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. Drew

    You hit the nail right on the head your comment is so true:)

    August 14, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  2. ztormtra

    Time to stop bad mouthing people and start debating the issues. Begala has become quite a boor. When a person attacks another verbally, without cause, it is a sign of insecurity.

    Hmmmm...Democrat Insecurity?

    August 14, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  3. annie

    Finally an article about Sarah Palin I agree with!

    August 14, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  4. Jon in VA

    Well for someone that it seems the media claims to be unimportant, " flaky and an intellectual lightweight" according to this guy. I can't find a newspaper or news channel that doesn't have her. Why does Plain need to stand on her own, when these people give her all the wieght she needs. I wouldn't have say her 15 minutes where up when Obama became president, but boy was I wrong, She will be around for a long time because despite what these people say and the fact they should ignore her or make her unimportant. You idoits make her front page news every week. What would happen if not one media outlet mentioned her name for say 1-2 months. We will never know because idoits like this guy and the media in general can't do it.

    August 14, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  5. cf

    Palin is probably a nice enough person...

    But she carries a lot of the baggage most Republicans carry these days: arrogance, condescending nature, lack of understanding the true situation in the country since they want the upper class to be all Republican and the lower class everyone else.

    She is not a realist. She is not focused. She really knows little about the main continent and has little idea what the rest of the world does. Hopefully, she is not the best the Republicans have to offer although the last eight years have seen enough hate, bigotry, arrogance, ruthlessness, lying, and filthy behavior to last a lifetime.

    She's saddled with a horrible party. The horrible party is sadded for oblivion if she is the best it can turn to.

    August 14, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  6. Robert

    Well I totally disagree with him. She is not 'half' a whack job, she is 100% totally whacked...

    August 14, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  7. kuriya

    Thanks for that comment whack job that is what she is. I also think that she is still upset that they lost the election. Plain and Obama are not same Obama is not a quitter Plain mistress of comedy quit her job when it became too much for her. She abandon her state

    August 14, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  8. chubby

    What a bone head of an article. If you are seriously curious to look it up, there were death panels in the health care bill of the demorats. It was located on pages 425 to 430 and has since been deleted but the original bill may still be there. First it was not there then democratic senators said it would be removed. So, WHO is really not a half whack job but a full WHACK JOB. Governor Palin's poll is rising while obummer and the democrats are falling like a stone off a cliff.

    August 14, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  9. Mark Lins

    Begala is right! Now would CNN please stop treating Sarah Palin as if she has anything to say, except as it pertains to hunting and fishing??? Please????

    August 14, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  10. Rick

    Mr. Begala:
    YOU and your whole party are scare to death of Ms. Palin. She has aspired to more than you will ever dream about. So, who's really the intellectual 'whack job'?

    August 14, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  11. S Callahan

    That's mean..but I have to admit..I have tears in my eyes from lol lol lol

    August 14, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  12. alex

    She has proved to be America's #1 idiot.

    August 14, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  13. jon

    Asking Paul Begala about Sarah Palin is like asking Ann Coulter her opinion of President Obama. The question is why would you? Begala's only function is to collect a pay check by sitrring up controversy. I'm sure he's not a bad person but truly, no one takes him seriously. He's like a more unstable version of James Carville, if that's possible. He is a sad caricature.

    August 14, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  14. sunshine

    Begala is 100% right.

    August 14, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  15. George Coolidge

    "At this point, Jeffrey said, "I think it's not proven" she can go toe-to-toe with President Obama."
    According to Senator Grassley, the "end-of-life counseling" has become DOA as far as the Senate is concerned. Palin influenced the health care debate more than anyone else this week.
    Well, at least more than Begala ever did.

    August 14, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  16. Aunt Bea and Opie

    We think Joe the hammer might just be a bit smarter than her,but thats a sled dog race,if you know what we mean.hahaha

    August 14, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  17. Biased

    I used to love listening to Paul Begala, but now as far as I am concerned, Paul is nothing but a condescending, mean spirited and nasty personality now whenever he talks about republicans and this has been going on since Obama got the nomination. Some times on CNN he is rude to the point I turn CNN off – sorry CNN but it is getting annoying listening to him now especially when I used to look forward to listening to him when he was announced as one of your guests.

    August 14, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  18. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Tell it on the mountain Paul! You're preaching to the choir when it comes to Ms. Intelligence Lite!

    August 14, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  19. Gpenn

    Palin has shown once again she has no clue how are government works. She thanked The Senate for removing the "death panels from HR 3200 on Facebook today. The problem with that is HR3200 is a House bill not a Senate bill. Palin fails again.

    August 14, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  20. Tammy

    The mystery is that she got elected to any office at all. Did people really understand her "thought processes"? Watching her is more painful fun than listening to Shrub, but intellectually, they're in the same league - each is a bit different, but lacking grey matter. Wouldn't it be fun to watch/listen to a debate between the two? Ouch!

    August 14, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  21. Nikki Oldaker

    Begala you have a lot nerve and are a sexist... Has to make one wonder if your elitest attitude needs a remake. Palin – strange as you may find her is loved by many in the country. The reason being is she is not a liar and she cares about this country. refreshing that would be to put someone in office that isn't corrupted by business as usual. She talks to the people not at them.

    August 14, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  22. Tim

    I am really sick of conservatives standing up for Sarah Palin's principals. They're essentially the same as every other American's principals. Her principals don't set her apart. Her lack of intelligence, however, does.

    August 14, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  23. sue

    I really don't understand why anybody cares what the whack job has to say. Who is she anyway? An unemployed private citizen who recently left a job uncompleted because she couldn't take the heat! Again ...who cares?!

    August 14, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  24. Mattison

    Paul has made an entire career of being as much a jerk as possible towards any who share different views than him. Thankfully John Klein at CNN saw the light and cancelled his show. Oops Paul. Guess your still just a partisan hack. Theres a way to be critical and childish name-calling, while clearly right on your level, isnt what a journalist should do. But then again, your a strategist, not a journalist.

    August 14, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  25. Leslie

    What Paul Begala says is true - she is a lightweight for sure and probably on her way to "whack job" as the star treatment she gets while having no substance goes to her head. And it is dangerous when the media gives her the same "voice" or treatment as serious politicians - liberal or conservative - because this suggests to people that maybe her intellectually dull, limited and facile views should be given some creedence.

    August 14, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
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