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. Michael

    Sarah Palin is the definition of dumb. I cannot imagine the lack of intellectual ability it would take to believe anything that comes out of her mouth.

    September 4, 2011 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  2. JP

    She is all rhetoric and no action kinda person. There is nothing left to cut besides social security and medicare in US congress. And the very people who need the social security and medicare will not approve the cuts in spending clinging to guns, god and gospel. Why do this magnum opus barking ceremony?

    September 4, 2011 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  3. TM

    Since she lacks the courage to enter the race what she says is irrelevant. She was a coward two years ago when she QUIT rather than face charges that she abused and misused her office as Governor, and she is a coward now taking potshots from the safety of the sidelines.

    September 4, 2011 03:47 am at 3:47 am |
  4. Drake in Vancouver

    When is she going to go away?
    She holds no office, isn't a candidate in any, has no job other than capitalizing on her celebrity, is not a member of any organization or charity, HAS NO PURPOSE.

    September 4, 2011 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  5. Airmail56

    Is this the same tea party rally that CNN said she wasn't going to? They ran that story on the front page, and this is buried in the politics section. Bias? We don't see no stinking bias.

    September 4, 2011 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  6. FIELD1stSGT

    This is the woman America needs. She speaks the truth and is strong enough that our Allies will respect us again. The economy will be fixed and Americans will go back to work. There are some people uncapable of being President and we have one with a bunch of jackals as followerers. This is what we have to stop. They heckle and say the same thing over and over again and no one is buying except them. They don't realize they're not enough to put this country right. And they're certainly not smart enough to make it happen. We the Patriots are tired of them trying to remake America. If you can't fixt it then get the heck out of the way. BUT PALIN IS/ANDCAN FIX IT. PALIN 2012

    September 4, 2011 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  7. Bart

    cnn is quick to criticize Sarah Palin. Its probably because cnn is taking a beating from Sarah.
    Obama is for everything and against everything. He changes views based on the day of the week or opinion polls. He must be going crazy with his low ratings. He must realize that most people, other than the unintelligent democrats, will not forgive him for his LIES. cnn will probably follow Obama in his road to ruin. Expousing democratis propaganda is not a good business plan.

    September 4, 2011 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  8. Gary Villani

    President Obama vs. The Seven Dwarves. As a fractured fairy tale, it kinda takes your breath away... Doesn't it? Sarah's self-proclaimed populism pales in comparison to Palin's

    September 4, 2011 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  9. Brian in TX

    I do wish she would go away, however, She is the perfect example of how someone says things and people pick up on it as the truth. Cautionary tail, It was Tina Fey that said "she could see russia from her house", in parody. That now is attributed to Palin. I by no means am a palin fan, I believe her 15 minutes was up along time ago, however, we should always check and search for the truth. No matter how "credible" it seems it may not be true therefore we are heading into the voting booth uninformed and under false beliefs. President Obama and the dems have had the same thing happen to them. So think and research before making off handed conmments.

    September 4, 2011 06:28 am at 6:28 am |

    Snooki Palin wants Bachmann's money and media attention now more than ever. Her hobbits love hanging on her string as they adore Rick Bush.

    September 4, 2011 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  11. Terry

    ....and there will be false profits, claiming to be one of you, and the false profits will lead the weak of mind into the abyss. Conclusion: Sarah Palin is weak of mind.

    September 4, 2011 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  12. Irrma in North Carolina

    Its really a pity that that there are people out there like you and your tea party gang spreading hate and lies. The guy up above will see fit to take of people like you. Your sure have the wool pulled over fox out their campaign and not announcing your run. How long will this go on, till the last debate is over, cause you know could never get through a debate because you would be mince meat.

    September 4, 2011 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  13. Gary Villani

    Why is everything in America plagued with dysfunction...including CNN's website "comment on the commentary" apparatus? I try to post some thoughtful relevance and what happens? The cursor disappears mid-jab at Palin's sagging tea-bagging! *Argghhh!*
    Look... Here's the deal... We have a guy in the White House already who can and has been a thoughtful tactician/leader behind the scenes in these–some of our nations most perilous times. His efforts at exacting meaningful legislative change, however, are often thwarted by the very thing Gov Palin is prattling about: Capital Hill cronyism. It's high time we, the people who are sick o' this Congress, wage war with what passes as our country's leadership in the interest of our own wages! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Palin walked away from her job as Alaska's governor so she could...what? Save the world with her vapid platitudes? Well gee whiz n good golly Miss Molly... I'm still hoping to here some thoughts from the GOP that demonstrate a true awareness of the critical times we're living in. So far, it's all capering and wall papering. Little style and even less substance is no way to pull out of a Depression!

    September 4, 2011 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  14. Ain't life strange?

    Oh my... we're mot in Kansas anymore. I fear for my future...

    September 4, 2011 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  15. JWW28625

    Why is it that no one including the news media can see what this lady is doing yet? She's figured out how to use the political system to make millions and millions of dollars doing nothing more than show up at county fairs and conventions and giving a cornball speech about her view of Russia and what a loser that President Obama is. It's as simple as that. She acts like she's running for president and these right wing Obama hating brown shirts keep her coffers full which she dips into by setting up a corporation or PAC that she can pay herself and her aides hugh salaries. And when it's all over, well who gets to keep the money? Huh? Good work if you can get it, don't you think?

    September 4, 2011 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  16. zb

    "crony captialisim"? Is that like giving billions and billions of dollars to corporations by eliminating all taxs and regulation as in what Palin and the rest of the republican/tparty lunatics plan to do.

    September 4, 2011 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  17. MrManhattan

    Since her husband is a separatist (aka traitor) I guess "outsider" is the best she could do.

    Of course if we sold Alaska back to the Russians (assuming they would buy it), we could make Sarah a TRUE "Outsider" !!!

    September 4, 2011 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  18. pablo

    She is an outsider alright, outside reality. Like most politicians thought, she says enough that eventually she does say some things that I agree with. For example, "kill corporate capitalism that is leading to the cronyism that is killing our economy." Bailouts and CEO salaries are examples of this.

    September 4, 2011 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  19. Wow

    Is it just me, or has Sarah aged twice as much as Barack over the last three years?

    And to think, Barack is actually doing the job he was elected for, and not quitting halfway through!!

    September 4, 2011 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  20. SixDegrees

    Why does the media continue to give this moron coverage? She's not running for anything; her pronouncements mean nothing. Apparently, she has now reached the status of being famous simply because she is famous.

    September 4, 2011 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  21. TWALSH4440

    GOP Smart and O SO Sexy candidates

    September 4, 2011 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  22. Brad

    She'll have credibility when she can say she never quit an elected position...

    September 4, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  23. SiriusVH

    I note that Barbie Grizzly now sports a different hairstyle. It seems as though she has switched to a 'I am one of you' uncoiffed style, instead of the 'executive' look she had when she joined the McCain ticket. It probably reflects in part the fact that she now has only the dumbest of Americans in her sight. They probably feel at ease with her; she is one of them, both literally and pschologically.

    September 4, 2011 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  24. Blame Will Not Work

    All you narcistic "Palin Haters" are learning everyday that all your "destroy Sarah" tatics have backfired! don't you realize by now thatbwhoever wins the GOP election WILL beat Obambi in 2012? Why at this juncture Caylee Anthony would whip ass Obambi..........blame is his ONLY platform!

    September 4, 2011 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  25. wgf

    Just another millionaire populist telling us how she is one of the people.... ka-ching !!!

    September 4, 2011 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
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