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. Ma Deuce

    “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.”
    I wonder what Mrs. Palin will tell her SarahPAC donors when she tells them she blew all the cash on a bus tour vacation of the lower 48. "Please donate more, I'm gonna run now! I swear!"

    September 3, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  2. CaliforniaBC

    Wow...not much diversity in her vocabulary there. Crowny this, crowny that. Her corporate tax rate-close the loopholes "idea" was also put forward by Bill Clinton and is something Obama has eluded to before. I wonder how endearing that would be for her supporters if they knew that.

    In the end, I do really hop Palin her tries to run on her own as an independent. I think she has a high enough level of arrogance to think she'd de well but all she'll do is split the GOP-tea party vote. So please Sarah be the GOP's Ralph Nader and split the hell out of the Right's vote.

    Please run for the sake of the country to keep Obama in office because if anyone from the Right does make into the WH we'll truly see the destruction of our economy and reduction of the US power/influence around the world.

    September 3, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  3. WIMPY38

    Crickets: "churp churp churp"

    September 3, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. geg canada

    me and gramma grizzly have something in common niether one of us knows what she,s talking about

    September 3, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. Don

    My suspicion is that she doesn't think the Tea Party will last much longer, and her oppurtunity to milk them for money is shrinking, which is why she's so busy trying to get their attention now.

    September 3, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. Dee

    Oh Lord, Snookie Palin, your supporters would applaud any screeching rhetoric coming out of your mouth. I watched part of your speech and one woman clapping was missing 2 teeth, and I saw a couple of Confederate flags. Please let these folks know if you are or aren't in the race. Seeing these TEA Bagger rallies makes me feel really sorry for the Republican party.

    September 3, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  7. Carol

    Palin is definitely an outsider mentally!

    September 3, 2011 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  8. PhonyRepubs

    This woman is shameless.
    She can run around our country spewing
    hate and lording over her followers as if she is president

    What a malicious woman who dissed her own, John McCain, the man who started her career.

    Her star is slowly diminishing. Her negative poll numbers are at 96%!!!!!!!!!

    Palin is un American!!!!!!!!

    September 3, 2011 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  9. Aezel

    She certainly is an outsider. She lives outside reality.

    September 3, 2011 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  10. shan

    Sarah should help raise money and stay on the sidelines. It's crazy how much the media hates this women.

    September 3, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  11. Joe Fatala

    Yack, yack, yack. This woman is delusional and becoming more irrelevant every day.

    September 3, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  12. Sean

    Does anyone really take this idiot seriously? First of all, she is a former governor who quit in the middle of her term. Second of all, when is she going to answer some real questions, asked by people other than the Fox news network. Third of all, can anyone seriously see her becoming president. She is such a joke! If Palin is the best you republicans have to offer, you guys are in BIG trouble. Obama 2012

    September 3, 2011 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  13. me

    The wolf in sheep's skin

    September 3, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  14. mngray

    I am a female Democrat IA native and I honestly tried to listen to her today. Her lack of intelligent comment was overridden by her shreaking tone of voice. I seriously tried to listen but I had to switch channels.

    September 3, 2011 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  15. R Texas

    She is not a voice that you should listen to. How can the people who support her not understand that she is in this just for self profit. Listen to her if you can stand it.

    September 3, 2011 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  16. Joshua Ludd

    She is only an "outsider" in the sense that she quit her last political office, and couldn't get elected to anything higher... and in the sense that she isn't actually going to run this time. She just wants more money and more fame.

    September 3, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  17. buymymonkey

    The state of affairs with the politics of this country is shameful. How people like Palin convince anyone to follow them is beyond me.

    September 3, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  18. Schwarzey

    What is an ousider? I'd like that refutiated.

    September 3, 2011 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  19. newmoon2

    Note to Tea Party: Palin is not a candidate, so talking about policy is kind of like flogging a dead horse! It's a waste of effort which will produce no result. If talk is cheap, Sarah is cheaper because she doesn't even have the guts to get in the race.

    September 3, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  20. Ryan

    Still and Idiot and Still not Running. Milkin her supporters for whatever amount of money they can give her. Some things never change.

    September 3, 2011 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. Reed

    That woman is REALLY ugly. And, I mean from the inside out.

    September 3, 2011 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. mj

    "outsider" As in OUTSIDE the human gene pool....

    September 3, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  23. John in Colorado

    I'm still waiting on some specifics she would have to defend. Of course, that is provided this mental lightweight could even communicate them in simple but coherent terms. I kind of doubt it.

    September 3, 2011 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  24. Oldie in TampaBay

    She's still an idiot. Hope she runs, tho! Will assure an Obama re-election:-)

    September 3, 2011 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. Lisa

    I'm sure Sarah Palin is a nice lady, But I don't know if she is looking at the way most Americans view her. Being a public figure doesn't make you qualified to be the President of the United States.

    September 3, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
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