Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Millionaire Palin Still Begging Money from the Public - New Ethics Complaint Filed

Jeanne Devon ("AKMuckraker") Proprietor of The Mudflats, Contributing author Going Rouge - An American Nightmare
Posted: December 8, 2009 11:58 PM

Those of you playing at home and counting ethics complaints filed against Sarah Palin on your fingers and toes are about to run out. Yesterday, another ethics complaint was filed against the almost one term ex-governor by her one-time political ally, Republican Andrée McLeod.

This particular complaint addresses Palin's legal defense fund, hubristically named "The Alaska Fund Trust." Back in July, we learned through a separate ethics complaint which spawned an investigation, that the very existence of the Alaska Fund Trust is most likely a violation of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. The report of the independent investigation found its way to the media.

The report obtained by The Associated Press says Palin is securing unwarranted benefits and receiving improper gifts through the Alaska Fund Trust, set up by supporters.
An investigator for the state Personnel Board says in his July 14 report that there is probable cause to believe Palin used or attempted to use her official position for personal gain because she authorized the creation of the trust as the "official" legal defense fund.

So what did the ex-governor and her long-time friend Kristan Cole, trustee of the AFT do after they received the report? Nothing. The Alaska Fund Trust website is unbelievably still taking donations. They're still holding out the tin cup and accepting those $5 donations from little old Grannies to pay off Palin's six-figure legal debt, while the supposed beneficiary of the money is jetting around the country promoting her best-selling book "Going Rogue" and raking in the millions. But, please... keep those donations coming.
The latest ethics complaint addresses this lack of response on the part of the Trust and the ex-governor, whom the AFT website still refers to as "current governor Sarah Palin." News flash folks! She quit five months ago, in case you weren't paying attention.

"Palin continues to compromise the integrity of our Governor's Office," says McLeod. "She continues to misuse her official position even though she was told it is wrong to do. What we have is the epitome of a culture of corruption. Why do public officials permit Palin to get away with bad behavior? Why does justice not prevail on the side of the people in the follow through of what has already been established as an unscrupulous pot of money? We still don't know how much has been collected during her term and who's been paid from the fund. Why does the administration continue to protect and defend Sarah Palin, even when she's caught, red-handed, selling out the Office of the Governor?"

There always seem to be more questions than answers.

Read the entire document ----> Dec 09 Palin Legal Defense Fund complaint

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Palin: 'My heart goes out to Huckabee'

Posted: December 8th, 2009 04:18 PM ET

From CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Washington (CNN) – Sarah Palin said in a recent radio appearance that Mike Huckabee made a "horrible decision" nine years ago to commute the prison sentence of the man suspected of killing four police officers in Washington, but she added that her "heart goes out" to the former Arkansas governor.

In an interview last week with conservative radio host Lars Larson, Palin called the murders "tragic" and "unfathomable."

"It was a bad decision obviously, but my heart goes out to Huckabee," the former Alaska governor said. "I love him, and I feel bad for him to be in this position. But I feel even worse for the victim's families in this situation. I do feel bad for Huckabee, but it was a horrible decision he made."

Huckabee has said he regrets the decision to commute the sentence of the suspected shooter, Maurice Clemmons, but said he thinks he made the right assessment at the time. Palin said she had never pardoned or granted clemency to prisoners when she served in Juneau.

"I don't have a whole lot of mercy for the bad guys," she said. "I'm on the good guys' side."

Pressed on her political ambitions, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee would not rule out a third party run at the White House in 2012.

"That depends on how things go in the next couple of years," she said. "It really does depend. There are enough Republicans who are realizing, 'Oh whoops, some of us liberal republicans have screwed up.' And I'm not including myself in that group, but some liberal Republicans have screwed up."

Palin said her decision rests on whether or not the GOP does a better job of appealing to its conservative base.

"If the Republican Party gets back to that base, I think our party is going to be stronger and there's not going to be a need for a third party, but I'll play that by ear in these coming months, coming years," she said.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sarah Palin Gets Booed

By DAVID WEIGEL 11/20/09 10:50 AM

It’s the dark side of the media sensation book tour: the disappointed fans who, in the age of YouTube and blog comments, have louder voices than ever. Liberal blogger Kevin K. at Rumproast has video and angry comments from Sarah Palin fans. One angry comment:

Went to the book signing in Noblesville, IN. Waited three hours in the cold to get a wristband to reserve my spot at the book signing tonight. We were told she would sign book for the first 1000 people. Not so. The event ended promptly at 9:00pm, though there were still at least 150 people left. Wasted my day, wasted money on a babysitter, and wasted my money on this book.

The video (after the jump) of the scene in Noblesville is even worse. “You want somebody who’s gonna be quittin’ on the job?” yells one heckler. “Right there! Quittin’ on the job.”

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tony Hicks: Sarah Palin, why have you forsaken us?

By Tony Hicks
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 11/06/2009 01:00:00 AM PST
Updated: 11/06/2009 07:14:15 AM PST

Sarah Palin is going on a three-week tour this month, promoting her new book "Going Rogue."
Sadly, she's skipping us namby-pamby, latte-slurping, plastic-bag-recycling, no-declawing-our-cats, liberal fruit bats here in California. Which, when you think about it, isn't very rogue at all.

No stops are planned in such big population areas as Seattle and Philadelphia either, where voters tend to be Democrats. Unless her book sales depend on voter registration percentages, that just doesn't compute, since there's easily more conservatives who would buy her book two at a time in the Bay Area and Los Angeles than places like Grand Rapids, Mich.

Never mind for a second that, a bit more than a year ago, this lovely woman from the great state of Alaska (it is, really, I've been there — try the salmon) aspired to represent and serve us all as vice president, and will likely try to do so again as a presidential candidate. If she wants to spread the Grand Old Party's word in a book, wouldn't it make sense not to worry about preaching to the conservative choir in Noblesville, Ind.; Washington, Pa.; and Rochester, N.Y. and go after some of us plant-kissers?

