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. Hitobito

    Its better to be a "hobbitt" than an idiot like Sarah Palin. This empty-headed bimbo needs to return to her trailer park in Wasilla. She has no viable qualifications for any political job.

    September 3, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Mark Montgomery

    Sarah Palin has been totally discredited by quitting the Alaskan governor's position. She's as scatterbrained as the rest of the tea baggers. Andre Carson was right when he said that the tea baggers want to see blacks hanging from trees. Andre Carson is not exaggerating and he should not apologize to the tea party no matter what the fallout. The tea party is our present day KKK, populated by rich, white racists who despise minorities, Muslims, immigrants, the middle class and the poor and we have to fight them like the cancer that they are. Eric Cantor is a real clown: suggesting that FEMA funding be held up until budget savings elsewhere can be found. These tea party morons have no qualms about sinking the US government. They are a terrorist organization and should be investigated by the FBI for advocating the overthrow of the USA. Mark Montgomery NYC, NY

    September 3, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. nintex

    How long did it take someone to write that speech for her, to come up with those ideas? She still doesn't come across as having a grasp on how to run the country. BTW, not an attractive picture, Sarah. And where's your wedding ring?

    September 3, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. bill

    So Sarah Palin did a rehash of the same speech she's been paid to give dozens of times, in front of a crowd smaller than the number of people at my local farmers market this morning, and this is NEWS? Pathetic.

    September 3, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    Any trick to get more $$$$$$$$$$

    September 3, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  6. 1500 - what an amazingly tiny crowd for CNN to cover this grifter

    Perry/Palin 2012: Vote for complete incompetence in government

    September 3, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  7. Richardf

    I say give her what seems to be her wish. She wants to be an outsider and deride the political parties. Let her run on her own.

    September 3, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. Manuel

    She wants the "GOP candidates to take the opportunity to kill corporate capitalism that is ... cronyism..." Huh? They ARE corporate-crony capitalism. Global warming is proven ever time this lady opens her mouth. Hot air comes rushing out. Call out the EPA!

    September 3, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. Bob T

    Any country that has a large number of its citizens supporting someone like Sarah Palin does not deserve to be the leader of the free world. We clearly lack an informed electorate.

    September 3, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  10. truthman

    "I think the next election just got a lot easier for President Obama 'cause his response to every question during the debates will be: 'Wait, I forget…Did you kill Osama Bin Laden? Or did I kill Osama Bin Laden. Oh no, it was me, wasn't it?'" –Craig Ferguson

    September 3, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. CNN watcher

    She positioned herself as an idiot.

    September 3, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  12. T'sah from Virginia

    “…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 KEY here is “outsider” and “permanent political class” – something Palin knows NOTHING about because she QUIT when the going got tough!! What does she know about “permanent?” And as far as being an “outsider” – she’s outside alright – outside of her state and roaming around the lower 48 trying to be relevant!! It's too bad she is still on that bridge to NOWHERE!

    September 3, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. besmart58

    Sarah is saying the same thing as the rest of the Republicans, she is just trying to make her opinion sound new and different. Why do people buy into this behavior? In fact ALL of the republicans have the exact same message.

    September 3, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. Paul

    They realy should begin to use a spell checker. What's an ousider?

    September 3, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  15. Larry King

    This is an absolutely spectacular development!! Sarah Palin attacking Rick Perry is the world's best case scenerio.

    Run, Sarah, Run!! America needs you!

    September 3, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. Johnny Walker

    Nothing beats cashing in on the ignorant . Dumb on dumbmers.

    September 3, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. thomas

    Wow ,
    I thought she would be a Perry fan , they both look good in rhinestone outfits !

    Together they would have broke through the glass ceiling , unfortunately by burning the house down .

    September 3, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  18. JJ

    You cannot "position" yourself to be an outsider when that's the only choice you have. Palin could never be anything other than an outsider.

    September 3, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |

    They actually listen to this idiot. She did not write that speech. Her people did. Reminds me of pinky and the brain. Guess who i think is pinky?

    September 3, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  20. yu

    Go Palin. We wait on u for 2012. I love that lady

    September 3, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. Dixie

    If she's going to run, why doesn't she quit the political jockeying and declare herself? Is she waiting until all primary debates are over so as not to embarrass herself? Or is it more fun to criticize from the outside? Lots of questions.

    September 3, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  22. Dean Blythe

    She going to eliminate corporate income taxes, and offset the lost revenue by closing corporate tax loopholes. Loopholes are what permit corporations to reduce or eliminate income, thereby reducing taxes on that income. So who cares about loopholes if there is no corporate income tax! I guess we just fail to see the genius in this no-brained, petty, simple, snarky waste of space.

    September 3, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    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-government stance and how she's such a "rugged individual."

    September 3, 2011 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  24. Kingfisher

    Just what we need, more hopey-changey stuff. What a maverick! Let me know how that works out for ya.

    September 3, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. Voiceinthewind

    This explains alot she is not only an outside she is an Alien and that is why she does not understand some of the idiotic things she says most of the time, Please send her back to whatever planet she came from and don't give her a return ticket and please let her take her clan and her followers with her. We need Americans that believe in America and its people, not aliens who want to undermine America and its people for thier own gain.

    September 3, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
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