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)

    Amen to that Shame on you Mccain for releasing this monster to the Lower 48 Should of left her alone where she was In Alaska now we are tortured with this woman daily

    August 15, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Jay

    Funny, not a word from the Obama-adoring mainstream media about John "hairboy" Edwards and his bastard child that he fathered while his wife was being treated for cancer. Yet the liberal press can't stop demonizing Palin and her family. Liberals are a pathetic breed...and when the civil war does come, we conservatives will be the ones with the guns.

    August 15, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. They call me "Tater Salad"

    I think Terry Jeffrey might be just a touch bit confused! The only people that Sarah Palin appeals to are the slackjawed, knuckledraggers with single digit IQ's who aren't capable of thinking for themselves! They'd rather be fool's and let the Republicans do all of the thinking for them! Just more proof that I live in a world surrounded by idiots!

    August 15, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Glenn Martin

    Awe come one, who in the heck is Begala and what is a Political Strategist and what is his background and what are his biases to become a judge? What has he ever done? We know him well. He is a CNN robot. Liberalism extremiust.

    August 15, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Unemployed for too long

    Congrats Begala,,,Sarah was a real charmer in the beginning,, then of course, she spoke.....

    August 15, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  6. CHIPS

    It is amazing to me how Americans continue too want idiots to run this country. UNREAL!

    August 15, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. Alan in Marietta, GA

    Finally, someone who sees Palin for what everybody, except extremists and dirty old men, a lightweight. Someone needs to ask who's ghostwriting for her. Her facebook rants are not her words...she doesn't talk in complete, coherent sentences. Her previous writings reflected that as well. All of a sudden, she, although lying, is forming complete sentences on facebook. Hummmm!

    August 15, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. philly

    About the "death' panels, another media ploy, have you read her rebuttal with references.

    As a doctor your words have much influence, and when you suggest palliative care, a patient agrees. As a health care professional, we are NOT going to be told when to do such a thing.

    August 15, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. Mike

    I don't like Mrs. Palin but that was rude to call her names. I am sure she believes the stuff she tries to sell us. I am not buying but you don't have to call her names.

    August 15, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. Independent

    I said it before and I will say it again, couldn't say it any better...Thanks Paul....In my neck of the woods we would say, her cheese is starting to slide out of her sandwich.....

    August 15, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. philthetruth

    It appears the game is up! These fool lib/dems have been demonizing America(ns) for 40 yrs and this being their only strategy simply proves how wrong and lost they are. They can't provide anything of substance because they live in fantasy. Why are they scared of Sarah Palin? Because America is about hockey-moms not elitists. These people are the reason America operates at about 10% of its potential. COMMON sense based on the culture that founded this country is the only guidance a politician needs. Enjoy the backlash in 2010 and stop our Marxist "president."

    August 15, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. Kelly

    I'm not a fan of name calling by either party. It's counterproductive and detracts from the issues.

    With that being said, I don't understand Palin's popularity. She's feisty and she stands up for what she believes. Fair enough, but that doesn't mean she's a good leader. To call the health care bill a "death panel" is irrational. To say she has concerns that the current wording might be misinterpreted or abused is reasonable.

    The world would be a better place if people would stick to the facts and not presume to know what other people are thinking. If you don't like the implications of an idea, there are ways to get your point across without trying to convince everyone that your opposition is the devil himself. That takes intellect.

    August 15, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. Paul Landry

    Isn't it nice for someone to finally call Sarah Pallin what she is – A WHACK JOB. From where I live in Canada I continually here about her future in US politics. I wonder what Americans she has lulled into this fantasy world where they still believe in this poor I repeat poor chose for poor John McCain. Go back to Alaska and fade to black – PLEASE !!!!

    August 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Iquitarod

    Sarah Palin is a hypocrite, and a liar In April 2008 she created "Health Decision Day" in Alaska!

