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. Nini

    What an arrogant man you are.
    Can you please count your accomplishments other than yapping on CNN.
    I am not Palin’s fan, but you how dare you, who do you think you are?
    At least she had the guts to run for something she believed in and did a lot of good for her state.
    she didn’t hide behind CNN and just watched and yap like you, she made it happen and her approval rating was 86 percent.

    I feel sorry for people like you. Your are so judgmental and shallow that you can’t accept anyone if it is not from the same circle.

    August 14, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  2. jayel

    We just might see a toe to toe meet between Palin and Obama for the 2012. Wouldn't just be one hell of a debate? We may even be able to figure out who really should lead this great nation of ours. Can't wait for them to get it on.

    August 14, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. Daivie

    Most serious republican politicians know that Palin is a moron and a liability to the party. However, they just can not summon up the nerve to be honest about her for fear of being attacked by Limbaugh and Hannity.

    August 14, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. Lourdes

    Look who's talking! Has this guy looked in the mirror lately?
    Palin will take on the liberals head on, including President Obama.

    August 14, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  5. Jake

    This guy is an obnoxious loud-mouthed ass, always has been and nothing more; I think I've seen blimps with less air in them then he has between his ears. Why all the focus on Palin? Could it be that you fear what will happen to the female vote when she is elected into the presidency? Me thinks thou critisizes too much.

    August 14, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. Tracy Thompson

    I couldn't have said it better. Now what does that say about all the unintelligent quacks who are following and supporting her?

    August 14, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  7. IS IT 2012 YET ??

    Another example of Democrat rudeness and meanness. Anyone who witnessed the vicious, prosecutorial "interview" of the Texas Congressman by Lawrence O'Donnell on Hardball August 14, saw for themselves how unhinged these Democrats can be. Amazing, and scary.

    August 14, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  8. Save America

    And this ugly forehead is the whole whack job.

    August 14, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. TangledThorns

    Sarah Palin is very influential and Paul Begala's knows it. Her recent Facebook postings helped in removing the 'End Of Life' language by the Senate. No other person has that kind of power. That is why she'll easily take the White House in 2012.

    August 14, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  10. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    Alas, Begala is all too correct. "Death Panel" Palin did Alaskans a huge favor by resigning. The only question I am asking myself is why Begala is wasting his time commenting on a former governor who's in the process of turning herself into a tabloid sideshow.

    August 14, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  11. Mike

    Begala has been irrelevant for quite a while. He is the only one who considers himself a heavyweight intellectual. If Palin is such a far-right flaked-out wacko drifting in the political wilderness, why do all the heavy thinking intellectuals like Begala feel the need to respond to her every comment? Perhaps it's because they can't put a positive spin on anything their own party is doing (at least not with a straight face like Olbermann) so they try to deflect attention by exaggerating Palin's importance.

    August 14, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  12. Lee

    You mean like rock solid QUITTER?

    August 14, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  13. Vic

    Leave to republicans to defend the "Baked Alaskan", as long as she opposes anything President Obama says or proposes she the darling of the GOP. Palin is a intellectual pea, her best role is in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.

    August 14, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. mh

    Begala is a typical liberal. When without an argument (even Begala can't defend socialism) just call those that don't agree with you names and defame them in some way. You Begala are the one who comes away looking like "half a whack job"!!!

    August 14, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  15. sarah sarah sarah

    Paul Begala you are the dumb one. you mad casue palin and is a threat you u and all ur left wings friends and media. you spends hours trying to destroy this powerful force. le be clear 2012 is palin power time.

    August 14, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  16. Prestona

    Kathy and preston i believe the gop wants sara to raise money for the gop macaine said he would not help her you bet ya

    August 14, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    At this point it's pretty apparent she can't go toe to toe with a sack of hammers and look smart.

    August 14, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  18. Todd (not the Alaska Separtist)

    Half-a-whack-job, or just a plain loon? Or light-weight quitter? Disturbing health care rationing has been conducted by insurance companies for years. They call it things like "denial of claims" or "pre-existing condition". Wake up wingnuts!

    August 14, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  19. German,Irish American

    Begala's idea of an intelectual is this, teleprompter only please, President that he idolizes. Obama stated at a "town hall" meeting that the Government run Post Office was bankrupt, while private enterprises UPS and Fed-Ex were flourishing, and thus the people should endorse his Government controlled health-care plan. Huh? I mean c'mon, nobody is really this stupid to make this comparison are they? Also, the "death panel" comment being false, why did they take out the controversial part out of the bill if there wasn't some kind of loophole that could have led to abuse by the appointed health care panel? I mean c'mon, if this is such an outragous lie, how come, in Begala's tiny little hateful brain, the most intellectual President ever, Obama, couldn't just come out and explain how wrong this statement was, and keep the wording in the proposed bill?

    August 14, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Paul Begala...your the loser.

    August 14, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  21. Mo

    I absolutely agree with Mr. Begala. She rambles on like no other. I disagree with Begala on this though (calling her an intellectual lightweight) she doesn't even deserves that.

    There isn't a definiton on webster's dictionary that is fit to describe her. Even Bush is a great has great intellect when you compare him to her. A stupid is as stupid does, and that is who Mrs. Palin is.

    August 14, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. Peggy

    "rock solid principles"??????? She's a HUGE liar. Anybody remember "pals around with terrorists"????????????

    August 14, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  23. observer

    Thank you Begala for being grown up and calling it as it is. You are one of the few people on TV who make sense. We need sensible people like you.

    August 14, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  24. Lola

    I totally agree with Begala, but might still be giving her too much credit. She has no principles and if she starts with one you can bet it will change when the mod suits her. She doesn't have to knowledge to go after President Obama's policies. She just lies about them and pushes lies and hatred.

    August 14, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  25. Voter

    Begala is oh, so right!

    Can't we just drop the Sarah Palin thing completely? She's dumb and boring.

    The Republicans can best help themselves by simply dropping the subject. Palin's supporters are very vocal, but are very few.

    August 14, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
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