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)
  1. Roscoe Chait

    The Palin show is like clown college. Only it's not funny.

    September 17, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  2. Terrence

    I am so in for Sarah to run. If she is the best that the Republican Party can offer then hey why not. This country deserve the our best leaders after all.

    September 17, 2010 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  3. william

    Palin is a radical. She just wants to stir-up trouble and so that her checks keep rolling in. If she was ugly we probably would not know her name. Best thing she could do is go ahead and do a spread for PlayBoy and get back to Alaska.(Please). What scary is that we have people following her.

    September 17, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  4. aneanderthal

    A Palin story!!!! Democrat liberals this is the opportunity to degrade and demean this woman and show your sexist, racist attitudes and ignorance. Go ahead, it fires us up and makes her more of a hero particularly when you cite some of the things she allegedly said that were actually part of the SNL crap. It shows us how absolutely ignorant the NEA and the Democrat liberals are and how the unions are leading their follower by the nose since they can't think for themselves. I am glad you elected Obama, the Hope & Change thing will happen in November thanks to him. He has shown that the theft of an election by an the liberals for an incompetent, inept, corrupt union toady can foster that Hope and Change thing. We should thank him and his followers for showing us how bad things can be when unions take control and bring their corruption in the open.

    September 17, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  5. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    YEE HAW! Yokels paying good money to see Saint Sarah!

    September 17, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  6. L

    Is anyone investigating her contract with Fox. For a paid correspondent, she seems to have plenty of time to bounce around the country to star at political rallies.

    Is this the future for how billionaires like Rupert Murdock buy elections?!

    While it may be all legal - particularly after the latest Supreme Court decisions - it still smells.

    September 17, 2010 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  7. TheSource

    I'm not sure how a woman that doesn't know the difference between a continent and a country can survive in the news this long?

    September 17, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  8. FM

    Let her visit Iowa as much as the wants. But what is she up to...! To initiate her Presidential bid???? If the most intelligent woman on earth (Hillary Clinton) was not able to make it, it doesn't come in my even day dream this half governor can make it!

    September 17, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  9. Bob Dog

    Although we can expect plenty of Circus Clowns in the 2012 presidential race, one more can't hurt.

    "RUN, SARAH, RUN!!"

    September 17, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  10. Canuck

    I don't get it with these Republican women – Palin, O'Donnell etc – its like ignorance and intolerance are seen as worthy attributes? Surely America can do better than this??

    September 17, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  11. Sam

    Never realized there were that many dim wits in Iowa!

    September 17, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. Boo-Yah

    Heaven help the fools that think Ms. Quitter-and-Attn-Hore Palin has anything of importance or substance to say. Enough already.

    September 17, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. rta

    there is something wrong with america when they allow someone of her caliber continue to rant , spew and justify all kinds of extreme opinions that put america in a bad light with the rest of the world.
    there is something wrong with america when they allow someone of her caliber thumb their noses at education, scholars, balance news reporting, to be given a platform to continue to divide people in this country.
    there is something wrong with america when they allow someone of her caliber demean women and men who disagree with her or just flat out lie.
    there is something wrong with america when they allow someone of her caliber get paid and spout hate while so many are below the poverty line and out of work . things may be bad now but people wake up , palin and her crew aren't any good for america, just themselves.

    September 17, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  14. Cindie Worley

    Ms Palin, you are a likeable person for sure. But don't go wasting America's family monies by running for president. If you had completed your governorship in Alaska, you would be a good candidate but since you decided to quit so you could go running around the country making money, give it up. You cannot win. Sorry, but you did this yourself.

    September 17, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  15. Dave

    Please God, make it stop!!!!!! All Palin, all the time. Hearing this woman is like hearing nails on chalkboard. She could care less about you and America. Wake up.

    September 17, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  16. In the West

    She's nothing but an anti-Constitution, anti-American loser who would like to twist our great nation's history for her own self-glorification. Like Beck and most of the current tea-baggers, she has no real knowledge of (or interest in) the founders and their vision for the USA, but simply wants to push the same old tired, failed right-wing fundamentalist agenda that we've seen (and rejected) before. Her whole movement has more in common with Lyndon LaRouche and scientology than with any meaningful political movement.

    September 17, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  17. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If Palin is to speak at the Reagan dinner, make sure she doesn't talk about Reagan's bio because she has proven not to know anything about Reagan, she just makes up stuff. Furthermore, Palin repeats the same old warmed over stuff, you know, the simple stuff she can remember.

    September 17, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  18. shawn

    I have mixed feelings. One one hand, I want this dumb woman to go away and get out of our lives. On the other, I hope she is the Republican nominee. It would be hilarious and Obama would sweep to victory in the biggest landslide since Reagan in 84. Nobody but America's looniest right-wing nutters takes this woman seriously.

    September 17, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  19. CROW

    I quit being Governor and instead will do speeches about responsibility!

    September 17, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  20. Dorkus Maximus

    Riding high because hot air rises.

    September 17, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  21. Blake

    Please do not run. You are not electable. You may be able to win the Republican nomination, but you won't beat Obama. This is not about personalities and person egos. It is about ousting the most dangerous President in American history and advancing a conservative agenda.

    And please do not split the vote and run independent if you don't get the Republican nomination. Same outcome.

    Put your efforts behind promoting one or more conservative candidates that can beat Obama. Embrace your role as kingmaker!

    September 17, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  22. Jimbo (The real one)

    Michael Moore is right. There are 40 million illiterate people in America and that is the base of the Tea Party.

    September 17, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  23. John J, IN

    Please run. Please run. Please run.

    It would be soo incredibly funny to watch!! Will America elect a person to lead it, again, who has less intelligence than your average family pet? Who thought Africa was a country, not a continent? Who couldn't name a single newspaper or magazine she reads to stay current? Who rails on "activist judges" but can't name a single case she considers improperly decided? Who rails on Congress and the President without a single idea on what she would do differently? Who gets hammered even by Fox News for her lack of substance?

    Probably....we elected Bush twice.

    September 17, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  24. Joe

    That woman is not going through all that just to help the Republican Party. She is going to run in 2012 and might win the Republican nomination but probably lose when Obama run for a second term, unless Hillary will get in the picture and win against Obama. Clinton against Palin. Ripley believe it or not, it might happen.

    September 17, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  25. Muffet

    Why is CNN covering this woman when she clearly said she will not make an appearance on any news programs except fox news? Getting her freebies in.

    September 17, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
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