Palin can't be that worried about not being liked. Not if she's going on that commie Oprah Winfrey's show Nov. 16.

We need to build a case for Palin to come and see us in California, where we have a lot of respect for hot grandmas. There are a couple ways to do this. Either we convince her "Going Rogue" could be a morbid curiosity among some Democrats who secretly yearn to learn how to gut a moose. Or we make her feel welcome by demonstrating there are more than enough conservatives here to make the trip worthwhile (apparently no one from HarperCollins has ever been to Danville).

As a fan of airing various viewpoints (i.e., democracy), I prefer the latter. Let's make Sarah Palin feel welcome by reminding her that, according to last year's election, California doesn't like gay marriage either.

Let's remind her we have a Republican governor who used to kill people in movies. And a lot of these people, suspiciously, looked like Middle Eastern terrorists.

Speaking of Republican governors and quality filmmaking, doesn't she realize California has a Ronald Reagan library?

Like Alaska, we have oil wells in Southern California. And we can decimate a salmon population with the best of 'em.

Her tour stops at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. If that's her demographic, we have 27 military bases in California, including six in and around San Diego, which is really nice this time of year. They have a great zoo and a 1,800-acre park full of wild animals where, maybe if she asks nicely, they'd let her shoot a few.

She's going to Michigan, where she and running mate John McCain lost to President Obama last year. Among the reasons her book rep Tina Andreadis gave for going to Grand Rapids was that "Barnes & Noble has a great store there."

What, we don't have great Barnes & Nobles in California? We have one in Pleasant Hill that's so big I lost one of my kids there in July and I still haven't found her.

We even have our own bridge to nowhere that, like Palin and her bridge, some Californians were in favor of it before they were against it. We call it the new Bay Bridge which, when stuff stops falling off it, should be complete around the time we all have hovercars to get across the Bay.

California is big enough, and diverse enough, to welcome Sarah Palin with open wallets "... if she'd only be rogue enough to give us a chance.

Reach Tony Hicks at
Read his blog, "Insert Foot," at

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sarah Palin's Brutal Education Exclusive: An Excerpt from "Sarah From Alaska" -- a New Book Telling the Inside Story of Palin's Campaign for VP

(CBS) In "Sarah From Alaska," Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe draw on their experiences as embedded campaign reporters, the many weeks they spent reporting in Alaska during Palin's last days as governor, and exclusive interviews with almost 200 former McCain/Palin staffers, top political minds, friends, and foes in Alaska to tell the remarkable behind-the-scenes story of Palin's political career and the events leading to her surprising resignation.

The authors share new insights and bring to light illuminating stories from Palin's governorship and vice presidential campaign. Read the excerpt below, which includes a prescient remark that Palin made to senior campaign aides after her debate with Joe Biden and revealing emails that demonstrate how she worked behind the scenes to try to convince the campaign's top strategists not to give up on winning the state of Michigan, much to their annoyance.

Scott Conroy is a digital journalist for CBS News, and Shushannah Walshe was formerly a reporter and producer with Fox News. "Sarah From Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar" is available now in bookstores.

THE OVERPOWERING SMELL OF cheeseburgers and French fries saturated the candidate's suite at the Philadelphia Westin Hotel. About a dozen staffers shuffled around the table set up in the middle of the room where hundreds upon hundreds of five-by-seven-inch note cards were spread out in two-foot-high stacks. Palin had been locked in there for hours, cramming for her debate against Joe Biden. The biggest test of the campaign was less than a week away.

On the heels of the first round of Katie Couric interviews, her margin for error was nonexistent. Joe Lieberman, a veteran of a previous vice presidential debate, had been brought in to give Palin an idea of what to expect. The stifling air shortened everyone's patience, and tensions were running especially high between debate prep coordinator Mark Wallace and foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann. It was the note cards that had first led to the longstanding feud between Wallace and Scheunemann a couple of weeks earlier. One of the aides wanted Palin to memorize them, while the other thought it better for her to learn conceptually. The spat made it all the way up the chain to Steve Schmidt, who told Scheunemann in no uncertain terms that he did not have the time for bickering between staffers and that they needed to sort it out. But the two men were still fuming at one another, and negative vibes permeated the room along with the smell of greasy food.

At the end of one cram session, Palin asked her advisers to run through the various trade agreements, including "who's in NAFTA, who's in CAFTA," and so forth. It seemed an unremarkable request at the time. The advisers knew that the governor was, in fact, aware that the NAFTA treaty included the United States, Canada, and Mexico. But someone in the room with a penchant for whispering to reporters was taking mental notes. Come November, the anonymous source would pass Palin's words along as part of a concerted effort to advance the exaggerated narrative that her handlers had been stymied in their heroic, yet futile, efforts to educate an ignoramus.

Steve Schmidt, Rick Davis, and domestic policy adviser Becky Tallent arrived in Philadelphia by train on Sunday, September 28. It was clear by the time they set foot in the suffocating hotel suite on the third full day of debate prep that a dramatic change was needed. Schmidt and Davis had already spoken to John McCain, who agreed to offer up his sprawling Sedona ranch. It did not take much persuasion to convince Palin of the benefits of moving the operation to the desert compound, where she could work in her shorts and T-shirt with her family by her side. Schmidt realized that the candidate would benefit from having a more condensed circle of aides to brief her, so he sent some of the staffers who had been with her in Philadelphia ahead to the debate site at St. Louis. Others who did travel to Sedona were barred from McCain's compound and had to remain at the hotel.

