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. shawn

    I'm not really sure what she is still a topic or what she is running for!?!? There is no way she'll thrown in her hat, right? Is she just doing promo for her next book and/or reality show to keep in the limelight?

    How did this broad become important to America?

    September 4, 2011 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  2. EffortPA

    Palin is getting paid by Fox News not to run. Fox News wants Obama out of office and they realize that Sarah is unelectable, so they made a deal with her. The deal involves lots of money as long as she doesn’t run. She can pretend all she wants to, but she cannot actually run. That is the deal. She loves the attention, so she keeps teasing, but she knows she can't actually run. The part that Fox News does not understand, is that the more she is on the news, the more she speaks, and the more she endorses a particular candidate, the more likely people are to vote for somebody else. There is no doubt that Sarah energizes and motivates people, the problem is that she does that to the other side more than her own. Just look at what happened to Joe Miller in Alaska. I don't think anybody can argue that the personal vendetta that Sarah has for Lisa Murkowski is what motivated Lisa to run as a write-in candidate, without Lisa, Joe would have undoubtedly won. So, Sarah indeed cost Joe Miller the election. I predict the same is going to happen to whoever she endorses for President.

    September 4, 2011 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  3. Mike Hou

    Perry can deliver the goods. I don't think Sarah can.

    September 4, 2011 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  4. John

    This is about as newsworthy as "Palin family seeks new way to make a buck." Yawn. Just get back on the bus and hang it up, Sarah. Take your platitudes with you.

    September 4, 2011 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  5. Robin Bray

    Outsider, as not from this planet. And yet CNN gives her millions of dollars worth of free coverage and she represents no one. Not news, just CNN selling advertising like any run of the mill tabloid.

    September 4, 2011 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  6. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Wow what new fresh ideas! She want to kill capitalism.Michelle Bachmann and Christine O'Donnell both did their best to ruin the event. Bachmann prayed to God for a miracle storm to smite the event, while O'Donnell conjoured spells with thunder and lightning in the background. Yep folks, these are the three women that these idiot Republicans think can be the leader of the free world. Once again Palin conjoured up the same old Republican talking points, but now the tactic is to call the "new" !!

    September 4, 2011 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  7. bjohnson

    “Palin proposed eliminating all corporate income taxes, claiming that lost revenue would be balanced out by closing corporate loopholes in the federal tax code.”
    Isn’t that the same as not charging people to eat at your restaurant and planning to make up the loss of revenue by eliminating the discount for senior citizens?

    September 4, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  8. guy from Nm

    A socialist! she is a socialist I tell ya

    September 4, 2011 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  9. Ed

    Please don't run you will not win and if by some chance you did you wouldn't beat Obama.

    We need someone who can beat Obama and you are not the person who could.

    September 4, 2011 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  10. Terry Gloege

    Oh now Mr. Hamby!!!! Did you miss the line where she said something like – you don't have to have a title to influence change – or words to that effect. This woman is making far too much money far too easily to give it up for a real job. She already tried that once and couldn't hack it, don't you remember?? Hint..Alaska..Governor.. She may not have a clue about a lot of things but making money ain't one of them.

    September 4, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  11. grizzly

    Sarah, go work for playboy and become a centerfold or may be porn. That is what you shopuld do based on your level of education and good looks. You have no place in politics which you prooved witrhout a doubt in Alaska, You are a quitter and a fortune seeker. Porn pays well so go for it become rich and stay in the woods of Alaska. You are an insult to any American with half a brain and that is about 95% of Americans. Go away to some other country before you end up being those who have something to say with meaning. Shame on you for missleading those farm people who do not know any better than listening to your nonsense. Not one good idea in your speech but only critizism. You are a red neck with a KU Klux Kahn hood.

    September 4, 2011 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  12. Jan in TX

    Never thought I would agree with Palin on anything, but she is absolutely right about Rick Perry being a crony capitalist. Sounds like Palin may be getting ready to make a run for the presidency as a third party candidate on a Tea Party of America ticket. That would be the best thing that could happen for Obama.

    September 4, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  13. minoriabc

    I don’t understand why she gets all the media attention. She is part of the problem and has caused all the republican candidates to lean so far to the right they re about to fall over.The problem with the Tea Party and Far Right of the Republican Party is they are all hypocrites. They say the want to balance the budget but what they really want to do is shrink government at all cost. They do not understand the economy and have made promises that they can not keep if they truly want to take care of the deficit. We should not elect any politicians that make pledges that tie their hands and stop them from doing what is right. It is tough for any politician to get anything done the way things are in Washington. There are too many people yelling and not enough people listening. When the politicians go home they meet with their base and sit in an echo chamber that only reinforces what they have been doing. We will never get the politicians to work together unless we force them to. If you want to be part of the solution check out the pledge at . If we all sign the citizen pledge, it will force the politicians to sign the politician pledge and we the people will get the country back on the right track by forcing both sides to come together

    September 4, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  14. susan mrzena

    Watching the cars leave Indianola yesterday after Palins speech, I was surprised that 4 out of 5 cars were from out of the state of Iowa. It was a small crowd considering the news coverage.

