August 15th, 2009
09:44 AM ET
10 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: Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. Gus

    I wonder which insurance company whispered "death panels" in her ear? She took the bait and ran with it. God help us if this whack job comes anywhere near the presidency, She is gods gift to the DNC.

    August 15, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. B

    About the only thing Palin can go toe to toe with is an Alaskan moose and maybe not even that...

    Sure wish that they would just let it go, she is – yet another -Right Wing Nut case.

    August 15, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Dimslie

    "Strategist"? Is that the same as "hack"? Either way, mention to the yokel that it's "has proven".

    August 15, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Bridget Colbourn

    Dare we assume that John McCain regrets foisting this wretched woman on the nation?

    August 15, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Deb

    btw . . I didn't vote for the total wack job in office right now. ARE YOU PEOPLE seriously happy now? Obama will put this country into it's next civil war soon.

    August 15, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. Rob

    almost half as flakey as you Paul !
    I am assuming that you read and approved those emails sent out by the DNC signed by you.

    August 15, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Roberto

    Lets see, the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, folks like Rush and Glenn, can say the most outrageous and treasonous things about the Dems but when a voice of reason tells the truth about their 'messias' well just read some of the comments posted here.

    August 15, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. Ron

    Sarah Failin'. She doesn't even hold an elected office anymore, why does CNN continue to talk about her?

    Same with Newt Gingrich.

    August 15, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Dilligaf

    All right, who let this slimeball Begala climb out from under his rock again? Come on, fess up. Who did it?

    August 15, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. John / Los Angeles

    Finally, someone with political clout has said what most intelligent people have known for a while. I still cannot comprehend why the McCain campaign selected Palin unless it was her appearance. Now she is making a spectacle of herself with false information and mindless comments. To say she is not a serious thinker is the understatement of the century. What worries me most for the future is that there are people who think that she is intelligent and listen to her, please tell me that they aren’t intelligent enough to know how to vote!

    August 15, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. phil

    The republicans just stay and critisize. Nothing to offer. no solution on the table. they cant even go on diplomatic rescue of u.s citizens. paul begala is far smarter and wiser than bill o reilly and sean hannity of fox news. sarah palin remains the biggest joke of the new mellinium. every sensible person should thank God that john mccain lost.


    August 15, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. KRI

    Does the Republican party have any spokespersons other than Rush and Sarah? There must be someone else out there that has something pertinent and rational to add to the debate.

    August 15, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. G NO P

    "think we are stupid, we have a lot in common with Pailn."

    Anee, that is just priceless. and yes, we do. Palin is half a whack job, probably because she did not want to go all the way and become a lame duck whack job. There were no death panels in the proposed bill, nothing has been taken out of it, as congress is not even in session. This exact same provisiion was in proposed Medicare (you know that socialized medicine that we have) legistlation back in 2003, and the repugs supported it then.

    August 15, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. quarterback

    As has been said, if Palin looked like Golda Meir, would we still be talking about her?

    She should run for President. For the same reason we gawk at accidents on the highway and train wrecks on the tracks.

    You betcha! Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge...

    August 15, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. Me

    And I'm supposed to care about what Begala Thinks..

    August 15, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. scott from michigan

    For those palin supporters who take offense when others call palin a whack job, sometimes honesty hurts, get over it.

    August 15, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. thersa

    She's a liar (death panels) and a quitter.

    August 15, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. Nuts

    You people are letting the state run MSM lead you around. The death panels are not the "end of life" the death panel Sarah Palin is talking about are the ones that will be set-up to ration health care. There is not enough money to pay for government health care so boards will be set-up to decide who gets what treatment. It is called ration care. Death panel was used to get your attention. Just think anyone of use will go before these panels and they will decide if you are worthy of the care or not.

    August 15, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  19. David from Tennessee

    I couldn't agree more. Why would anyone take this idiot seriously? She's so obviously pretentious. She only says what she thinks will have political impact. I don't think she really believes the nonsense she has tried to make us believe.

    August 15, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. Kelvin

    GOP= Politics of FEAR

    The far right "religious" conservation is against health care for all? Was Jebus more of a socialist or capitalist? The far right are the modern day pharisees who were against Jesus teachings.

    August 15, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  21. Dave Ziffer

    As much as I dislike to agree with Democratic strategists and Democrats in general, I think that Begala is right on the money. The Republican party destroys its credibility when it backs people like Palin who clearly don't have what it takes to even run a reasonable campaign, let alone the country. I had been hoping that Sanford was going to be the next great Republican candidate, but he has also clearly demonstrated himself to be significantly short of the requirements.

    Actually, I think Gingrich has all the qualifications and experience, and he doesn't suffer from fits of idiocy and self-embarrassment. Why isn't he being slotted?

    August 15, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. BPOWER

    Wow that is really the way to go to attack someone: They are a whack job and an intellectual lightweight. Without his deep voice and his handlers, what is Obama????

    August 15, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. Aunt Bea and Opie

    I think shes just as smart as Goober,Gomer,and the three Stooges.

    August 15, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. scott

    ya know what...this is insane...i continually see palin in the news is nothing short of stunning...; the republicans have absolutely NOTHING to be hopeful for, so they (somehow) try to revive whatever tiny pieces of their past hopes they can...
    its both a wonderful and bizarre continually hear about palin from the GOP now and then...
    wonderful, because she is obviously the "best" they can do in finding a single conversation about their broken, loser Party....
    Bizarre, because calling her "half a whack job" is not only accurate, but probably characterizes most of the GOP at this point...
    THEY, and.........THEY america into our current mess!

    scott in NH

    August 15, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. MC

    This is her "higher calling?" If I were her, I would no longer trust the voices rattling around inside my head . . .

    August 15, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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