Palin and her downsized contingent of advisers arrived in Arizona the next afternoon. On the first evening of their stay, one of her aides spoke privately to the governor about the importance of speaking in her own voice, rather than regurgitating talking points handed down from the Washington insiders who ran the campaign, all of whom were white males. It was one piece of advice that Palin took to heart.

The preparations were kept informal except for two timed reenactments in which debate conditions were replicated, including the exact distance between the podiums. Randy Scheunemann had flown in to play Joe Biden, an acting role that the archconservative seemed born to play. Scheunemann had sat through years of Biden's speeches during his time working for two Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he knew the Delaware senator's mannerisms well. Palin struggled to keep a straight face as Scheunemann peppered his performance with "God love ya"s and "literally"s and shifted between long-winded discourses on everything from the war in Iraq to his own mother. A former National Rifle Association lobbyist, Scheunemann as Biden delivered a passionate screed on banning assault rifles. When he waxed poetic on the issue of gay marriage, some of the aides looking on from the sidelines gave up on trying to maintain decorum and burst out laughing. At the end of the ninety-minute session, they broke out into spontaneous applause. Palin's keen memory for detail had manifested itself in her very first formal rehearsal, and she had done even better than they had hoped she would.

The next day, the group decided to move the debate operation outdoors so that they could take full advantage of the beautiful Sedona weather. The new environment continued to have a calming effect on Palin and everyone around her. Gone were the endless stacks of note cards and claustrophobic atmosphere that plagued the operation in Philadelphia. Palin looked refreshed as she stood behind her podium in a baseball cap and T-shirt. As evening shadows crept across the well-manicured grass, Cindy McCain came out from the house to address the group. She insisted that all toil must end at an appointed hour of 5 P.M., when everyone was to convene for wine and cheese. There were no arguments.

When Palin nailed a second ninety-minute mock debate, everyone was optimistic about the real thing, which was coming up the next day. By the time she and her aides left the ranch for St. Louis, their confidence was high enough that the hottest topic under discussion was whether the governor should wear blue or black. In the end, she went with black. The background, after all, would be blue.

Just minutes before the candidates shook hands on stage in St. Louis, Palin collected her thoughts in a room as she was joined by three top McCain advisers and her longtime Alaska aide Kris Perry. "Be still in the presence of the Lord!" Perry called out, as Palin bowed her head and prayed.

Palin would give her own version of this event several months later in a speech at a Republican Party dinner in Alaska. "So, I'm looking around for somebody to pray with. I just need maybe a little help, maybe a little extra," she said. "And the McCain campaign, love 'em, you know-there are a lot of people around me, but nobody I could find that I wanted to hold hands with and pray."

The remark drew laughter at the dinner but consternation among some former campaign aides, especially the ones who recalled that she had, in fact, deemed them worthy enough companions with whom to pray. On the surface, Palin's remark seemed like a harmless, humorous aside. But to some of the staffers who had spent two months of their lives working around the clock to try to get her elected, it was hurtful. The comment marked a turning point for several campaign operatives who had defended her up to that point but began to wonder about her willingness to exploit their relationship for political gain. "I was initially upset. I think a lot of people were," said one former senior aide who still speaks frequently to other staffers who continued to support Palin through difficult times. "I think that somebody in the group spoke up and said, 'It's not directed at us.'" Still, the aide wondered how the comment could have been allowed to run wild in the news cycle without any clarification from Palin. "Why are people letting her go out and give speeches like this? And why are people not getting ahead of this when she says something like this?"

But all of that was much further down the road. In St. Louis on the night of October 2, the governor's aides looked on approvingly as Palin took the stage and made it immediately clear that she intended to showcase her confidence and personality instead of sparring with Biden over specific details of policy-a fight she could not possibly be expected to win. "I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear," she declared with a bright smile. "But I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record, also."

There were a few moments that came perilously close to flashbacks of the Katie Couric interviews, such as Palin's response to moderator Gwen Ifill's question about whether any trigger would justify the use of nuclear weapons. "Nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the be-all, end-all of just too many people in too many parts of our planet," she said (mostly the end-all, as Palin-bashing columnist Maureen Dowd gleefully pointed out in a postdebate column).

All in all, however, Palin performed competently and avoided major gaffes. The Republican candidate winked and "darn righted" her way through the debate, delighting her admirers and infuriating her detractors in a predictable way. She was particularly effective in using her methodically unaffected speaking style to break down into simple terms the lessons the country could learn from the economic crisis. "Let's commit ourselves, just everyday American people, Joe Six Pack, hockey moms across the nation, I think we need to band together and say, 'Never again,'" she said. "Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those who are managing our money and loaning us these dollars. We need to make sure that we demand from the federal government strict oversight of those entities in charge of our investments and our savings and we need also to not get ourselves in debt."

Though Biden restrained himself from delivering any of the over-the-top diatribes for which Randy Scheunemann had prepared her, Palin told a confidante after the debate that she'd had a hard time reigning in her smile because the real candidate sounded so much like Scheunemann. Surprisingly, it was the Democrat who struck the most poignant note of the evening when he choked up recalling the death of his first wife and daughter in a car accident that also nearly took the lives of his two sons.

Still, the aides who prepared Palin for the debate were uniformly pleased with her performance. Before a local late-night rally scheduled to keep the momentum going, Palin's inner circle opened a bottle of champagne and toasted the candidate. Feeding off the adrenaline, Palin approached a small group of aides and made a pitch to start bringing up on the campaign trail Barack Obama's ties to his controversial former preacher, Jeremiah Wright. John McCain wanted desperately to become the nation's next president, but not at the expense of facing the inevitable accusations of racial exploitation if he made Wright an issue. She knew quite well about the decree that he had months earlier laid out to everyone involved in the campaign: no one was to touch the controversy. Still, Palin could not understand why she should be held to the rule.

"I just don't want to go back to Alaska," she said in an offhanded comment that would later seem prescient.

