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. dude

    I wonder how long it took her to memorize corporate capitalism and cronyism.

    September 4, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  2. nowar

    she definitely has a maniacal need for attention. it does not end. she show up anywhere where there may be a camera. just plain weird. i am so surprised that no one close to her has told her what most of the country thinks of her and to tone it down. in a sense, i feel sorry for her in that she is making a historical and everlasting fool of herself.

    September 4, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  3. akchick

    As an Alaskan I'm very embarrassed by Ms. Palin (former governor). Also, as a person who has always focused on special needs people Ms. Palin did not seem to focus those needs. She hurt financial assurance for families with those needs; said she was against socialized medicine yet her family went to Canada for their socialized medical system. She is a cancer to true American society.

    Then when she says something politically all she says is... well... nothing. She's like a yapping dog in need of attention. Just ignore her and maybe she'll go away. Well, not for my local politics but it will get her out of national news. Think about, all which has ever posted is she can't make a decision to run for an office. Who wants an indecisive elected official – those who only ride the fence? I want a person who will make a stand; I'm sick of waffling.

    I didn't vote for her to be governor; like hell I'll vote for her to be president.

    September 4, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. johnson

    I had to think about this again, can you believe that in this country (greatest country in the world) that we even take someone like sarah palin seriously?

    September 4, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  5. JULIA

    Sarah, you need to get your skull reloaded, this time with a brain, PALIN, nothin' more than a corporate prostitute. wokin' to keep the rich richer and the middle class payin' all the taxes and the poor poorer. Unbelievable that the there are so many ignorant people in this racist country that would vote for this nut.

    September 4, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  6. fiscal2020

    Conservatives, do not be fooled by Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, libertarians or Ron Paul. Remember, Ron Paul was a fringe candidate for many years. Do not let the Tea Party infiltrate and take over conservatism.

    After the Tea Party is done cutting liberal priorities, they will go after conservative ones. Look up Ron Paul, godfather of the Tea Party movement's positions. The Tea Party is about spending as little as possible and that includes the military, infrastructure and roads. Remember history conservatives; beating the USSR cost deficits and debt for many years. The Tea Party does not represent conservative interests, just populist redneck idiocy.

    September 4, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. Diana

    "Rogue"...the word she chose to describe herself.

    One of the descriptions of this word is a 'vicious and solitary animal (referring to an elephant).

    It's astonishing how many of these descriptions describe the woman.

    September 4, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  8. chad

    Mama Hypocrite approved of the bank bailouts, took millions from oil companies and redistributed the money (via checks!) to each household in AK. She gladly took federal dollars for lame projects in her state and she favors restricting individual rights (reproductive, religious, sexuality, etc.). The tea parties would be laughing her off the stage if they weren't equally as hypocritical. They would support Hitler as long as he threw in cheap shots at Obama.

    September 4, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  9. scoto

    This annoying woman is neither a holder of a political office or a formal Presidential candidate so CNN, if you have to report her daily antics can you just put them in the "entertainment" section of your website, otherwise all you do is give credence this national embarrassment.

    September 4, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. Marie,San Diego

    Realistically, Huntsman has more to offer than the other repub candidates but I don't think he will get the nomination. SP will definitely complicate the field if she decide to run.
    I'm anxious to hear what CR assessment about SP speech.

    September 4, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. Anthony

    If she does not run she will stay an outsider. Although for our country's sake she should not run, Obama surely can use the help from a Palin campaign. Look like Perry or Romney, both ultimate insiders, will win the Republican nomination.

    September 4, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. James

    I'm not saying that I disagree with the things Palin said. I'm only saying that you can find people just liker her all over America sitting at the bar drinking a beer. They all feel the same frustration and betrayal by our government. The problem is that none of them, the guys around the bar or palin, has a clue how to fix any of it. It's all just talk. I agree there is a problem but palin is not the answer. To put it plainly, she's stupid. She can't grasp ideas that are any more complex than "the round peg goes into the round hole".

    September 4, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  13. MC

    Maybe I'm missing something. But if Palin eliminates all corporate income taxes then what does it matter if she also eliminates corporate loopholes and deductions? Zero tax is zero tax. Corporations can make as much profit as possible and pay no tax. So how does closing loopholes that will no longer be needed to lower corporate income and thus tax burdens help to balance out the revenue loss? Did she not think this through? What am I saying. Of course she didn't. And isn't it the ultimate corporate cronyism to free companies of all tax obligations in a country where they make so much profits. I'm sure the companies would be eternally grateful to her for saving trillions of dollars in taxes over the years. Utterly ridiculous.

    September 4, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  14. erich2112x

    It's just been one long reality show with this lady since 2008 when McCain used her as an 'all in' at the end of the election.

    September 4, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. DENNA

    Outsider. Oh, please. She won't run for president because she has that sure, safe gig at Fox Noise. She can spout off nonsense without being called on it. If she runs, she will face the 'lamestream' media and they will give it to her with both barrels.

    September 4, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  16. strange tea

    I think she's following the Gop Canadaites waiting for someone to pick her up as a running mate.
    She knows there is not enough stupid people in this country to elect her president. I blame CNN for keeping her in the news, they need to let her fade away. I mean she's nothing, she just rides around in a bus making Palin comments.

    September 4, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. Barry from Wisconsin

    Who (except the extreme right wing) cares what she says or what she does?

    September 4, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  18. ZweiStein

    This is one smart lady (tic.) She says she would eliminate corprorate tax. A tax rate of zero. Then she continues by saying she would make up the lost revenue by eliminating any loopholes in the corporate tax structure. What a moron. If there is a zero percent tax, who needs loopholes? Yeah, she's a real financial wizard.

    September 4, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. SiriusVH

    I think I recall a poll saying that only 22% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Barbie Grizzly. Doesn't that suffice to settle this matter? Or do we have to be periodically subjected to this utter nonsense because the media can't find anything more interesting to focus their attention on? Barbie Grizzly is as important to the future of America as B.S. (Britney Spears).

    September 4, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  20. strange tea

    cnn, please put Palin where you have put Ron Paul !

    September 4, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  21. Don

    Let me try to figure this out. She wants to eliminate "crony capitalism" by eliminating corporate taxes and will then fix it by eliminating tax loop holes in the tax code.

    My interpretation more free gifts for the wealthy and more taxes for the working poor and middle class.

    Sounds like a continuation of the same old useless polices of the rest of the same useless republicans.

    September 4, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  22. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Aren't the people who come to these bingo parlors to see her bused in from local senior citizen centers? They are promised some Postum and a slice of pizza if they are good. That would explain cries of "BINGO" every time she tells a lie!

    September 4, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  23. Anonymous

    it"s time! And by devine effect, Obama is being exhonorated unknowniingly by one of the benefactors, like many REPUBLICAN Greedies, of "cronic capitalism", Sarah Palin. Republicans and now TEA PARTY have made Obama the scape-goat of poor economy GOP and their cronies did empowered the corperate greedies to ferment. So many CEO"s and their companies hold on to the only jobs left in America because they want to undermine Obama"s Presidency through the disguise fear of " economic uncertainty" even when Obama pretends not to know their grand design and still sacrifice more to their benefit against the walfare of the middle class for them to release the jobs left for needy Americans.

    September 4, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. kferguson

    Palin told the crowd, “You must vet a candidate’s record.”


    September 4, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  25. TPF

    Palin still doesn't get it, she's irrelevant to anything that is positive or political. She's not who she thinks she is, she is not the person, go home and keep quiet, no one is listening, just laughing, all over the world.

    September 4, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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