    Healthcare Decisions Day is designed to raise public awareness of the need to plan ahead for healthcare decisions, related to end of life care and medical decision-making whenever patients are unable to speak for themselves and to encourage the specific use of advance directives to communicate these important healthcare decisions."

    Not only did she promote "death panels" in Alaska, she dedicated a day to it. Why does Sarah Palin want to kill Grandma? Calling her half a whack job is a compliment

    August 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. moose

    I am so glad that someone finally had the nerve to call palin a wack job I've thought that ever since she came on the scene.

    August 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. Mental midgit in Ole Miss

    I think my sister,TCM,or which ever of the hundred names shes using today can at least type more words per min.,not that shes much smarter though.hahaha

    August 15, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. phoenix86

    Begala critizing a republican? Say it ain't so!!!

    August 15, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. Donnygull

    Finally a Dem spokesman that has the nads to say what a majority of people think and know to be true. Hats off to Paul! Palin=Retard

    August 15, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Dan

    'Whack jobs' are everywhere in our society, they are coming out of the woodwork. They are also working their influence on their congressional leaders as they form the majority of their constituent base... ultimately making their Congressmen and women 'whack jobs' too.

    August 15, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  20. CHIPS

    It is amazing to me how Americans continue too want idiots to run this country. UNREAL! UNREAL! UNREAL!

    August 15, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  21. Mike in Texas

    Anee, Sarah Palin supported death panels in Alaska. In 2008 she declared a health awareness day in Alaska, including advance directives so if someone had something happen where they couldn't speak for themselves their wishes would have already been know. So why is she against it now? Hmmmm....Maybe because it is part of Health Care reform that the president supports and heaven forbid she can't support anything the President the does. She is typical politician, posturing for position.

    Losers, the last I heard the Dems are still in the White House and controlling congress. And even though the President's approval ratings are not as high as before, Republican support is less than 30%. So Repubs are still the losers and their goal is to oppose the President on 100% of anything he proposes or supports. They don't give a crap about you, they only care about regaining power so they can push take cuts for their buddies.

    August 15, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  22. Brad

    The truth hurts...He's right!

    August 15, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. Nuts

    I’m speaking of the “Complete Lives System” advocated by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the president’s chief of staff. President Obama has not yet stated any opposition to the “Complete Lives System,” a system which, if enacted, would refuse to allocate medical resources to the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled who have less economic potential. [1] Why the silence from the president on this aspect of his nationalization of health care? Does he agree with the “Complete Lives System”? If not, then why is Dr. Emanuel his policy advisor? What is he advising the president on? I just learned that Dr. Emanuel is now distancing himself from his own work and claiming that his “thinking has evolved” on the question of rationing care to benefit the strong and deny the weak. [2] How convenient that he disavowed his own work only after the nature of his scholarship was revealed to the public at large.....SP

    Get it straight from her FB.

    August 15, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. Mark L.

    Oh come on now, how can we call Sarah Palin a whack job? I mean after all, she used to be able to see Russia from her house... LOL... {:o)

    Sarah Palin, Dear, you really need to put the Fruit Loops away... You are a 110% ALL OUT LOONEY TOON, NOT JUST A WHACK JOB !! Andy Kauffman was known as the 'Man on the Moon'...Sarah Palin should be the 'Woman from Uranus'....LOL...{:o)

    August 15, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. What Goes Around

    How nice that Palin can just sit in the quiet of her quitter's cave and launch salvos via Facebook. How do we even know she's writing them? Now that you've got all this time on your hands, why not come up with some constructive conservative answers to the problems facing us today? Newt is standing ready to help you! Oh, I forgot, it's because the only problem the GOP sees right now is that the Democrats are in the majority.

    How about some leadership, people??????? And to the media: how about covering rational discussions rather than hysterical tirades? I'd love to hear some different views on these important topics, but all we hear is the tin foil hat brigade spouting conspiracy theories.

    August 15, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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