Several polls showed that both the general electorate and undecided voters thought Biden had won the debate, although most pundits declared that Palin had exceeded expectations. But with McCain unable to gain any traction against Obama in the presidential debates, the campaign had needed Palin to do more than that. Her performance did nothing to change the complexion of the race, the way her stirring convention speech had done a month earlier.

The day after the debate, Palin caused more headaches when she told Fox News's Carl Cameron that she disagreed with the campaign's decision to pull resources out of Michigan, effectively ceding the state to Obama. She had not been consulted on that critical move in the chess game, which leaked out in a report penned by the Politico's Jonathan Martin the previous afternoon. "I fired off a quick e-mail and said, 'Oh, come on. You know, do we have to? Do we have to call it there?'" she told Cameron. "I want to get back to Michigan, and I want to try."

The e-mail that Palin sent was, in fact, essentially how she described it to Cameron. She wrote to her traveling staff and top McCain advisers, "If there's any time, Todd and I would love a quick return to Michigan-we'd tour the plants, etc. . . . If it does McC any good. I know you have a plan, but I hate to see us leave Michigan. We'll do whatever we had [sic] to do there to give it a 2nd effort."

A senior aide replied, "Michigan is out of reach unless something drastic happens. We must win oh and hopefully pa."

Palin replied that she "got it," but her subsequent interview with Cameron had shown that she hadn't. She acknowledged as much in a postinterview e-mail to senior staff, writing, "Oops-I mentioned something about that to Carl Cameron and it's now recorded that I'd love to give Michigan the ol' college try." Later in the day, she tried once more. "It's a cheap 4hr drive from WI. I'll pay for the gas," she wrote.

Though senior aides had firmly rejected her request, Palin continued to press them on it in the coming days and weeks. A natural optimist but a novice when it came to national campaign strategy, she was inclined not to give up anywhere, much less on a state that had been a prime target for months. She remembered the massive crowds that had greeted her and McCain in Macomb County the day after the convention ended and in Grand Rapids a couple of weeks later. They were good, God-fearing, salt-of-the-earth people. She figured that she could introduce them to her husband, who liked to ride snowmobiles and hunt, just like Michiganders did. Her instincts told her that if she just had a chance to talk to some laid-off automobile workers face-to-face, she could convince them to vote Republican.

"I know what I know what I know." She repeated that mantra to the people around her throughout the campaign. Sometimes she was right, but her growing determination to do things her own way became a continuing headache for the campaign's strategists, who were more interested in polling data and documented fact than they were in the vice presidential candidate's instincts.

Palin sat in her hotel suite in Costa Mesa, California, on the night after the Cameron interview and began to muse with traveling staffers about what she could do to win back Michigan, despite top aides' firm decree that it was out of reach. She was the candidate after all, and it was time for her to take more control over her own destiny. What if they descended upon the state unannounced in the middle of the night and brought Jay Leno or David Letterman along to cover the triumphant surprise visit? Several of her traveling aides loved the idea, as unorthodox as it sounded. There was a growing consensus on the plane that the powers that be at headquarters were holding her back unwisely. The late-night comedian idea was probably pushing it, but maybe they could wait until the next time they were in Ohio and commandeer the campaign bus at the end of the day's events. They could drive it across the border into Michigan, hold a dramatic public appearance to draw in local media, then drive back to Ohio overnight in time for the next day's rallies.

Though many of her aides were on board with her sentiment, other campaign staffers were becoming irritated by how often she brought up her ideas for campaigning in Michigan. There was a growing sense that the vice presidential plane was becoming a renegade operation, increasingly comfortable with acting on its own. Rick Davis was so concerned about the possibility that the governor would ignore orders and travel to Michigan on her own that he attempted to order Secret Service agents to prevent it. Of course, agents would have been obliged to follow the candidate wherever she decided to go.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Analysis: Palin's high-risk, high-reward strategy

By Alexander Mooney, CNN
October 28, 2009 12:04 p.m. EDT

Washington (CNN) -- When Sarah Palin weighed in last week on the contentious special congressional election in New York, she did so in her trademark way: unconventionally.

While other potential 2012 presidential contenders largely stayed quiet on the divisive congressional race that has exposed fault lines in the party, Palin delivered a slap in the face to Republican Party leadership in Washington when she offered a full-throated endorsement of third-party conservative Doug Hoffman over the GOP's anointed candidate, Dede Scozzafava.

Palin's surprise backing -- not even Hoffman's press secretary knew it was coming until it popped up on his Google reader -- left some political observers scratching their heads, wondering why Sen. John McCain's running mate would risk alienating her party's establishment for a long-shot candidate in a race with little national visibility.

Palin's credibility with the conservative wing of her party is already solid, unlike other potential 2012 candidates who are either largely unknown to conservatives or appear too moderate, like possible 2012 contenders Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Instead, some strategists say Palin should begin to court less partisan-charged voters, or at least avoid alienating them, if she's serious about being a viable presidential candidate.

"In the year since the election has ended, [Palin's] done nothing to expand her appeal beyond that base to the middle of the electorate where elections are decided," former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt said recently. "That independent vote is going to be up for grabs in 2012."

But Palin's latest move laid bare the unpredictability that has come to characterize the former Alaska governor since her bid for the vice presidency came to an end nearly a year ago, and has again raised the question of what, exactly, she wants and which game plan she is following.

To be sure, if the former governor is considering a run for the White House in 2012, as several unaffiliated Republican strategists and political observers believe that she is, at first blush she is off to a less than auspicious beginning.

In some ways, the last year has unfolded for her like a reality TV show gone wrong: a governorship plagued by ethics investigations that ended with a shocking and widely mocked resignation speech, the repeated airing of sour grapes from former McCain campaign aides, a series of embarrassing scheduling mishaps at key Republican Party events, and a bevy of tabloid reports carrying insidious allegations about her personal life.

