September 17th, 2010
07:59 AM ET
12 years ago

Palin returns to Iowa riding high

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" Political watchers will closely watch Palin's address in Iowa."]Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – Over a 1,000 Republicans have purchased tickets to witness Sarah Palin address the Iowa GOP's Reagan Dinner on Friday - an event rife with 2012 implications that comes at a heady moment for the former Alaska governor.

"We anticipate this will be the largest and best-attended Reagan Dinner in recent memory," Iowa GOP spokeswoman Danielle Plogmann told CNN.

Palin, undeniably the most prominent voice in her party and a commanding figure in the Tea Party movement, is riding high after two of her favored GOP candidates won their Senate primaries on Tuesday, including the longshot insurgent candidate Christine O'Donnell in Delaware.

Of the 36 Republican primaries she waded into this election cycle, 25 of her chosen candidates have won - including Iowa gubernatorial hopeful Terry Branstad, an endorsement that irked some social conservatives who backed Branstad's rival. Eleven of her candidates have come up short.

Now that Palin is rounding out the week with an appearance in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, the political world will be scrutinizing how her larger-than-life persona is received among the voters who will play a crucial role in selecting the party's next presidential nominee.

Though she may drop some hints about her barely-concealed national ambitions and test drive a potential campaign message, the speech will almost certainly focus on the importance of electing Republicans to Congress, state legislatures and governor's mansions in November.

The event, officially billed as "A Salute To Freedom," is a fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party, which is gunning to re-capture the governor's mansion along with majorities in the state Senate and House. Tickets to the Reagan Dinner cost $100 per person, or $1,000 for a table seating ten.

Iowa GOP officials were eyeing Palin for the dinner as early as this spring, and landing the former Alaska governor is something of a coup, in part because Palin has until now largely resisted invitations to appear at state party events.

Like other big fundraising banquets in key nominating states, the Reagan Dinner's featured speaker is often the subject of presidential buzz. Past headliners at the dinner include Mitt Romney, who spoke in 2004, and Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson, who attended in 2007 as their White House campaigns were underway.

But the event has also hosted several leading Republicans who flirted with presidential bids but decided against running, such as former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee and former New York Governor George Pataki.

Palin last visited Iowa in December of 2009, for a book signing as part of her national book tour for "Going Rogue: An American Life."

Filed under: 2010 • Iowa • Sarah Palin
soundoff (152 Responses)

    Sarah Palin and the tea party have such great ideas – but they have no idea how to accomplish them. all talk no substance

    September 17, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  2. Djinn

    If Palin is "the most prominent voice" in the GOP right now they are in sadder shape than anyone has imagined. That means Jim Diment must be a moderate voice calming the masses. Not. Neither.

    September 17, 2010 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  3. Chas in Iowa

    Pretty weak party if the likes of Palin is the shining star.

    September 17, 2010 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  4. Peter

    It is remarkable that a person who had to go to five different colleges over several years in order to get a softball degree, a person who never had political aspirations until she got a taste of adulation from her TV and beauty pageant experience, a person can not answer many of the simplest of questions on government structure and world affairs, someone who never traveled outside the USA until very recently, a person who quit halfway through her only term as governor to sign a big TV and book deal is considered some kind of leader and visionary. This is a truly astonishing phenomena, and will be the subject of many books over the next several years.

    September 17, 2010 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  5. joyce

    We will all ber fooled one way or the other. Either because she isn't as popular as she appears to be or that she is and we all find out she is what most of us think, not smart enough to run any part of the government, especfially be president .

    September 17, 2010 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  6. bailoutsos

    "Big Palin move causes buzz' -- What a misleading headline. I thought it was a dance move Bristol was doing on DWTS.

    September 17, 2010 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  7. Ed L

    The fools and their money are soon parted. You couldn't pay me to watch the boob speak.

    September 17, 2010 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  8. Michael

    Caretakers at Arlington announced this morning that the earth at President Reagan's grave seems disturbed, as if he had been rolling over down there.

    September 17, 2010 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  9. Jeff in Virginia

    Here's Peter Hamby, yet again, falling over himself to gush about Sarah Palin.

    Give it up already. She is a washed up has-been who will never hold an elected office again. To the people that love her, I am sorry that you were duped.

