palin, Nerd! She was right on the "Death Panels".....SSSssttrrrrrriKE!

    August 14, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. annie for Palin

    begayla should know – he is a WHOLE WHACH JOB! If anyone is an intellectual lightweight, it is all of the non-journalist and pund-nuts on cnn and msnbc. I think it is amusing the way demon-crats and obamanuts keep up with the cruel remarks about her. Lighten up little boys and big old ugly witches she doesn't even hold an office now. Also I think it is funny the way conservatives and repubbies like her being out there speaking the TRUTH when none of them can find the gonads to speak out! As far as going toe-to-toe with obama – any of those little old citizens going to town hall meetings could make him look like the fool that he is even if he had a dozen teleprompters. The only truth he has ever spoke was that FED-X & UPS work well but government operated post office is a peice of crap.

    August 14, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  6. Idiot_Pelosi

    Give me a microphone so I can talk about Paul.

    This sissy has his head so far up his "you know what", that its laughable anytime this fool shows up on TV.

    August 14, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  7. m smith

    We have this not so bright journalits major spouting off about health care a subject she apparently knows nothing about. Does this broad know anything about anything? Read the material on health care people and stop luistening to these nut jobs. She is a riot incitor and would yell fire in a crowd.

    August 14, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  8. Bill

    Thank you Mr. Begala for not giving an inch and conceding any of Sarah Palin's nuttiness as legitimate. While I can understand conservative principles and accept their legitimacy (although I disagree with them), Palin has proven repeatedly that she is simply a right wing nut job. It is imperative that she be recognized as such, as her views are not only crazy, they also incite the hatred that exists on the fringe right.

    August 14, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    He must have forgotten how she tore Biden up in the VP debate. As Jim Croce would put it, Joe looked like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces gone. Democrats tried to spin it the other way, but that was pitiful.

    So go ahead and underestimate Sarah Palin at your own peril. As far as Wack Jobs, nobody can compete with your very own Secratary Clinton. My gosh she's getting scary.

    August 14, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  10. Jonah Hex

    Begala's a slimeball. And if Palin is as stupid as he says she is, then why are Obama and the Democrats arguing with her through her Facebook page? And why did the Senate Finance Committee suddenly announce that it was dropping "death panel" language from its version of the bill, which the Democrats previously said was a myth. Looks to me like Sarah Palin is smarter than all of those hacks combined. Heck, all of the usual pundits and cable chatterers said she was finished after July 3, BUT here she is changing the terms of the National debate, and in the GOP's favor. So who're the real intellectual light weights?

    August 14, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  11. DEB

    I think it is clear to the american people that Sarah Palin is a pain and talks out of her backside!
    Even her press announcement stating that she was stepping down as governor, she sounded like a turkey with her head cut off... gobble gobble is all that could be made of the thoughts she was trying to get out. She and many of her cronies are not to be believed due to her rhetoric and lies of death panels.
    How dare she suggest that this country would kill the disabled or elderly.
    BTW, didn't she encourage her son to join the USMC, now that is a killing panel

    August 14, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  12. aCorNN watchdog

    A Paul Begala quote......Oh my.....
    Talk about a soulless, shameless political hack
    This guy hasn't had an opinion of his own since the Carter administration

    August 14, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  13. charlie in Maine

    Are you so hapy that the Dems are in power that you are pulling punches? Can't blame you I haven't had a cross word for George W in 8 months.

    But come on Paul, you and I both know the truth:

    She's a TOTAL whack-job!

    August 14, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  14. Chad

    I am sorry to hear that Mr. Begala has had to resort to such comments. Just another example of the liberal media attacking a real person in politics.

    I am hate to say it Mr. Begala but I imagine your just upset that someone who doesn't match your ideal of a politician is getting so much attention and that you can only get some by making remarks like those.

    Do us all a favor and get a real job because the one your pretending fill is clearly not working for you.

    August 14, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  15. Stu-Florida

    Let's give credits where credits due. She's a complete 100% wackjob...
    no fractions... no percentage.
    We need more speaking the truth about Palin so, hopefully, she will go away... forever!

    August 14, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  16. tee

    She can't go toe to toe with my tenth grader........Are these republican SERIOUS!!!!!....They are willing to sound stupid and ridiculous and lose all credibility to stick up for someone in their party......who has shown she doesn't deserve sad......she will never be on the same educational or intellectual level as President Obama.......END OF STORY.......THEY CAN'T BE SERIOUS!!!!!!

    August 14, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  17. curtis in WI

    Begala underestimates Palin. She is clearly a full-on whackjob.

    August 14, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  18. TN for Obama

    *TOTAL Whack Job" and a Quitter Queen.

    August 14, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  19. New Yorker

    She may be "flaky and an intellectual lightweight" but she would still make a better president than Obama or any other liberal Democrat. Principles and policies are what matters – not eloquence. At least she would advocate for LESS government and a return to our Constitution. Obama and his "change" will destroy this country.

    August 14, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. ck

    LOL... Palin stepped down, yet CNN and all the liberals keep hounding and harassing her family as well as her.

    Me thinks the liberals are very afraid of her for some reason...hmmm what could that be?? Plus, picking on her family... typical cowards, pick on the weak ones.


    August 14, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  21. Sean

    I'm not necessarily a big fan of Begala, but I wish more people would have the guts to just come right out and call a spade a spade in the case of people like Palin. She is an idiot, plain and simple. She accuses Obama of "palling around with terrorists", then stands by as attendees of her rallies shout "kill him" about Obama, then she says that the news media should "stop makin' stuff up", goes on to push the ridiculous myth of "death panels", and then makes a statement about how we need to have a more mature political discourse in this country. Seriously Palin? Although it does seem that congratulations are in order – she has managed to become the voice of the dumbest people in our society, so I suppose that's an accomplishment of sorts.

    August 14, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  22. alvino

    Begala is half right in calling her 'half a whack job.' She is a complete whack job. She does a great job making things up, though.

    August 14, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  23. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    I love how CNN tries to make it's own pundits and reporters the news. I guess it's easier than going out and finding REAL news. WHO CARES WHAT THIS POLITICAL GROUPIE THINKS?!

    August 14, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  24. Sheryl From Michigan

    Mr. Begala is absolutely correct in his assessment of Sarah Palin. She is nothing but fodder for late night comedy shows. She has the intellect of a gnat and she is also a really nasty liar. Just another fine example of the "christian" right. Lie, cheat and steal....Then hide behind their bibles. You betcha by golly for sure also!!

    August 14, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  25. Cynthia - Arkansas

    She's a WHOLE whack job! She has done nothing but stir up hate and a lie comes out of her mouth every time it opens. Do her devoted followers not care that she lies constantly? I don't get it.

    Her and Rush are the most dangerous people in America. They only appeal to the least educated and get them ginned up. They are carrying guns now. I find that truly disturbing.

    I pray to God that nothing happens to my President. I pray daily that angels will surround him and keep him safe. All of those who wish him harm will have to answer before God someday. I'm glad I'm not them. No true Christian would ever act like the poser, Sarah Palin.

    August 14, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
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