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. Sam

    She's not running. Talk is cheap, except when your Ms. Palin. Then that talk isn't worth the price of admission. Again, she's not running. She'd have to get through that “good ole boy politics as usual" stuff just to get the nomination. Even if she goes independent, she's still got to make it through that gauntlet.

    So McCain, when you found her, she was just the learner, now she is the master, and you're just some old windbag, stuck under her stiletto heel. Now do you see the errors of your ways?

    Just how much longer will the "lame stream" media be kept on a leash for an announcement that will never come? SHE'S NOT RUNNING!!!

    September 3, 2011 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  2. Reggie from LA

    Shake that money maker, Sarah. Keep'm happy and the cash flowin". I simply cannot get over her press relevance, generic rhetoric and peoples willingness to buy her program. If she were to make a dramatic entrance into the race, would TP followers and so-so GOP just fawn all over her after all the foundations laid by the current 3 stooges? That is interesting. Especially since she doesn't possess the "intellectual curiosity of a national leader. Guess that doesn't matter. Anybody but Obama, eh?

    September 3, 2011 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  3. Someone Who Knows Named Joe

    She can get in the race, split to cuckoo teavangelical right vote among herself, Perry & Bachman and then let the two moderate Mormon elitists fight it out, and the winner can choose her or Perry as VP as balance out the party. Huntsman & Perry is probably the best personality ticket to go against Barack. The Dems might switch to Hillary as VP to change the game and make Joe Secretary of State. This should be an interesting week with debate and jobs speech. Barack is best campaigner in the bunch.

    September 3, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. Herbie Walker

    But Ms. Palin, eliminating regulations and corporate taxes are the primary goals of the "crony capitalism" you decry.

    This is primarily why it is difficult to take you seriously.

    September 3, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  5. TAM/otlset

    It was a great speech, and I appreciated her five point plan to turn the country around - and become the great engine of the world's economies once again. And she looked really great - an undervalued asset in my opinion.

    And I was inspired greatly at her reception from the crowd after the speech (I watched it on C-Span - I was amazed they just let the cameras roll for so long while she worked the adoring crowd), as she went down into the happy and smiling fans, and spent about 50 minutes posing for pics, autographing books, hats, posters, getting and giving well-wishes, etc. One doesn't often see a politician do that. Nobody connects with people on a personal level better than Sarah Palin, nobody does this kind of retail politics better.

    This is why she is so threatening to the establishment political crowd in DC, because they know she's beholding to no one and no special interests. She's something they fear - a reformer who will do what she says, and America will benefit. She is a great patriot, and I'm proud to support her.

    September 3, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  6. LMC

    Yes, let's vet Palin's record also: as mayor she left her city in debt, as governor she quit mid-term, since then she's had a reality TV show, had a book ghost written, and made lots of know-it-all speeches. Sure sounds like a viable candidate to me! One problem with "outsider" candidates is that their learning curve is really high and they don't know how to compormise once they get to DC. Is Sarah going to turn down big money ontributions? I sincerely doubt it!

    September 3, 2011 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  7. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Please run Sarah! We love the comedy fodder you provide Bill Maher and Jon Stewart!

    September 3, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  8. Sadie Boyd

    why is the media promoting this hair ball?

    September 3, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  9. 40acres

    Really? She wants to "kill corporate capitalism"? How does that fit with the free market? Is she admitting she is a socialist, or communist or one of those other 'ists that Republicans like to call President Obama? Oh my!

    September 3, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  10. wallybob

    looks like she's getting ready to deliver some pancakes at ihop.

    September 3, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  11. Jonathan

    Does this woman even matter anymore?

    September 3, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  12. gg

    Will the working man's friend and populist outsider Palin be giving up her million dollar contract with Fox, her $100,000+ speaking fees, and her Scottsdale, AZ.mansion any time soon?

    September 3, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. EffortPA

    I bet the 2000 people that came to listen to her were the same 2000 people that went to see her movie. The woman is so stupid that cannot comprehend why you need more support than that to win an election. I really don't think she could win an election in Wasilla if she tried.

    September 3, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  14. Denise

    "....That’s what I want them to do.” ....because she is so ego centric she thinks she can call the shots and direct the GOP like she directs everything at her home. And also it's easy to be an outsider because actually being President would require working and a brain, both of which she has a strong aversion to. The Queen of Crosshairs is leading her Teabaggin' hobbits off a cliff but only AFTER she takes them for their very last dime. What a vile woman.

    September 3, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  15. trainwreck

    shes gonna jab at republicans raising huge war chests, but all she does is deceive folks by pretending shes gonna run when its a game to raise her speakers fees cause she isnt gonna run..

    September 3, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  16. tlmess

    that's right, you go snooki girl.....

    September 3, 2011 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  17. standingwave

    I wish this woman would either announce that she's running or stfu.

    September 3, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  18. Tired of the nonsense

    Can she be positioned outside the United States so we don't have to hear about this hair-brained moron anymore?

    September 3, 2011 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  19. Dee

    Palin spends all her time talking about the President she never liked him from day one. Her son is a military man so the hate that she spews I am quite sure he has the same feeling for the Commander-in-Chief. She never refers to him as President Obama. If she quit as Governor who would take a chance with her as President.

    She is waiting until all of the debates are over before she puts her hat in the ring therefore she will be sort of prepared how smart of her she thinks.

    Complaining about the President will not get her in the office she needs to put her plan out there for the american people.

    September 3, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  20. Dee Smith

    it was quoted in your article and on CNN news that Sarah Palin went after Rick Perry. this is your quote 'But with a flurry of named and unnamed attacks against the president and Texas Gov. Rick Perry", the GOP front-runner"
    Well I just listened to the whole tape. I did not hear her mention Rick Perry or Mitt Romney who are the front runners, who cames from Bain Capitlal you know the one that set up a pac in March and made a $1,000,000,000 donation and than disbanded in june that is what I call croney capitalism. Of course she is against the NAMED president that is her job!

    September 3, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  21. Trud Phuecker

    cat on a tin roof.
    dogs in the pound.
    nothing left to do but smile smile smile

    because she's gone and nothing's gonna bring her back.

    September 3, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  22. lisa

    Just watched the speach.. republicans better watch out she was talking about you just as much as obama... run sarah run...clean house like you did in alaska...all you doubters read her book..she afought and won more battles with her own party than dems... she worked side by side with anyone no matter what party they where from. funny media didnt tel her story they just made up whatever cause hse is 10 times better than obama can ever be.

    September 3, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  23. vwman

    Please run, Sarah.

    September 3, 2011 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  24. Jim

    “You must vet a candidate’s record.”
    Where does quitting fall as a qualification? Where do ethics inquiries?

    September 3, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  25. Al

    Doesn't her criticism of "corporate capitalism" sound socialist?

    September 3, 2011 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
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