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. Tweety

    Despite polls showing she has few who think she is smart enough to run this country, they will always be able to find her worshipers who find her banter 'charming'

    That is scary, because it shows that are too many who think like this brain dead, verbal vomiting woman does. Super scary.

    How do they not see what the vast majority of us see? Because they think like her and fall for all her folksy BS. Instaed of actully listening to her.
    The sad thing is, she is probaly the bright one in the room when she is surround by her cult.


    September 17, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. Oh My Az

    Riding high is for sure. I have a girl friend close to the Palins who says she's a real Speed Freak ... and She didn't mean quick witted.

    September 17, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. Jilli

    P.T. Barnum was right.

    September 17, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. johnRJ08

    A pathetic opportunistic fraud who gets by with winks and juvenile sarcasm. Iowa can have her.

    September 17, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  5. Dale

    Scary lady. She would take us back to GWB foriegn relations, whim wars and basically giving the world the bird and wondering why people want to blow us up. Most Republicans are flat-out warmongers. But at least some (like Romney) are smart warmongers. There is nothing scarier to me than this vacuous reactionary warmonger Palin with her finger on the nuke button.

    September 17, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  6. Jim James

    Funny thing, Reagan wouldn't have remembered he had a dinner.

    September 17, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  7. Big John

    Now we know there are 1000 morons who haven't seen through this half wit, half term ex governor who will do anything for $$$. As an Alaskans, we're embarrassed by this phoney star wannabe. All she's doing is stirring up hate, violence and and racisism, just the opposite message that needs to be spread.

    September 17, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  8. XWngLady

    Republicans at large cannot possibly be this gullible.....really? I actually thought that even though I disagreed with most of the Republicans' policies that they were for the most part relatively intelligent lot....But now, I have to say that I cannot say that with any confidence at all. What are they paying to see her for? She knows squat. She can't speak intelligently about anything that isn't on her 'hand card' or that she hasn't been coached over and said a gazillion times before. She's an empty suit...with lipstick! C'mon're better than this...

    September 17, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. Todd

    I understand Palin's allure. I also understand how she has a message that is very attractive to conservatives, BUT until she can sit down and articulate her positions and actually defend her positions while taking questions that question those positions, I can't take her seriously.

    I look at some very experienced conservatives being pushed out of the way for tea party anger. I just have to wonder at what cost.

    September 17, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  10. Di

    Why doesn,t someone muzzle this wacko broad.

    September 17, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  11. emmett brown

    It is amazing how the media is pushing a person who is popular with one group of people, did we forget about minorities all together...

    September 17, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. davec.0121

    Oh, CNN - when did you become a shill for Sarah Palin? This piece is so disingenuous and duplicious on so many levels. Firstly - yes, many of the candidates endorsed by Palin won. However, that does not mean that her endorsement was necessarily the reason why they won. Correlation is not causality. Maybe she was just adroit (or lucky) in picking candidates that were already likely to win. And 'larger-than-life' persona? Come now. Churchill had a larger than life persona. Maybe Reagan. But Palin is merely louder and more shamelessly self-promoting than most of the others. Please show a little more objectivity and analysis in the future.

    September 17, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. Howie

    I really hope this moron runs for prez in 2012. That will assure another four years for Mr. Obama!

    September 17, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. beth

    I really wish all of the lunatics she endorsed would have won...

    September 17, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. Joe

    Run Sarah Run. Because if you do, it just proves that the GOP can't offer any leadership for this nation. Most people (citing the recent polling) want a President who understands the complexities of the world better than you do (and I'm concerned about my fellow citizens who want a government based upon the lowest common element of intelligence).

    But, let's be serious. Sarah Palin IS NOT running for President. She's making herself a millionaire several times over and your dumb people who are paying for the speeches, buying the books, etc. are lining her pockets. She's laughing all the way to the bank.

    September 17, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. steven in mo

    I wouldn't walk across the street to see this gold digging bimbo if the tickets were free and the tea party offers nothing but false promises. Both parties has lost touch with the real problems in America and the World. They're more interested fighting between themselves as Dems & GOP than facing up to the challenge of getting U.S. back on track.

    September 17, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  17. Linda G

    I am shocked that people are so dazzled by this woman, as people were prior to Obama's election. She abandoned her elected post. Wake up y'all.

    September 17, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. me me me

    EVIL WITCH hiding behind Christianity...people read the see the new ,vanity fare......very eye opening...shes fake as fake gets!

    September 17, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  19. SayWhat

    Yeah, she's a serious candidate for President. She communicates with the world through her blackberry because of a lack of knowledge of everything except the art of opportunism. The voters of this country would certainly forget that blew off her resposibility as governor because she somehow found herself in a position where people were eager to hear simplistic answers to difficlut issues and lapped up her drivel.

    September 17, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  20. charlie from the North

    Ironic is it not? John McCain spend years developing an imag of a sensible moderate, an "adult" who, even if you didn't agree with him you could respect him. Then he un-leashed Sarah Palin on his party. He should be hoping that his party does not try to un-leash her on the country or he will lose his place in history for sure.

    September 17, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. A. Goodwin

    Dear Lord, please let her run. It would be AWESOME for us Democrats – a sure win!!

    September 17, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  22. JOHN

    so she's in iowa. she has support of 6% of republicans as choice for party she told alaska that she would serve the people as guv. then she quit when going got rough. i sincerely hope she is the nominee of her party. she has the baggage of a train. and those tickets in iowa...30% are from out of state. people in iowa have work to do. we don't have time for a tv diva. have a good weekend folks!

    September 17, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  23. Noname

    Silly Sarah has to make the fools who support her think that she MAY run for that they will continue to contribute money to her. She's gonna break their hearts when they learn she's not gonna run.

    September 17, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  24. Millie (GSO)

    Cannot wait to see her with in some debates and "real live fire" press interviews if she does run and/or is nominated.
    Got my popcorn bowl and DVR all warned up!! Should be some of the best comedy ever aired.

    September 17, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  25. Arthur

    God help us all.

    September 17, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
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