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. AN

    Palin is nothing but a red herring for the Republicans. By having Democrats chase the crazy-lady-in-a-pink-suit, they are able to draw the attention away from their own shenanigans.

    August 14, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  2. Amanda

    she is completely wacko, that's the problem and only in this country would someone like continue to make headlines.

    August 14, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  3. PUMA

    All the left does in name calling, because they can't win on the issues.

    August 14, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  4. Wanda

    finally someone at CNN who sees Palin for what she truly is...well said Paul !

    August 14, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  5. Jerry Archuleta USN Ret.

    Why is Palin in the spotlight? Remember she is not in Polictics anymore. She should stay out of the lime light before she stick both feet in her mouth.

    August 14, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  6. Post always rejected by CNN

    If she was a little older I think we might say they modeled the "scarecrow" in the Wizard of Oz after her....

    August 14, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  7. JC

    Paul Begala ~ I think I love you, MUAH!!!!!

    FINALLY, someone in the political arena calls Palin on the stand regarding her non-sense. She didn't treat the VP debates seriously, nor does she appear to treat anything else serious.

    For all that she has said and done (or not done), she has continued to show herself to be lacking in political intelligence and plain old common sense.

    August 14, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  8. John in PA

    How is this news? Begala is a hardcore Democrat.

    August 14, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  9. Linda B., Ga.

    Paul, I totally agree with you.....but.... I think I would say she's a TOTAL WHACK JOB and a QUITTER.....and to think that McCain picked her as a running mate....maybe he's a bit of a WHACK JOB TOO 😉

    August 14, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  10. A guy from Maine

    Full whack. People who don't see it are half whack.

    August 14, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  11. triket63

    As a psychologist, I think saying 'whack job' too mild for Palin. The common term would be crazy as a loon!

    August 14, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  12. Ralph A. LaPaugh

    Paul Begala calling Sarah Palin a "flake" or a lightweight really takes the
    cake! Begala has never had on original thought of his own. Everything
    that spews out of his sewer of a mouth comes straight from the DNC.
    Always has – Always will!!!!
    I just can't wait to see the look on his ugly face when Palin wins the
    election in 2012!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 14, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  13. Garofulaar

    Unfortunately the conservatives and creationists are anti-intellectual, so Palin's dumb-ass bigotry and lies sound fine the them. I'm thankful that overall they are a declining demographic. We just can't let them destroy the country.

    August 14, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  14. RFK

    I wonder how she will translate this to an attack on one of her kids?

    August 14, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  15. Big John

    I think Mr Begala was being she's a lot worse than he mentions. She's a full blown right wing whacko who is the one guilty of "making things up" Bluntly she's just plain stupid.

    August 14, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  16. flaky and an intellectual lightweight

    But give her your money GOPers, all of it

    best gift of all would be for Palin to manage as much of the money from the GOP as possible

    August 14, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  17. The man

    Of course she's a whack job - she's running around making up crazy claims about 'death panels', a claim even CNN stated was false (although it took you about a week to finally get around to it).

    August 14, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. AA

    Really Mr. Begala...please let them know how you feel!! (sarcasm!)

    Poor Sarah Palin–>by quitting her job as governor she lost creditibilty with a lot of people. That was by far the dumbest move on her behalf. No wonder both dems and reps are saying she is a nut job.....

    Strategizing is key to being a successful politician and clearly something that the former governor has not mastered. Shame on her for putting herself out there like that. This is why women like Hillary Clinton, Madeline Albright, Condi Rice, & Olympia Snowe have to work twice as hard to prove themselves. When incompetent women (ie Sarah Palin) try and pursue positions of power with no intellectual capacity, they make all of us women look bad.

    Sarah Palin needs to go back to Wasilla, take care of her baby Trig, and continue to develop her skills, intellectual capabilities, etc. Aren't there online classes that she can take for that?

    August 14, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  19. Ren from Batimore

    Paul Begala is partly right; Newt used to be quite the strategist. He rallied the facts, truths, and troops for the Republican Miracle that so affected Clinton's time in office.

    However, Newt's recent sashaying back and forth on Palin, on McCain, his kissing up with not show that he has maintained his strategic chops. Just the opposite. He has been flaying, as have many Republicans, changing his stated positions on death panels/advance directives, and living wills.

    Mr. Begala is wrong about the current Newt. He is correct , in the sad extreme, about Palin.

    August 14, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  20. Legna

    Begala,Begala,Begala, if u consider Palin half a wack job , look nto the mirror and decide what u c. I am amazed that u feel that someone so wacky deserves your esteemed intellectual comments or attention. Maybe ,you need to help the current administration focus on the economy so that all small business r not bankrupted. OR DO U CARE...

    August 14, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  21. Mariann Pepitone

    I disagree with Begala. I think she can go toe to toe with Obama. She says what she means and means what she says. Obama is known to change his mind on certain decisions like Gitmo. He should already know what to do with them. There are several prisons to transfer them to If I am correct there is a prison in Montana or Utah with no prisoners in it and it has never been used. They will take them because it would give jobs to people. That prison cost over 2 million dollars to build. I seen it on TV, And Palin is right about the Health Care Obama is trying desperately to pass. And I would definately like to know why he is so anxious. I think his Health Care is a gimmick.

    August 14, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    A sure sign that someone is losing control of the discussion is when they resort to.....and indeed, lower name calling.

    Democrats have lost this issue. They should strive to retain what little dignity they have left, and stop the name calling. It is embarassing for their party, and those who support them

    August 14, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  23. Jean...Mississippi

    She's NOT half a whack job.......She's the whole NUT

    August 14, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  24. tk in IL

    Now there's the pot calling the kettle black. Begala can do nothing short of resorting to name calling.....and yet despite all the flack flying from his lips, he's got nothing worthwhile to say.

    CNN why don't you try to print news that is worthy of reading and stop with the Palin bashing? All you end up doing is putting her right up front and center of everyone's attention......unless that is your real intention????

    August 14, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  25. Patriot

    Of course she's a whack job, and so are her supporters.

    August 14, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
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