Just-released CNN polling confirms the last 12 months have taken a toll on the Alaska Republican's popularity. Her overall approval rating has dipped to 41 percent and she trails former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in a hypothetical matchup for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012 by 7 points. Moreover, Palin's unfavorable rating is 15 points higher than Huckabee's.

Palin has also made few of the conventional moves befitting a presidential candidate-in-waiting: She's rarely shown up at party events, has made virtually no public appearances since she resigned the governorship, or granted no national media interviews and retained no political staff.

What could be most troublesome for Palin at this stage: Most Americans can't seem to envision her ever being the commander-in-chief.

"Her biggest problem is the perception that she is not qualified to be president," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Seven in 10 Americans, and nearly half of all Republicans, say she is not qualified. It's a problem that politicians have faced before, but one that few have been able to overcome."

On the other hand, the former Alaska governor keeps injecting herself into national policy debates, largely from Facebook postings that have taken aim at President Obama's stances on a host of issues, a sign that she is set on remaining a relevant political figure.

She's also retained a fervent following and the bona fide rock-star status that enabled her to pack more campaign town hall meetings than McCain could on his own.

Two-thirds of all Americans in the CNN poll think she is not a typical politician. If Palin has her eye on the White House, she's staking out a different path toward it.

"Palin has thrown the old GOP playbook out the window," said Matt Lewis, a conservative writer for the Web site Politics Daily. "She believes that the world has changed, that all the old rules don't apply, and the conventional wisdom no longer exists."

That the former Republican vice presidential nominee hasn't broadened her political appeal in the last year was made clear when the two Republicans in the midst of hard-fought races for governor this November, Chris Christie in New Jersey and Bob McDonnell in Virginia, both declined to invite her on the campaign trail, fearing she may turn off independent voters.

Other Republican candidates vying for office in 2010 have only offered vague assurances the Alaska Republican is welcome in their territory, well aware Democratic opponents will seize on any sight of the divisive political figure.

The CNN poll also shows Palin has lost support among independent voters over the last year, drawing approval from 41 percent of them now, 10 points lower than that group's approval last year. She fares even worse with self-identified moderate voters, drawing only a 34 percent approval rating.

But does any of that matter? It's usually die-hard conservatives who vote in Republican presidential primaries, and Palin's support among this group remains strong, 62 percent, according to the CNN poll. And an eager army continues to support her, some of whom have raised more than $40,000 in hopes that she'll appear at an Iowa GOP event next month.

Moreover, as the Tea Party movement has made clear, a passionate grassroots movement now exists, ready to embrace a leader.

If the Alaska governor locks down that niche voting bloc ahead of the presidential primary season, she could face a smoother course to the nomination. On the flip side, if she's seen as too closely aligned with the Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck crowd, her viability as a national candidate could virtually become nonexistent.

By any measure, it's a high-risk, high-reward strategy.

"There [are] a lot of things happening that are changing," Lewis said. "It could be that Sarah Palin has captured that zeitgeist, that she sees things that nobody else sees, or it could be that she's running a really bad campaign. We'll find out."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sarah Palin: rouge or rogue?

Above, on the left: the autobiography from Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, set to be released on November 17. And on the right -- and slated for release the exact same day -- a collection that looks to be critical of the high-profile Republican, subtitled, as it is, "Sarah Palin: An American Nightmare."

Note that in the above paragraph, "left" and "right" are meant to denote image locations only, not political perspectives.

The book covers bear no small resemblance to each other. So, too, the titles: Sarah Palin's book is "Going Rogue," a phrase taken from her deviation from John McCain's views during the 2008 campaign. The other book is entitled "Going Rouge," a phrase that comes from nowhere except a switcheroo of the letters "u" and "g" from Palin's title. (And is being used by a coloring book, too).

"Going Rouge," which is being edited by two senior editors from The Nation, is being published by the young imprint OR Books. The company seems to be hoping to either catch the wave of enthusiasm greeting Palin's book -- it's currently the #2 bestseller on Amazon, and Palin will be a guest on Oprah the day before the book arrives in stores -- or to confuse Palin supporters into purchasing the Palin-unfriendly book.

Or maybe OR Books wasn't thinking about the similarities at all. Maybe they were simply remembering that Palin paid a makeup artist more than $20,000 for two weeks' work. And if anyone wants to know how she rolls, rouge-wise, the makeup artist used blushes from Mac and Chanel.

As for going rogue, she is, in some Republican circles, still a bit roguish, in the sense of being an outsider, or perhaps even mischievous. Top of the Ticket reports that her offer to assist in governors races in New Jersey and Virginia was declined.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Images: Left, Harper / Associated Press. Right, OR Books.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sarah Palin Tells Friends: Watch Glenn Beck!

Huffington Post | Danny Shea

Sarah Palin is rallying her Facebook community behind Glenn Beck.
In a post on Facebook Wednesday morning titled, "An Invitation," Palin urged her 800,000-plus Facebook fans to watch the Fox News host (via Politico):

FOX News' Glenn Beck is doing an extraordinary job this week walking America behind the scenes of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and outlining who is actually running the White House.

Monday night he asked us to invite one friend to watch; tonight I invite all my friends to watch.

-Sarah Palin

Beck is hardly having trouble in the ratings, and many of Palin's supporters fall squarely in the Beck target audience, but it will be interesting to see if he experiences a "Palin Bump."

Beck has come under fire for his remarks that President Obama is a racist, which has led dozens of advertisers to pull their sponsorship from his show.

Read more at:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

glenn beck

Off topic... but WHOA!

We may have to start a Glenn Beck is an idiot blog.

**name was taken so we had to go with Glenn Beck is a MORON!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sarah Palin-mania could start up again

Commentary: Look out if her upcoming book flourishes
By MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Get ready for Sarah Palin-mania, part two.