    September 4, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  15. Isaac

    She's outside alright. Outside the realm of intelligence.

    September 4, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  16. FIELD1stSGT

    I have never seen so many people who have a blind ambition to prove what simpletons they are. They say such things as Sarah quit the Gov's Office. Yes, she did and I admire her for it. If you remember Obama's DNC brought false charges againset her leaving her with no alternative but to hire lawyers and quit the Govenors job because it was the honorable thing to do. This Obama does not understand. he destroyed the U.S. is the first seven mo0nths by spending 7 trillion dollars we didn't have then he still hangs on to spend more. he has no clue to fix the economy for

    September 4, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  17. PaulC

    Why does CNN find it necessary to post every noise emanating from this self anointed windbag?

    September 4, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  18. joyce

    All Paiin is raising money for is her own bank account.

    September 4, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  19. FIELD1stSGT

    Why are you liberals that support Obama so determined to show what simpletons you are? You keep saying she is a quitter. Do you really not understand why she had to step aside. Obama and his DNC brought false charges against her to stop her and McCain. I admire her for stepping aside so someone else could devote their time she didn't have to run Alaska. She had to hire lawyers and fight in court against the drummed up charges. In the meantime when Obama was elected he destroyed the U.S. in the first seven months of his office by getting rid of over 4 trillion dollars in stimulas. Money America didn't have so he borrowed it from China of all nations. The result was a destroyed economy, disrespect from the world and especially our allies. hH embarrassed us by kissing the hand of a Muslim Leader who is our enemy. Unpatriotic pig willo not salute the flag and the National Antheum proving he is a Muslim. Notice how he did not wear jewelery even his wedding ring during the Muslim (Rum-aDum)). Get real folks. Sarah Palin is the real deal and the woman to put America right. All this simpleton remarks from the Obama look-alikes are stupid misguided lies. They know it or if they don't they're just proving they really are dumb butts.

    September 4, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. Marie,San Diego

    Seriously, I can't believe this character still out there pandering for her own brand. Granted she will get the nomination, believe me this will make BO supporters breath easier.
    Btw, I thought the latest poll indicated that 72% of decent repubs doesn't want SP as the nominee.

    September 4, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  21. malabar

    Awesome. typical liberal prejudice toward Palin and like minded people. you can try to stop any debate frm even starting by labeling conservatives as crazy and uneducated, but that game is so tired that everybody expects just that to spew frm your rabid mouth. and i see that for some folks today is opposite day regarding how certain they are that people vote for the opponent of the candidate she endorses. you can cherry pick all you want, but the proof is out there and on record about how many winners she backed in 2010 vs Obama. try harder, and something new at least. even Ozombies must bore of their relentless use of failed tactics, never discuss policy, simply smear, threaten, and attempt to delegitimize. all EPIC fails

    September 4, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  22. Katy

    Palin is not electable. If Palin were fat and ugly, she would be long gone. What a sad fact and an indictment of how far down the tubes America has fallen.

    September 4, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  23. Comrade Palin

    She is no Socialist. She is Statist and Communist. What else can you call levying a $6 Billion windfall tax on private oil companies and distributing is evenly, without discrimination, to every single Alaskan, as a $1,200 payment on the top of the $2,000 that every Alaskan got as a share from the "oil-wealth savings account" (The Seattle Times, August 10, 2008)?

    September 4, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  24. carly

    Enough from this twit. The only one she cares about is herself (and her bank account). Wake up America Palin is taking you for a ride and she is laughing all the way to the bank. She doesn't care about you, your family, your jobs or anything else she talks about.

    September 4, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  25. DMR

    Palin positions herself as an outsider??? Outside to what...the human race?

    Palin is out for one person only, herself. She is clearly clueless of her community, state, nation and world. She says things that do nothing more than encourage the small minority of Tea Party supporters that will pay to see or hear her.

    I truly want her to run for President on the GOP ticket. That would assure the GOP would not see the White House again for at least 50 years. A ticket of her and Bachman would be even better, the GOP would likely implode. The more GOP \ Tea Party types speak out the more foolish they look.

    Sarah, please run. Talk without notes at every chance your get. Same for Bachman, Perry, Paul, etc. Let the people see what you really are....clueless!

    September 4, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
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