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. ThinkAgain

    If by "outsider," she means someone who's husband belonged to the Alaska Independence Party that wants to secede from the United States, then I guess she qualifies.

    September 3, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. Scott

    I hope Palin does run just to shake things up. Frankly, I'm not sure what John McCain ever saw in her. I don't see her as serious. I also don't like Bachmann. It is not like either one of them is Nikki Haley.

    September 3, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  3. Robyn H

    Ah, Sarah Palin, the ultimate political outsider.

    Mayor, Governor, Vice Presidential candidate, vetted by the Republican old boys network.
    Of course, any difficult tricks are probably beyond this show dog.
    But, she can be reliably counted on to sit, stay, jump, roll over, and play dead on command.

    Just have her hold still while we pin this "mavericky" label to her collar and she'll be ready to go out and impress all the ignorant rubes.

    See, just like McCain. You hit'em on the nose with a rolled up right-wing newspaper a few times and they settle down and learn to play the game just fine.

    September 3, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. MiddleOfTheRoad

    That's right Palin. Keep it focused on you, and keep the fringe angry. We know you won't trade this gig for any responsibility. You are too superficial and too much of a coward to enter the race.

    September 3, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. cory

    Yet another crackpot talking about things she already knows she can't change or accomplish. So she fills an iowa rally with people from San Diego and Dallas? So basically speaking she has groupies like a rock band. Its time americans stand up and admit its not the people in the system but the system itself that's broken. To many hands in the cookie jar and they don't even leave the crumbs for the everyday american. Its sad but true.

    September 3, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  6. Chrisg510

    Palin's job in the tea party/GOP is to be more extreme and crazy than the GOP candidates. LOL

    September 3, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  7. jen

    what a moron!

    September 3, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  8. ptown

    Cnn please stop giving her attention. She's a reality TV loser. CNN ur losing ur credibility

    September 3, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. Tam

    She's so outside, she's on a different planet! And should stay there.

    September 3, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  10. Ron

    What happened to her wedding ring? Going from "momma bear" to cougar??

    September 3, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. Susan

    I'm sure I'm missing something simple but if all corporate income taxes are eliminated then what would be the need to close corporate tax loopholes in the federal tax code?

    September 3, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. lucerot

    Please please please Sarah join the race. Game over, Obama is reelected.

    September 3, 2011 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  13. Ron

    "...our country can’t afford more trillion-dollar thank you notes to campaign backers." Never thought I would see the day when I agree with Sarah Palin on anything. This is just a soundbite but for once, she's right on. I'd like to hear an honest response from both Republicans and Democrats on this one. In some countries, a politician is handed an envelope with cash. In this country, big money and corporate interests contribute massive amounts to campaigns. Either way, it's a bribe.

    September 3, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  14. Eiolgj

    OK, fine, but where are the positive positions and the plans? Anybody, including any reader or listener, can criticize. That doesn't take any special talent.

    September 3, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    God was trying to tell the tea baggers to go home, but they did not get the message.

    September 3, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  16. once upon a horse

    Sarah Palin "dissing" President Obama is old news, she's bneen doing that since day one and FoxNews pays her very well to do it so it's gotten tiresome to many other than her rabid fans. BUT.....if she can somehow coax her Tea Party mooneyed follwers that Rick Perry is not all that he appears to be and they fall out of love with him, that just might be helping Obama and she doesn't know it. I still figure that Obama may not need to go after Rick Perry and the GOP 2012ers will do just that for him.... Bachmann has already done her part.

    September 3, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Perry's 'crony capitalism' is akin to the 'republican culture of corruption.'

    September 3, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  18. Martin

    This woman pretty much founded what is laughingly called a political career on the backs of the Tea Party, and now she wants to be known as a "Tea Party outsider"?

    She's alienating her largest base of support with this sort of talk.

    The Tea Party candidates in Congress have been amongst the hardest Republicans to work with in the history of Washington. Very little compromise, not willing to bend on any issue at all.

    September 3, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  19. Davis Todd

    Simpleton. Why bother closing all the corporate tax loopholes if you're going to eliminate all corporate taxes. Closing them won't recoup any money you dolt. They wont be paying corporate taxes, YOU ARE GONNA ELIMINATE THEM.

    September 3, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. DoNotWorry

    If you eliminate all corporate taxes, loopholes don't exist, and revenues are not raised. Did the article misquote or is Sarah Palin on drugs? Remember that every dollar spent by a corporation is already deductible. Every dollar. Including dollars used to bribe government officials, pay legal fees to get off after breaking laws, corporate jets, and $3 million monthly exec salaries. Tax deductible. The amount left... is frequently not taxed anyway. I know corporations suffer from all this government regulation.

    September 3, 2011 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  21. love this country

    She still an idiot.

    September 3, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  22. ngc1300

    If corporations pay no taxes, how exactly will closing corporate loopholes in the federal tax codes generate revenue?

    September 3, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. OU812IC

    You must vet a candidate’s record She State's
    Gee Sarah if you actually run You are in for deep deep doo doo
    But then again she has done a very good job hiding and erasing much of her record

    September 3, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  24. Rachel

    She's not qualified to run, but I hope she does. Then she can tear up the Repulican party even more.

    September 3, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  25. clarke

    The clouds parted when Palin took the stage. Is that like parting the red sea. Come on, get real here.

    September 3, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
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