    September 17, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  10. Michael in Houston

    and to the rest of us out here, watching Palin, O'Donnell, Rand Paul, and the tea party is like walking into a circus tent housing the bearded woman and the reptile boy...nothing but a freakshow.

    Rising up in the republican party is a wave of the most dispicable, ridiculous, and smallest minded people I have ever witnessed in my life. Nothing but "pink" faced angry idiots who I am utterly ashamed of. They are an embarrassment to themselves and to the USA.

    The ability of these kind of people to get front and center and assume power is indicative of a Nation and culture that not only has lowered the bar of greatness but have entirely removed it as even a slight threshold. We have allowed the angriest and most self absorbed to take the limelight and the media must take their responsiblity in promoting these snotheads.

    September 17, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |

    Run Sarah! Run! 🙂

    September 17, 2010 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  12. cheryl

    You do not represent me or anyone else I can think of which is a huge group so please keep us out. We women are not on board.

    September 17, 2010 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  13. mjw

    Sarah, we fully support you and all your efforts to return this nation for it's former, strong Christian values and morals. We are pulling for you every step of the way and hope to vote Palin 2012. This nation is in dire need of a pro-Christian, pro-life, pro-business leader that can rescue this country from the downward spiral of ungodiless and moral decay.

    September 17, 2010 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  14. SkiDoc

    America is finally waking up and getting set to take back the country.

    Now even the lamestream media is taking note of Sarah Palin's impact in bringing about the rout that will take place in November.

    You betcha!!!

    September 17, 2010 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  15. Mitch

    A small fraction of voters take part in primaries. Of them, it's fractured further by candidates.

    Voters in Delaware nominate Palin's intellectual equal and suddenly she's thinking of a presidential run? Hmmmmmm, considering 60-70 percent of Americans have negative opinions of this woman, I think she should consider something more challenging than the presidency for her. Telling the truth.

    September 17, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Anyone who thinks Palin is a valid leader is delusional or has a really sinister agenda to use her to connect with the lower IQ "simpletons"(First rule in sales – people will trust and ultimately buy from people they identify with) Fox news loves "simpletons" because they are easy to manipulate and herd into voting blindly. Sarah Palin is a God send to them.

    September 17, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  17. Clwyd

    How total ignorance and stupidity can get so much covered is beyond me. Maybe we have all become stupid listening to this woman's lack of intelligence and a brain?

    September 17, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  18. humanone

    I've just listened to a new report on the radio with clips of Palin talking to her supporters. I'm seriously worried about this woman. She actually sounds like she's doing ecstasy or crystal meth.
    American entertainment at its best. Unfortunately – it's going to take more than the MICKEY MOUSE CLUB to run a country.

    September 17, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  19. Rogelio

    Run Sarah Run LOL

    September 17, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  20. Puff the Magic Dragon

    Why are some Americans still bedazzled by this jerk of a woman? I don’t get the attraction.

    And its scary to think that basically, voting for anyone she endorses is voting for her by proxy…. consider that.

    September 17, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  21. President Ronald Reagan

    I am spinning in my grave. "Freedom" indeed!

    September 17, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  22. lmj

    Palin's campaign slogan: "Show me the money".

    September 17, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  23. Sarah Please............

    "Palin, undeniably the most prominent voice in her party" – And undeniably the most annoying............

    I hope after this screech – I mean speech – that Sarah will finally declare her 15 minutes of fame over with and go back where she belongs – hiding in some grizzley momma bear cave in Alaska where she can watch Russia for us...........

    But somehow, I doubt it. She will continue to annoy until the race is over.

    God help us.........

    September 17, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  24. jwil

    If anyone believes this lady is part of the Tea party movement that Ron Paul started during his run for presidency then you have be both blind and stupid. Palin is just jumping on the band wagon to get votes. It always amazes how people fall for this crap. No one cares to think what her beliefs were before this tea party movement. Keep in mind Ron Paul has always been on the wagon this Palin is just hitching a ride.

    September 17, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  25. Run, Forrest, Run!

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Please run Caribou Barbie, please, please run. We will either find out how truly stupid and vapid the general population is, and you will be president.
    Or, the nation will wake up and realize you aren't even a one trick pony, you don't have the cognitive processing skills it takes to do tricks, but regurgitate talking points and have someone help you instill fear through innuendos and lies.
    Run Caribou Barbie Run!

    September 17, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
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