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. Michael

    Didn't read the article. Why does anyone care what she thinks.

    September 3, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  2. A Real Patriot

    She's an outsider alright-outside any realm of intelligence and sanity. What a clown..... and all you buffoons who think she is great are as ignorant as she is.

    September 3, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  3. Gorddicnn

    Bla bla bla. Will she run...won't she? At this point who gives a crap. She is still an idiot acting like a serious celeb. No more.

    September 3, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  4. johnny on the spot

    What an idiot. Will she please go away

    September 3, 2011 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  5. jpceds

    Listening to Palin today one was left with the impression that she was not just setting the foundation for a run at the presidency....but setting herself up as the third-party candidate.

    September 3, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  6. ooops

    if there is one thing that Ms. Quitter is not, it's a career politician

    September 3, 2011 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  7. Coach Lew

    I don't feel like laughing at any political jokes any more. Nothing in our government warrants a joke. America is in serious trouble and it's time to seriously select someone that can guide us back to recovery without giving away every dollar we take in. I personally don't want another Dick Cheney in office or anyone from the state of Texas whether it be Democrat or Republican. We need change and not promises that fly away like leaves on a tree. I will back Sarah Palin if she runs and would also do so for Michelle Bachman. Why, because that would definitely be change. I don't think either one of them would sell our country down the tube nor would they mess with Social Security and earned retirements.

    September 3, 2011 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  8. J.V.hodgson

    She will enter the race. She wants to see a few drop out before she joins.
    Having said that I still cannot believe that the Republican party thinks she is a viable candidate to oppose Obama.
    If they so choose they have just lost one at least potential conservative leaning Independent voter.

    September 3, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  9. CTTexas

    Go away Sarah. You are not smart enough to solve any real problems. You're just enriching yourself.
    Rick Perry is the guy for your party. And he will likely lose.

    September 3, 2011 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  10. GalacticCannibal

    Will Palin or any other politician tell us how they would fix America and create jobs (well paid) and bring back our manufacturing . Will they ...hell no ..because they have no idea. But sadly we have millions and millions of poorly educated masses who will follow like New Zealand sheep. and they all have a vote.

    September 3, 2011 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  11. logic in LA

    People are stupid. Why would anyone go from San Diego to Iowa to see Palin? why would anyone go from San Diego to Iowa except to see relatives?
    Palin has found a way to capitalize on her personal ignorance and make money. The fact that their are people that listen to anything she says, fascinates me!

    September 3, 2011 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  12. Kevin

    Sarah Palin is possibly the most powerful weapon in the DNC's arsenal.

    September 4, 2011 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  13. normajean

    She hasn't learned a thing since the first time we saw her on stage with McCain. She's still shooting off her mouth with anythiing that comes to mind, true or not. The people are tired to death of her face and speeches. I guess she'll never learn! WE AREN"T INTERESTED IN WHAT SHE HAS TO SAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 4, 2011 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  14. Johnny B. Goode

    Hobbits for Palin in 2012!!!!!

    September 4, 2011 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  15. Andrew

    All extremist imbeciles view themselves as outsiders... and it is one of the few things they might be right about.

    September 4, 2011 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  16. lstro

    The best thing American voters can do to help move this country forward is to vote in office a majority Democratic Senate, House of Representatives and President in 2012. Lets reverse the mistakes of 2010 and send Palin and the Tea Party a clear message that we don't buy their nonsense.

    September 4, 2011 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  17. witchiepoo

    I noticed that Palin referenced reforming entitlements, however I didn't hear her weigh in

    on her family's convenient entitlement from the Indian Health Service, free health care for

    life for her husband, children, children's children, etc. Paid for through federal funds,

    not through payroll deductions like the rest of us pay for medicare. IE a real entitlement.

    Maybe one of you reporters could ask her if she is in favor of scaling back the major

    entitlement that her family qualifies for?

    September 4, 2011 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  18. Weasley

    “You must vet a candidate’s record.”

    By her own standard, Palin, the quitter, will never be president.

    September 4, 2011 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  19. d

    She is still a tp gop so no palin you can not where the uniform...where is your money coming from? really where is it coming from?

    September 4, 2011 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  20. Rob

    She represents everything that's wrong with the world today.

    September 4, 2011 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  21. brad

    This woman is bad news. I don't believe she is the woman she professes to be. She is a power monger and that is not a good thing. She is in many ways the face of the "Tea Party". Just because you see a pig is now a duck doesn't change the fact that it is still a pig. The Tea party is just a radical version of the Republican party and they too are just as stupid. Taking advantage of peoples desire for real change by promising the world in essence.

    September 4, 2011 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  22. ItsTooLateNow

    She be better positioned in a white jacket with extra long sleeves and chrome-plated bling.

    September 4, 2011 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  23. Lenny Pincus

    This coming from a woman who has taken almost $150,000 from the Alaskan energy companies just for living there. All the citizens of Alaska participate in a socialistic form of crony capitalism. People who see something in her are simply dullards.

    September 4, 2011 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  24. WIMPY38

    She sooo sad!

    September 4, 2011 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  25. Mr. Deez

    I'm no Perry fan, but she's a bit hypocritical to rip Perry after needlessly endorsing him for Gov. last year.

    September 4, 2011 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
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