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. EastCoastMike

    Is "Populist Outsider" the polite way to say "empty headed moron"?

    September 4, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  2. Bluto

    outsider is right...outside the realm of reality and crazy. these people that follow her amaze me as well. just goes to show how insanity can be contagious.

    September 4, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. GI Joe

    I saw a wide shot of the area of her speech - WOW there must have been tens of people there.

    Not any more than 150 or 200 MAXIMUM. WOW

    September 4, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. Angel

    President Palin or President Perry? We would be the laughingstock of the world.

    September 4, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. Russ

    I love it, they're going to kill off each other. The remaining candidate will be so far to the right that the country won't accept him/her. Look forward to Obama for another four years.

    September 4, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. cecilia

    could she please position as gone

    September 4, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. ED FL

    OUTSIDER,HMMMMM.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What else could you expect to be when you know her past,Present and more than Likely her future.

    September 4, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |

    Sarah Palin has offered ( oil ) something that wasn't hers to begin with...and that is a thief...then murders the Commish of Revenue...and so far as children? Palin had the Palmer DA NOT prosecute a child DNA got his brother...and Todd was a favorite customer of his pot growing operation...somethings never change...and she never will...GREED/HATE
    equals a nutbag...mentally ill Sarah Palin is...someone get her some lithium...

    September 4, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  9. GSW Minnesota

    Can our politics become an even bigger joke internationally? The teapubs offer up candidates like Perry, Bachmann, and Palin, and they have tens of millions of supporters! I am embarrassed. Also, could someone ask Ms. Vetted Quitter Pailin how eliminating all taxes on corporations and then offsetting those revenue losses by generating revenue by closing the corporate tax loopholes would work? I'm no economics whiz, but something seems amiss there!

    September 4, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  10. Russ

    Whoever survives is going to split the Republican party. They will have to go against a very energized and united Democratic party with an incumbent President. I believe Obama will come out on top. Especially when people learn that their benefits will be cut under a Republican administration and 49% receive some form of direct payment from the government.

    September 4, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. RickM

    IT is obvious to me that none of you actually saw the speech and are going by what this idiots review, she was'nt talking about perrt directly, he may be one of the "cronnies, and not just the GOP" but ALL ,of congress and political pundits
    Who benifitted by the bail out? you? me? NO! wall st, and the banks! Fannie and Freddie mac ! How about if they would have assisted those who were going into foreclosure instead, the banks would have gotten their money wall st would have gotten their money we would have gotten our loans ajuted to where we could afford them and we would'nt BE in this mess!!!!

    September 4, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. Aeromechanic

    No corporate income taxes? Now that the right wing, anti-labor Supreme Court said that corporations are people that would make things interesting.

    That would bankrupt the country. You'd have millions of people out there all jockeying for a way to incorporate so they wouldn't have to pay taxes.

    Nice work Teahaddists.

    September 4, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  13. Carol

    I just read that S & P has downgraded Iowa's IQ.

    September 4, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  14. EmDub

    AH HA! FINALLY we know why she quit her term as governor– so she could claim herself to be a political outsider!

    September 4, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  15. Martin

    I noticed in the picture accompanying this story, the idiot is not wearing her wedding ring. Has poor old Todd abandoned the circus?

    September 4, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  16. newmoon2

    This woman's need for attention has reached the level of a mental illness! She's abandoned her job, abandoned her children, will do/say ANYTHING to get attention and yet it's never enough. She is both sick and sickening to watch.

    September 4, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. Palin Power

    BEHOLD our next and greatest President Sarah Palin. She is the REAL CHANGE and HOPE that we need. She is the REAL MESSIAH and SAVIOR of this country. President Palin will completely root out and purge all the crony corporate corruption out of our government and restore the sanctity of the republic back to the people. Palin will completely fix our economy with Palinomics and drive unemployment down to ZERO. We will have 8 great and glorious years of President Sarah Palin. She will bring and deliver us to the Promised Palin Land and become the Palination.

    September 4, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. Observer

    “pro-working man’s plan”

    - from someone who quit her job

    September 4, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. Anonymous

    I'm tired of her.
    You quit as a governor of Alaska
    You were given a chance as VP and you lost

    You keep bashing Obama, if you can do better job than RUN off office otherwise s SHUTUP

    September 4, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. Maine LIberal

    Sarah i like it.. keep going back and outside even further. maybe you will go so far outside that you will not be seen of again. BTW this is labor day weekend, union made.

    stimulus projects for union bosses’ security and green energy giveaways.

    I must be one of those green enerrgy "cronies": i put up a solar hotwater system on my house. I received the tax credit not the company/installer. I saved 800 gallons of drill baby drill and arab countries that hate us oil.

    September 4, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  21. Maine LIberal

    No corporate income tax ??? we have close to that now .. where are the Jobs ... bangalor india.
    Michele Bachmann wants to end minimum wage .. these are pro-labor working class proposals ?

    September 4, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  22. Reed

    Currently, this buffoon would muster about as many votes, out of the electorate, as you could fill seats in a Nascar race track. But, after being forced to debate live, that number would go down to about as many people as you could fit in a large trailer park.

    September 4, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. dude

    "she will run against the permanent political class". Excuse me... but is she NOT a permanent politician? Mayor, governor, candidate for v.p, .permanent non-pres. candidate. What a bag o'shite!

    September 4, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  24. The Choobs

    Prediction: Palin will run as an Independent; she will do so hoping to either win outright OR send the race tot he House of Reps, where the Republican will win (which she prefers to another Obama election, of course). However, she will merely split the right and scare the center, and Obama will win.

    September 4, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. Alex

    This woman is an idiot, but a dangerous idiot.
    Agree Perry/Palin worst political combination in US history.

    September 4, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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