Palin positions herself as populist outsider in Iowa speech
September 3rd, 2011
05:11 PM ET
12 years ago

Palin positions herself as populist outsider in Iowa speech

Indianola, Iowa (CNN) - Sarah Palin took sharp aim at President Barack Obama and at least one of her potential Republican rivals Saturday at a rain-soaked tea party rally in Iowa, the state that will open the GOP nomination fight early next year.

The former Alaska governor, speaking on the third anniversary of the Republican National Convention speech that transformed her into a conservative darling and global celebrity, did not announce a presidential campaign of her own.

But with a flurry of named and unnamed attacks against the president and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the GOP front-runner, Palin aggressively sought to define herself as a populist tea party outsider who would run against “the permanent political class” and “good ole boy politics as usual.”

“The status quo is no longer an option,” she declared to roughly 2,000 admiring supporters, some of whom traveled from as far as San Diego, Dallas and New Orleans for the rally.

Palin urged tea party activists to fight against President Obama and the “special interests” in Washington until “the permanent political class” is thrown out of power.

And for the first time, Palin outlined the makings of a five-point recovery plan for the nation’s flagging economy, albeit in very broad strokes.

Calling it a “pro-working man’s plan,” Palin rattled off a series of familiar and somewhat vague free-market proposals, such as repealing the Obama health care law, rolling back federal regulations, boosting domestic energy production and transferring more spending authority to state capitals.

But for a Republican who has been accused of offering little more than platitudes in the public arena, she did veer into specifics.

Palin, who famously raised taxes on oil industry while governor, proposed eliminating all corporate income taxes, claiming that lost revenue would be balanced out by closing corporate loopholes in the federal tax code.

“This is how we break the back of crony capitalism,” she said, sounding very much like the maverick politician who made a name for herself in Alaska by taking on an entrenched and sometimes corrupt Republican political class that was in cahoots with the oil and gas industry.

It was that theme of “crony capitalism” that led her into a series of barely veiled criticisms of Perry, who would be one of Palin’s most direct rivals in the race if she decides to run.

Palin allies had hinted to reporters before the speech that she would draw a stark contrast between her record and that of Perry, an impressive fund-raiser who has long been criticized by political foes of rewarding his campaign donors and political allies with government contracts and posts.

She did not mention Perry by name, but it was clear who was on her mind when she dressed down the current Republican field and questioned their willingness to return government power to the people.

“Some GOP candidates, they also raise mammoth amounts of cash,” she said. “We need ask them, too: What, if anything, do their donors expect from their investments? We need to know this because our country can’t afford more trillion-dollar thank you notes to campaign backers.”

Palin, who is expected to make a final decision about the race by October, told the crowd, “You must vet a candidate’s record.”

“Our challenge is not just to replace Obama in 2012, but the real challenge is, who and what we will replace him with?” she asked. “Because it’s not enough to just change up the uniform. If we don’t change the team and the game plan, we won’t change the country.”

Speaking briefly to reporters on a rope line after leaving the stage, Palin would not say whether her comments were directed at Perry.

“I want all of our GOP candidates to take the opportunity to kill corporate capitalism that is leading to this cronyism that is killing our economy,” Palin said. “They all have an opportunity to speak out against it. That’s what I want them to do.”

In her speech, she seemed as fed up with her own party as she is with Democrats.

She chided GOP candidates for delivering conservatives rhetoric on the campaign trail but failing to live up to those promises in Washington.

Palin also mocked Republicans who have spoken ill of the tea party movement, namely those who label tea partiers “hobbits.”

That was a jab plainly directed at the man who plucked Palin from obscurity and placed her on the 2008 presidential ticket: Arizona Sen. John McCain, who criticized “tea party hobbits” in a Senate floor speech during the debt ceiling debate.

Thunderstorms moved through Indianola in the hours before the much-anticipated event, organized by a newly formed group called “Tea Party of America,” sending drenched Palin supporters running for cover.

But the rain clouds parted for a time when Palin took the stage, drawing rally-goers out of their cars and back to the event site for the speech. Her speech was organized by a newly formed group called Tea Party of America.

Palin now heads to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, where she will headline a rally sponsored by the Tea Party Express.

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Sarah Palin • Tea Party
soundoff (349 Responses)
  1. Buster000

    With no disrespect, why in the hell are you writing news articles about Sara Palin. There are so many other things worth writing about.

    September 4, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. cindy

    She is not running for anything and stands for NOTHING. This pro working thingy is as big a farce as she is. she is getting money from corporations, spewing the same old hate filled paid for crap on FAUX ,writing fairy tales and getting donations.she is laughing all the way to the bank while all of you who think she speaks for you can take a long walk on a short pier.

    September 4, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. Not Fat

    Run, Sarah, Run! One more Republican nutjob to tip the the GOP over the edge. Nothing will bring the Obama voters out like these teabag extremists.

    September 4, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. T'sah from Virginia

    @DoNotWorry who wrote:

    [If you eliminate all corporate taxes, loopholes don't exist, and revenues are not raised. Did the article misquote or is Sarah Palin on drugs?]

    No, this is not a misquote – this is Sarah speaking. She also wants to END corporate taxes and at the same time, CLOSE loopholes for corporations????????????? Duh, Sarah is a "few" French Fries short in a Happy Meal!!! She makes NO SENSE!

    September 4, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Michael

    She is an outsider. She was so outside that she couldn't even complete 1 term as governor. She's way outside...She is so far outside she can't even see her house.