Her first chapter, in national politics, exploded then fizzled when the former Republican vice presidential candidate unexpectedly retired as governor of Alaska in July. Now, Palin is back, as her memoir, "Going Rogue: An American Life" has been moved up by the Harper imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, according to The Wall Street Journal. (Harper Collins and The Journal, like MarketWatch, are units of News Corp. (NWS 14.20, +0.22, +1.57%) ).

The book has been moved up to Nov. 17 from next spring. The publishing house said it is distributing 1.5 million copies of Palin's book -- an enormous commitment -- and it will cost $28.99. The electronic edition won't be ready until Dec. 26.

What's noteworthy here is the commercial potential of Palin's aura. Yes, her conservative followers flock to her political rallies and fundraisers. Sure, the national media can't get enough of her. "Saturday Night Live" (GE 16.60, -0.11, -0.66%) thrived last year when Tina Fey did an uncanny job of lampooning Palin's eccentricities.

If the book flies off shelves at the stores, we will know -- for sure -- that Palin has commercial appeal, too. That's when you'll see the media lining up to ask her to host television and radio programs. And Palin-mania will once again go full throttle.

For Palin, the reward could come in benefits that go beyond the satisfaction of favorable book reviews. She could use this forum as a springboard to her repair her image, which suffered when she surprised Republican followers by departing from the political scene a few months ago.

Palin hopes for a win-win scenario. Don't bet against her.

-- Jon Friedman

Palin Can't Get Domestic Speaking Gigs? That's Not Unusual

by Holly Bailey

Is Sarah Palin having trouble landing speaking gigs? Citing an anonymous “industry expert,” the New York Post’s Page Six reports today that Palin isn’t attracting much interest on the lecture circuit. The reason: She’s so polarizing. “The big lecture buyers in the U.S. are paralyzed with fear about booking her, basically because she’s a blithering idiot,” the unnamed source tells Page Six. “Palin is so uninteresting to so many groups—unless they are interesting in moose hunting… What does she have to say? She can’t even describe what she reads.” Ouch.

But in Palin’s defense, is she actually trying to book gigs in the U.S. anyway? It’s worth noting that plenty of current and former polarizing political types on the lecture circuit usually make most of their money speaking in other countries—especially their first year out. Back in 2001, when he was still caught up in all the drama of his final days in the White House, Bill Clinton collected nearly $9.2 million for giving 59 speeches—39 of which were overseas. More recently, George W. Bush hit the speaker’s circuit. With the exception of a speech in Michigan, Bush’s talks have all been abroad, in Canada, Asia and Europe. (No word on how much he’s earning—though he’s reportedly asking for at least $150,000 a pop.) There are exceptions: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hasn’t had trouble landing domestic gigs, giving speeches in Pennsylvania, California and Michigan. She earned reported $150,000 to talk to a meeting of the National Football League’s owners association this past spring.

Palin was signed a month ago by the Washington Speakers Bureau—the same group who reps Bush and Rice. Last week, she earned a reported $150,000 for a speech in Hong Kong. No word on what her next move will be—though the fact her debut speech attracted mixed reviews can’t be reassuring to her bookers. But we’d venture to guess that Palin is still pretty marketable to an overseas audience—After all, no other potential GOP 2012 candidate attracts more attention than she does, and the world never has a lack of curiosity about our political celebrities. The question Palin’s bookers must be wondering is whether the former gov’s memoirs will add to her marketability or if it will lead to overexposure.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Palin resignation cost state at least $40,000

September 17, 2009 at 10:48AM AKST

Early estimates put the cost of Sarah Palin’s midterm resignation as Alaska governor at a minimum of $40,000, not including a special legislative session partly linked to her departure.

The preliminary figures obtained by the Associated Press through a public records request show it cost the state almost $14,100 for the swearing-in ceremony of new Gov. Sean Parnell in Fairbanks on July 26 after Palin formally stepped down the same day before a massive crowd in the interior city. The price tag for moving Palin — the former GOP vice presidential candidate — and her family from the governor’s mansion in Juneau amounted to more than $3,328. Travel costs for the governor’s office associated with the transition totaled more than $6,700.

Not included in the tally is the estimated cost of more than $100,000 for a one-day special session held last month in which state lawmakers confirmed Palin’s surprise pick to replace Parnell as lieutenant governor.

Palin’s spokeswoman, Meghan Stapleton, couldn’t be reached by phone and an e-mail to Stapleton was not immediately returned.

The final price tag will be a mere fraction of the roughly $2 million Palin has said it cost the state dealing with “frivolous” ethics complaints against her. Still, bloggers, residents, newspaper letter writers and lawmakers alike have questioned what they saw as unnecessary costs associated with Palin’s resignation 17 months before the end of her first term.

It’s a small price to pay, as far as state Rep. Mike Hawker, an Anchorage Republican, is concerned. Lawmakers have said the former governor appeared disengaged from state affairs after being catapulted into political fame as John McCain’s running mate, and Hawker believes the low-key Parnell will do a better job at the helm than Palin.

“She’s a superstar. He’s a budget wonk,” he said. “Up front, it may have cost the state $40,000, but Sean’s going to save the state far more in operating costs in his first budget.”

Other transition costs disclosed to the AP are $4,626 in assorted expenditures by the governor’s office such as official photos of the new governor and lieutenant governor, letterhead and business cards. The state Department of Labor estimates expenditures of $9,082 for new letterhead, brochures and forms while the Department of Administration projects spending more than $1,600 on new letterhead.

“All in all, it may have been a little less than I had anticipated,” Robert Pearson, special assistant to the administration commissioner, said of the total.

