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. Alacnn

    This so uneducated person, hardly competent to any job has the nerve to critize a president? Give us a break. Every time she speak, she stuff her foot in her mouth. she shame all women, she shame all christian.

    September 3, 2011 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    I hope mccain has well deserved nightmares about his legacy which will be of bringing forth this evil woman unto the world. She wouldn't be the celebrity she is if it hadn't been for him.
    CBS had a piece on her but, as always, we muted whatever she was babbling about. The commentators did mention that she brought up not vetting. If anyone has ever prostituted herself by not being properly vetter she only needs to look in the mirror.
    Too bad she only does faux news and no interviews because I would love for anyone to ask her what "cronyism " means. It seems that she has a better speech writer though.

    September 3, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  3. RKN

    She wants to "...kill corporate capitalism"? is she a communist now?
    What does she mean?
    And yet people still cheer her on and do not have any idea what she is saying. It is no more than a cult of personality.
    Does this remind anyone of Germany in the 1930's?

    September 3, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  4. polite centrist

    'Palin... proposed eliminating all corporate income taxes, claiming that lost revenue would be balanced out by closing corporate loopholes in the federal tax code.'

    If you eliminate corporate taxes, all the loopholes become eliminated too. Yes, that's true. But where does the balancing revenue come from?

    September 3, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  5. Minnie's Pearls

    Nope, still read nothing but platitudes in her speech. But I will compliment her for learning such big words.

    September 3, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  6. turtleheadz

    ReichWinger Fascists = the Terrorists Within

    September 3, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |

    Perry has thousands of high-roller contributors and can match her 5000 dollars for every dollar she raises; same with Romney.

    September 3, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  8. Nodack

    Just freaking go away already. I am so sick of her.

    September 3, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  9. George

    RUN SARAH RUN !!! We love you !! Run Sarah run, run run,,,that's it, keep running, keep running, keep running, there you go, that's right, running, running, running......can you still see her?

    September 3, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  10. Wasilla Willie

    Let her run....and after being humilated and defeated, then an only then will she go back to her fish camp with Todd....
    Or go back to sellling snow machines....

    September 3, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  11. Mike from MN

    The PUPPET speaks. This mama grizzly only cares about 2 things:
    1. Avenge her loss to a black man
    2. Avenge her loss at the Miss Alaska beauty pageant 30 years ago

    On her way to seeking revenge, she wants to STEAL money from the dumb who follow her.

    September 3, 2011 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  12. Wasilla Willie

    I like this one from Sister Sarah; , (Palin) told the crowd, “You must vet a candidate’s record.” Exactly, and thats what McCains camp failed to do when they picked u as a running mate and "unleased" her upon the country....

    September 3, 2011 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  13. FM

    I can not imagine how Sen. McCain feels hearing this very heavy zinger from the mouth of this crazy woman. Let him also regret as most of us have been doing.

    September 3, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  14. lulu

    An empty vessel makes the loudest noise.

    September 3, 2011 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  15. me

    Palin, please take an aspirin and wake up in 2013. You dont have a snowballs chance.

    September 3, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  16. Dee

    Hello everyone diid you see Sarah selling books today in Iowa and people are hurting in the economy she is making money off of the American people, how pathetic.

    September 3, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  17. MIke

    All she has to do is truthfully reveal who her campaign donors are. That pretty much says it all.

    September 3, 2011 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  18. Marie MD

    @alaskapalin-if you are going to post to this story let me tell you right here, right now that the quitter didn't win the debate against Biden.
    She had to call him Joe because she kept fumbling with his name and calling him o'biden. As a matter of fact the bimbo actually said o'biden during the debate.
    She really has not half a brain but one tenth of a normal child brain (an infant). Sad, so, so sad for both of you.

    September 3, 2011 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  19. curt

    If there is one retard I don't wan't dictating my life, this is her.

    September 3, 2011 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  20. Squigman

    Her Royal Highness, has spoken. Bow before your would be master.

    September 3, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  21. Larry L

    She's taking an easy position for a politician these days. Being "against" everything works especially well when your idiot fans aren't bright enough to understand the issues. Does everybody hate taxes? Sure. Does anybody want to give up their benefits and services? Of course not! How about creating more American jobs? Great idea! How about not buying any foreign products? Well... maybe that's too hard. Everybody wants everything and nobody wants to pay for it. It's easy pickings for a bimbo like Palin to appeal to her mindless followers.

    September 3, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  22. TheTraveler

    “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.

    "Reloading" again, Sarah?

    September 3, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  23. Jay

    every time she speaks, mankind falls back a thousand years

    September 3, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  24. Slightly Left of Center

    Roughly 2000 admiring supporters? You can't count the stage hands, cameramen, police and other security, roadies for musicians and comedians, kids selling soda, food vendors, first aid workers, those on trash detail, etc. Some people are actually there because it's a paying job. Doesn't make them 'admirers'.

    I saw some of 'the big speech' on TV. I say 'saw' because I muted the sound. Her voice makes my ears bleed. I didn't see 2000 people. What I saw were a bunch of members of a freak show listening to their carnival barker. Yikes! What a bunch!

    September 3, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  25. bgone that right! Way way out there and a bunch of sore losers the lot of them. Get used to that losing feeling. Not only will we vote Obama in again we will recall and vote the rest of u loonies out!

    September 3, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
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