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. Paul

    Anee, did your preacher man tell you that? Is your soul to be saved because you paid up your tithe, as he gets nice health insurance, and the christain doctrine of love and care for your neighbor he ignores and lets god's creatures suffer unneedingly? You sound like the blind being led by the blind or the blind being led by the greedy who only care about themselves. Either way you have been duped, and the devil decieves, you think he is god as do the majority of people on Sunday.

    August 15, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Bob

    Ms. Palin lends credence to the saying "It's better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you're an idiot, than to open your mouth and confirm it!"

    August 15, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. James

    Palin and her supporters are a clear indication of how little the republican party has to offer America. We are moving on, and their time is over.

    August 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. amanda

    Palin can't run her on family what makes any one think she could run our country. Did anyone really even know who she was until she ran for vice president? The republicans were just trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat trick. It is obvious she was chosen because she is a woman. I am definitely for women being in office just not this one. She's a quitter on top of every thing else. When things get tough she gets going! She should just write a book make some cash, stay home, and raise her kids/ grandkids.

    August 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. rudy

    Who pays these "strategists" to go on CNN and say "Sarah is bad, Sarah is bad, Sarah is bad?" zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz I'm sure they make mega-bucks. I'm hoping he makes more than $250K so he can pay for my health insurance next year. Thanks Pauly.

    August 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Where is the N.O.W.???

    Once again, no one is asking the question...Where is the National Organization of Women? And why do they continue with their deafening silence every time someone attacks former Governor Sarah Palin?

    You don't have to like her or her politics, but this woman has been dragged through the mud while the N.O.W. has sat silently and let it happen. She was a Vice Presidential candidate...only the 2nd woman in history to appear on a national ticket (for the 2 major parties). The N.O.W. is proving their hypocricy and have set equal rights back 40 years with their silence.

    August 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. David, Pennsylvania

    Oh yes Paul, you are the smartest person in the world. You have done so much for our country. Oh wait, no you haven't. Very professional calling people names. While I don't agree with Palin's rhetoric of calling Obama's program 'death panels', it doesn't excuse you to call her a 'whack job'. Two wrongs don't make a right. Raise your standards Paul if you're going to be on CNN or you might as well go to work at msnbc/obama central.

    August 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Larry S

    Begala is so stupid . . . why would anyone consider his statements anything but Obama type of lies and hot air. The liberal dummies have a consistant way of calling people with decent ideas bad names and trying to degrade them. The primary reason is the dems and libs do not have any common sense ideas of their own. So, to act like a liberal and pprovide their type of comment . . . Begala is a dumb dork!!!!

    August 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. Kira

    A significant number of Republicans voted for Obama. Why? Because the GOP ticket was "Dumb and Dumber." Sarah Palin keeps proving that. She only appeals to lemmings like the rabid clueless mobs who have been programmed by health insurance operatives to show up at health care debates and disrupt any chance at actual debate on these serious issues (sorry for insulting actual lemmings).

    August 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Helen Kelly

    Paul Begala is the wacho, not Palin. He wishes he could have at least half the intelligence of Palin.

    August 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. Gene from Georgia

    Gingrich, like Rove, is a brilliant strategist because he has no character and lies alot.

    August 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. Larry S

    Can jst ONE of the liberal responders provide some comment of a small amount of common sense??? I guess that is asking too much of the followers of the teleprompter king.

    August 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. They've Already Got "Death Panels". They're Called Health Insurance Company CEOs

    Begala got it half right.

    August 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Tony In Largo, FL

    Half a whack job? Mr. Begala is too diplomatic. "Sarah Palin is half a whack job" is the understatement of the century. What surprises me, saddens me and find scary is that, on this very page, there are people who are obstinate enough, intellectually dishonest enough or ignorant enough to defend her "political fitness" on the national scene. .....or maybe their motiviation is something else that they realize they cannot express publicly in this dawn of the era of inclusion.

    Whatever the case, it motivates me to continue to provide my unrelenting support for the Congress and the brightest President we've had in quite some time.

    August 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. Simmy

    It's not half, Begala.....She's completely gone.....She is a hctiw from the naciW order....Her Christianity claim is baseless....God is love....She is full of hate.....She, like the serpent, has managed to beguile her baseless party.....God help them...As for me and mine....We chose America the beautiful.....

    August 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. Louis

    I applaud Begala for being politely generous in his description of Palin.

    August 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. AstroTurf This

    This is not about Sarah Palin. This is about the progressive liberals instituting SOCIALISM. CNN likes to play the Sarah Palin card thinking it can sway public opinion by using her to incite hatred. That's ALL the Democrats do...Hate and attack.

    The healthcare bill is about socialism. It is one mroe piece to their little puzzle. The banks, car industry, insurance industry, wall stress, mortgage companies, energy companies and now healthcare. They are EXPLOITING a recession to get their socialist skeleton in place. Americans KNOW this is happening and they are AGAINST IT. The liberal media is covering for the president.

    I can't think of ANYTHING more deceptive than to have the news media in the tank for the president. Sounds a lot like COMMUNIST countries doesn't it???

    The American people will UNITE and defeat this bill. If the Democrats think they can ram it through against the will of the people they are going to find themselves in exile a lot longer than the Jimmy Carter years.

    August 15, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. Wood

    "I'd take Palin over that whack job Bozo you folks put in the WH."

    Uh, Scott in Tuczon? Did you suffer from amnesia the past eight tumultous year? What's in your metamucil?

    August 15, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. Dave-in-Georgia

    As Barney Fife would have said, "She's a nu-aht."

    Since "Goober" left the White House, I haven't experienced painful laughter and I can't decide whether I miss it or not. Should Palin run for any national office or position, I will again experience that painful laughter. And the rest of the world will, once again, view America as dumb and dumber.

    August 15, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. Ray E.

    I wonder who told Begala?

    August 15, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. Bill E Pilgrim

    "Rock-solid principles"?

    Sarah Palin?

    I may never stop laughing at that one.

    Yes, resigning half way through your term because "some people just ride out this lame duck period" but she's too principled for that, she tells us. When in fact it's clear it's to escape criticism and go make money on the book circuit.

    Criticizing comedians for mentioning her children and calling them "off base", and then using them herself at every turn like the recent "death panel" insanity in which she evoked her child, putting him front and center in the controversy, all by herself.

    This is the least principled politician I've ever seen. Ever.

    August 15, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. vic nashville , Tn

    Please leave Palin alone

    She doesn’t know where is Africa so we know who she is

    If she want to run for 2012 let her run then we can have more fun with late night shows

    August 15, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. Dennis, Amarillo Texas

    CNN has a policy to "Your Comments are Moderated (Censored) by CNN, but they haul Begala out everyday to trash public figures without moderation. CNN the State Run NewsMedia!

    August 15, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. Kahuna

    I wonder how Palin reconciles her so-called religious views with her constant lying. How can anyone take her seriously when she has been lying to the American people since she was nominated for the VP spot? Obama wasn't palling around with terrorists. There are no "death panels". God did not "give us energy" as she stated in her resignation speech.

    August 15, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  25. Bryant

    To all the conservative 'whack jobs' out there like Palin... I need to say – GET OVER IT – we won. Go ahead and believe all of the ridiculous propoganda and bs about Health Care Reford – but we WILL pass it. This President wants to help this country – and have some respect for that. Give him a chance. Keep on digging your grave, Republicans. You're already likely out of power for the next 40 years or more.

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