Hawker doesn’t consider the cost of the Aug. 10 special session as fallout of the resignation. He said lawmakers had to meet anyway to consider overriding Palin’s veto of $28.6 million in federal stimulus funds intended for energy efficiency projects — an action they approved. Palin’s press representatives while in office also noted that lawmakers called themselves into the special session, not the governor.

State Rep. Les Gara, however, said Palin could have avoided the need for a special session.

Given the legislative support for vetoed stimulus funds, Palin could have sent a good faith letter to the federal government that new and renovated structures in Alaska would be constructed under energy efficiency standards through 2017, as required, Gara said. He believes she also could have stuck with her original choice for lieutenant governor.

Each legislative session, Alaska’s governor selects someone as a backup to the lieutenant governor, and Palin nominated Corrections Commissioner Joe Schmidt this year.

But in her July 3 resignation announcement, she announced that Military and Veterans Affairs Commissioner Craig Campbell would replace Parnell, without explaining why she wasn’t turning to Schmidt. Lawmakers ended up approving Campbell during the special session.

“If I were in her shoes, I would have tried to avoid the cost and inconvenience of a special session,” Gara said. “It’s not the biggest thing in the world, but I would have done it differently.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Newt Gingrich's advice for a Sarah Palin comeback

By JEANNE CUMMINGS | 8/14/09 4:51 AM EDT

If Sarah Palin wants to make a 2012 political comeback, she’ll need three types of speeches, some serious television face time, a credible organization and a bucket load of sheer determination.

Oh, and she might want to get a place outside of Alaska, somewhere in the lower 48.

That’s some of the advice former House Speaker Newt Gingrich offered when POLITICO asked him what Palin needs to do to keep her presidential options open.

Since he’s among the few to come close to pulling off what Palin, the ex-governor of Alaska, may ultimately seek to do, Gingrich is uniquely qualified to comment.

The former Georgia congressman has been out of elected office for more than decade, yet he’s a perennial on the Republican Party’s presidential watch lists, and he is regularly consulted by party insiders for strategic and policy advice.

It’s a feat of political levitation that wasn’t achieved by accident or through some natural political order.

In politics, power and influence are fluid assets, won and lost in a perpetual competition between rising newcomers, established players and fading stars.

Operating at the pinnacle of power requires a strategy for getting there and staying there. Gingrich had such a plan — and it’s one that he says could be tweaked to work for Palin, too.

Essentially there are six elements to his approach:

1. Write a book. Palin is already set to do that, which Gingrich applauds. A book, he said, helps a politician lay out his or her philosophy and experiences in their own unhurried words. It also helps score TV time, which in turn helps sell books, he added.

2. Land a regular commentator slot on television. It’s a sure way for an outsider to stay inside the national dialogue and in touch with the incumbents, activists and strategists who can help launch a comeback.

3. Consider getting a condominium in New York or Washington. An East Coast base of operations would ease what could become an onerous travel schedule from Alaska.

4. Write and master three types of speeches. One speech “is to make money,” he said, and should be something smart and entertaining.

The second set of speeches includes what Gingrich calls “high-value” addresses designed to be delivered before major interest groups and universities, enabling Palin to “project her brand.”

The third speech, of course, is a campaign stump speech that she can take on the road in 2010 to help Republican candidates raise money and gain attention.

5. Create some sort of national project or center. This can serve as a base for her political return and an incubator for ideas and action on issues. A National Energy Project, Gingrich said, would be a natural for Palin.

6. Plan on working really, really hard. Many ex-politicians confuse being a celebrity with being a serious political player, Gingrich said. “She can be a personality for a long time,” he said. “But that is very different from becoming a national leader.”

Of course, even if Palin follows such a path, there are no guarantees.

Gingrich has cut a high profile through speeches, books and a campaign-style organization and website that regularly issues updates on his activities and constantly refreshes his list of donors and supporters.

His policy analysis on energy, health care and other issues are respected — although maybe not embraced — by both conservatives and liberals.

Just last week, Gingrich was stopped in a Capitol hallway by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a member of the bipartisan team of senators working on health care reform legislation. “I’ve read everything you’ve got,” said Grassley, clutching Gingrich’s hand.

Despite all that, Gingrich has yet to see the kind of “Draft Newt” movement that could lure him onto the presidential field.

In fact, the last Oval Office aspirant to dust himself off after a national defeat, stay in the game, and go on to win the White House was Ronald Reagan — and that was 30 years ago.

Many have tried to replicate that magic, including Dan Quayle, John Edwards and Jack Kemp, to name a few. But, despite all their promises that they’d be back, they all fell far short of Reagan’s comeback.

Some of them lost because they overestimated their star power, some turned out to lack the requisite skill set, and others failed to build the type of machine that Gingrich describes, a vehicle that can command attention in the wilderness years.

Reagan’s political recovery plan, which was relatively innovative for its time, included regular radio addresses and newspaper columns. The disciplined writing schedule helped Reagan refine his thinking on policy and spread his message between 1976 and the launch of his second presidential campaign in 1979.

Palin, like Reagan, is a galvanizing figure for conservatives. (She also drives liberals crazy, like he did.) And she exhibited plenty of raw political talent last year running beside John McCain on the Republican ticket.

But first and foremost, Gingrich said, Palin “has to be clear in her own head what she wants to do.”

Palin has said she is still mulling her options. Her rambling farewell speech in Alaska seemed to suggest a fair amount of ambivalence about what course she’ll take.

In that speech, Palin cast herself as both a victim of the national media and Hollywood and a fighter tough enough to stay in the political fray and stand up for conservative values.

Her lack of clarity left Alaskans in a muddle, too. A statewide poll conducted after the speech showed a steep drop in her favorability ratings, with 48 percent viewing her negatively and 46 percent viewing her positively.

The negative perception at home is even more pronounced on the national level, which raises one of the biggest hurdles to a Reagan-like comeback for Palin.