    September 4, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  6. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    This just in: Palin has suspended her money-grubbing, pseudo-campaign-about-nothing to back to Alaska and pray about something

    September 4, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. witchiepoo

    Since 1982, Palin has received approximately $33,400 total from the State of Alaska, as a dividend from the Alaska Permanent Fund. Her husband, Todd, has also received that amount, for a total of $66,800.

    Add in all the money her 5 children have received from the state (average of $1,100 per year each); that's about another $78,100 more.

    So Palin's family has received about $145,000 from the State of Alaska since the Permanent Fund started paying dividends in 1982.

    So much for Palin's anti-socialism stance and how she's such a "rugged individual."....

    September 4, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. witchiepoo

    I noticed that Palin referenced reforming entitlements, however I didn't hear her weigh in on her family's convenient entitlement from the Indian Health Service, free health care for life for her husband, children, children's children, etc. Paid for through federal funds, not through payroll deductions like the rest of us pay for medicare. IE a real entitlement. Maybe one of you reporters could ask her if she is in favor of scaling back the major entitlement that her family qualifies for?

    September 4, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. EddyL

    FOOL is closer to the truth.

    September 4, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain

    Outsider ... outsider ....

    – Outside the norms of responsible behavior (quit her job as governor; blames everyone for her own mistakes).

    – Outside Christian behavior (participated in a weird "demon-casting" ceremony; smirks when her supporters call for the killing of her political adversaries)

    – Outside the boundaries of ethical behavior (took a State housing allowance while living in her own home; had the State pay for her family's travel expenses)

    – Outside the ability to speak coherent English (word salads; run-on sentences; "refudiate")

    Yep, she's VERY "outside" ...

    September 4, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    "With no disrespect, why in the hell are you writing news articles about Sara Palin. There are so many other things worth writing about."

    I agree and suggest that CNN start a "FactChecker" section to go along with the Ticker stuff. A place on this website where what these idiot politicians and pundits say that are patently false.

    One day of Fox, Limbaugh, Palin, et al would keep the CNN editors busy for a week!

    September 4, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    "What happened to her wedding ring? Going from "momma bear" to cougar??"

    Excellent observation! I thought all these "Christian" type woman were proud of their submission to their hubbies ... Hmmmm .... can hardly wait til Todd releases the secret videos of her screaming the F-bomb at him. Apparently, this happens a lot .... she's going to really P him off and then it'll all be over.

    September 4, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. stike1

    The only position she might and I emphasize might be good at is prone.

    September 4, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. keeth

    an outsider who is a quitter. she can't handle investigations into questionable conduct while gov of alaska. how's she going to be able to handle the heat of the presidency? she can't. quitter. fail.

    September 4, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. Rob

    Outsider? It's more like planet Palin. and yes, It's about as far "outside" as it gets.
    The native language on the other hand is very simple: ME, ME, ME, BLA, BLA, BLA.

    September 4, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. aggie95

    And she needs to REMAIN an Alaska! LOL

    September 4, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. Mike S.

    It's too late Sarah – Michelle Bachman already captured the loony female right wing whack job block of votes.

    September 4, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. Ramon F Herrera

    Mrs. Palin currently has more than 1,000 requests for interviews, but she has a simple rule: The journalist must work in the same building as her, over at Faux news. As a presidential candidate she will be demanding the same rule. She does not want more Katie Couric surprises.

    September 4, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  19. grafyter

    Sarah Palin. Another perfect GOP puppet frontman. George Bush had Dick Cheney controlling his strings to make him dance. Which radically right wing power broker would control Palin?

    September 4, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. Reggie from LA

    Outside the political familiarity is not "outsider" enough. How about outside the boundaries of the U.S. Yes. Approach your rise to supremacy from another continent.

    September 4, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Gemini Girl

    Reading these posts makes me laugh out loud. Posts from SCHWARZEY, RON, TAM, GARY...etc. too funny! Please keep up the good work! Unfortunately, when you think about it, it is pretty sad, that someone like silly $arah has to be even be in our radar, someone who is so delusional that believes her own hype. Someone above wrote that her negatives are 96%. When it reaches 100% then perhaps we can finally be rid of her. She has enough $, why doesn't she just go back to her Wasilla Igloo with her 20-or 30-foot fence, and spare the rest of us so we can go on to more important the economy, the economy, the economy...

    September 4, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. steven harnack

    Did I read that right? If you eliminate corporate income tax what good would it do to eliminate loopholes? NO loopholes are needed if you have ZERO TAX LIABILITY! What a completely idiotic thing to say. What next? We are going to eliminate violent crime by removing all penalties for murder?

    September 4, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Robert

    Advocacy groups (also pressure groups, lobby groups and some interest groups and special interest groups) use various forms of advocacy to influence public opinion and/or policy; they have played and continue to play an important part in the development of political and social systems. Groups vary considerably in size, influence and motive; some have wide ranging long term social purposes, others are focused and are a response to an immediate issue or concern.

    Motives for action may be based on a shared political, faith, moral or commercial position. Groups use varied methods to try to achieve their aims including lobbying, media campaigns, publicity stunts, polls, research and policy briefings. Some groups are supported by powerful business or political interests and exert considerable influence on the political process, others have few such resources.

    If you read this, you'll realize the following: The Tea Party Is A Special Interest Group!

    "Palin urged tea party activists to fight against President Obama and the “special interests” in Washington until “the permanent political class” is thrown out of power. "

    So, not only is the Tea Party now protesting it's own rally, but it's inciting it's group to throw itself out of "the permanent political class" power position it's trying to get itself into!!!

    September 4, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. rafetheratmaster

    I am far left Obama voter (though disappointed that GITMO still open and new wars of aggression etc.) but I do like Palin. I wish her detractors would be a lttle more civil.

    September 4, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
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