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. Sharon Pless

    I know that there will always be difference in personal opions, however, The Tea Party is taking things to far. They want to take the country back? They want to abolish certain constitutional rights? Please understand there are those who will refuse to go back to the days where people feel that they are second class citizens. It won't happen! Sara Palin and The Tea Party can continue on this path of division it just won't work this time.

    September 17, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |

    I just wonder what the price of the Reagan Dinner is and how much money is Sarah pocketing!

    September 17, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  3. bj, texas

    Would love to be there. Go Sarah! Take it to those wacko libs. You'll know what i mean. Just check out the posters with their typical old story one liners. "caribou barbie", "I can see Russia from my house", blah, blah,blah. Sarah, they hate you because you're a threat to them. That's why we love you.

    September 17, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  4. Sam's yer uncle

    I feel embarrassed for Republicans... well, some of them, anyway. It's got to be humiliating to see a complete know-nothing dunce (as well as an obvious grifter) become your party's standard-bearer. It makes the GOP look naive and silly.

    September 17, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  5. Maryland_USA

    Of course, we'll never know how many of her candidates would have won had she not endorsed them.

    September 17, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. Al

    The ability to pick winners in a horse-race does not a president make. It does, however, make her a potential king- or queen-maker and that's just as scary for the GOP.

    September 17, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. chris24

    now, if only, she knew how to speak.

    god help us.

    September 17, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  8. Da Professor

    It is now obvious that good ole Sarah Palin is driving the Republicans nuts! All the expectations of the Repubs re retaking control of the White House and Congress have gone up in smoke.

    Instead, America is now faced with the real possiblility of wing-nuts in the most extreme sense of the word pushing the Repubs out in the cold. Couldn't happen to a nicer group of idiots.

    September 17, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  9. Richard

    Is there anything this woman does that the media doesn't label a "big" move? Palin is an absolute light weight intellectually, couldn't complete her term as a governor, and has some of the worst negative poll numbers around and yet the media just cannot stop themselves from annointing her a political heavy weight. I guess stupidity is easier to cover becuase it provides better one liners and conflict. Covering a president who has worked hard to fulfill his campaign promises against the backdrop of a "party" of Republicans who obstruct everything and an economy struggling as a result of 8 years of Bush-Enomics isnt "sexy" enough I guess. Nevermind the fact that the media is already perpetuating the narrative that the GOP will win everything in November causing a supression of Democratic votes....Its maddening to witness such blissful ignorance...

    September 17, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  10. Tam

    Lord help America! This lowest common denominator of society just doesn't even understand what it takes to run a country, to govern sensibly, to think, to do! How many of them are there out there?! Will the rest of us rise up by voting against them?

    September 17, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  11. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    CNN (a totally owned subsidiary of the Sarah Palin/Faux News Syndicate) has reported that Sarah Palin is doing something predictable and routine and that her slobbering chanting sycophants continue to gaze fondly and with a bit of lust at her while she does it...

    Tin foil hats will be provided at the door to help shield participants from any form or voice of reason.

    September 17, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  12. Florida Joe

    So there are 1000 morons in Iowa that have $1000 to waste to hear moronic dribble.......And this is a BUZZ?

    September 17, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  13. Jerry - Florida

    Go young lady! I am a life-long Democrat but I respect and appreciate all your are trying to do for our country. Can I say the same about the present Democratic administration? Definitely NOT!

    Try and keep President NObama and his "bufons" on their toes and as honest as they possibly can ever be.

    September 17, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. martyd

    Sarah will rock the house in Iowa, you just watch!!!!!!! Terrified DemoRats' heads will be exploding next week......HaHaHa

    September 17, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  15. Mike Moderate


    Name one accomplishment this idiot has done on a national level, except to incite divisiveness.

    yes...I forgot......she can see Russia from Hew Hampshire.

    The thought of this cold hearted b-- running this country just sends chills through me.

    September 17, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. Jeremiah

    Are we supposed to believe that Sarah Palin is the sole reason why "25 of her chosen candidates have won"? Palin, as long as the mainstream political world has been aware of her (less than 3 years), has always sought out the spotlight. She nurses a 'champion of the people' persona with a few edgy soundbites and baseless accusations at the the current administration, some of which are extremely incendiary and inappropriate.

    My biggest problem with Sarah Palin is how selfish she is; she had an obligation to the people of Alaska, and abandoned them to "go rogue" and try to delude enough people into mistaking her personal ambition for a sincere desire to help the American people.

    September 17, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  17. Ed - NH

    I wouldn't vote for this ignorant twit even with a gun pointed to my head. I just can't imagine who these people are that support her.... apparently the US's average IQ has fallen sharply over the years. Scary stuff.

    September 17, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. Good Reason

    Sarah Palin doesn't need to run for office. She can have much more influence as a kingmaker and media personality. I think she sees that.

    September 17, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. john

    where is everyone? i thought the we hate palin bus (cnn) would be here already. we need to start some nasty lies. lets go people rip her up.

    September 17, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  20. once upon a horse

    I saw a guy holding a sign at a Tea Party rally that said "You can't fix STUPID"....seeing the following that folks like Palin, Beck ,Bachmann, Angle, and now O'Donnell have at the moment that is the first time I agreed with something a TP supporter said.

    September 17, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  21. T'SAH from Virginia

    PLEASE run in 2012 Sarah – and select O'Donnell as your running mate!!!

    President Obama will not be beaten in 2012 – Period!! The RepubliCAN'Ts know this so they're going to 'test the waters' with someone they know cannot win!!!

    Whatever the reasons are for putting Sarah Palin in the front – BRING IT ON!!!

    T'SAH from Virginia – the Liberal – is responsible for this message!!

    September 17, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. Riley

    Superstar Palin!!! EVERYTHING SHE DOES IS FOLLOWED BY THE MEDIA. Who would have thought she would have become such a power-player. GOOD FOR HER>

    September 17, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. PaDoc

    “…presidential buzz. Past headliners…” Romney. Huckabee. Thompson. Hmmmm. Does Sarah’s visit portend the visage of another loser? That’d be too bad. I’d love to see her go toe to toe with Obama. The cerebral president vs. the talking head, brainless ursa.

    September 17, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  24. Truth4you10

    Go Sarah Let's put America back in the Win column

    September 17, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  25. John E.Hopkinson

    High School Musical all over again. Sad. Very sad.

    September 17, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
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