Where Reagan used humor to disarm his opponents and win new converts, Palin uses it to eviscerate adversaries, an approach that can intimidate and alienate the unconverted.

Reagan’s good-guy roles from his Hollywood days helped make him a familiar and likable figure, whereas the television parodies of Palin diminished her.

A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 67 percent of Americans, including 43 percent of Republicans, would not like to see her as president someday.

Still, Gingrich believes she can overcome the caricatures and the poll numbers but that “she has to decide how serious she wants to be about becoming a national leader.”

Monday, August 17, 2009

Obama gets personal on Palin’s “death panels”

Barack Obama seems to have taken personally Sarah Palin’s accusations that his administration wants to set up “death panels” for the elderly.

Reuters Blogs
Posted by: Jeff Mason

At a town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado on Saturday the president got personal — citing his own grandmother, who died shortly before he was elected last year — when refuting charges by the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee about his healthcare reform plans.

“I just lost my grandmother last year. I know what it’s like to watch somebody you love, who’s aging, deteriorate, and have to struggle with that,” Obama told the crowd.

“So the notion that somehow I ran for public office, or members of Congress are in this so that they can go around pulling the plug on grandma? I mean, when you start making arguments like that, that’s simply dishonest,” he said.

The issue stemmed from a provision in a House of Representatives bill that would have provided government funding for optional counseling on end-of-life care issues such as hospice.

Palin, who has spoken out against Obama’s reform plans, and other critics referred to the process as “death panels.”

Obama, who has refuted the rumor before but is struggling to gain support for his overall healthcare reform agenda, said enough was enough.

“We’ve got enough stuff to deal with without having these kinds of arguments,” he said, without mentioning Palin by name.

Sarah Palin Quit Because of Marital Woes: Levi

Sarah Palin stepped down from her role as Alaska governor because of problems that have dogged her marriage "from day one," Levi Johnston said.

The hockey hunk and father of Palin's grandson was tight-lipped about what led to the Palins' rocky relationship but said the trouble that was brewing between his almost-in-laws was serious enough to lead the former veep candidate to step down from her post.

"Yeah, I do," he said when asked if he thought marital woes were what prompted her to resign. Palin has denied any problems in her marriage.

He also said his would-be mother-in-law's media blitz and lecture was simply a money-grubbing stunt. "She's taking the money," Johnston said. "That's what she talked about, that's what I'm gathering, and I think that's what she's doing."

Friday, July 31, 2009

Palin chases the dollar signs


A fellow scribe lately assigned to the Sarah Palin beat up north sent down the following joke: Question: What's the best view of Wasilla, Alaska? Answer: Out the rearview mirror.

The former governor and GOP vice presidential nominee grew out of the grassroots of Wasilla's paved-over strip malls. But Palin has outgrown all that and will be spending much of her time in the "lower 48."

Look for Palin to take frequent journeys to the bank before going on the road to the White House.

The public's attention span is short, so it is in Palin's self-interest to seek the gains that come with fame.

The governor's Fairbanks farewell speech last Sunday, with its warnings about big government and attacks on the media -- even a celebration of hunting -- was tailored to tastes of America's political right.

With her views, her looks and the celebrity of her 2008 vice presidential campaign, Palin can probably earn five-figure fees on the speechmaking circuit. She is working with a ghostwriter on a book. By resigning as governor, she does not have to file Alaska public-disclosure forms revealing the advance.

Of course, 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is already holding forth with a show on Fox News. Huckabee has impeccable credentials as a culture warrior. Still, the guy has a streak of personal decency plus thoughtful views on such issues as health care and corporate welfare.

What the far right wants is red meat, served up bloody red.

We have, this week, Fox News' race-baiter Glen Beck calling President Obama "a racist" and accusing Obama of having a "deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture."

On CNN, Lou Dobbs has fanned the Birthers, challenging Obama to "provide the long-form birth certificate," and hinting -- without evidence -- that the certificate produced in last year's campaign is not "the real document."

As this column is written, CNN's "Larry King Live" is readying a lowbrow face-off: Judge Sonia Sotomayor's qualifications for the U.S. Supreme Court will be discussed by left-wing publicity hound the Rev. Al Sharpton and right-wing attention seeker Ann Coulter.

Sarah Palin would fit cable TV "commentary" like a glove, witness her 2008 speeches about Obama "palling around with terrorists." If caught wordless, she could always wink at the camera.

Doubtless, the former governor will undergo analysis by the elite media's two ranking psychobabblers, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times and Gail Sheehy of Vanity Fair. They've sucked every possible milligram of blood out of Hillary Clinton.

But such attacks will only strengthen Palin's credentials with the right-thinking faithful.

If you read responses to articles, right-thinking Soundoff contributors love to use the word hypocrisy.

The issue does come up with Palin. She has served as governor of a state that, in 2008, received $508.34 per resident in federal earmarks -- highest in the nation --compared to $18.74 per capita in John McCain's Arizona.

As mayor of Wasilla, she hired a lobbyist to seek $27 million in earmarks for a town of 8,000. Palin was for the "bridge to nowhere" before she was against it. She resisted but then retreated on Alaska taking federal stimulus money, although holding out on dollars earmarked to weatherize homes for winter.

The enthusiasm of Palin faithful will not pale at past pork.

Just look at the crowd she drew to the April right-to-life dinner in Evansville. Watch the video of Republican National Chairman Michael Steele reduced to a warm-up act. Read the reactions afterward -- "Awesome!" "Amazing!" "Absolutely beautiful!" -- on the Web site.

The neoconservative intellectuals of the Republican Party can write their critical columns, but they won't create any more doubters than Dowd and (if she chooses to play) Sheehy.

The right does the nominating in the Republican Party, and two early deciding states -- Iowa, with its caucuses, and South Carolina with its primary -- are strongholds of the Christian right.

As well, Palin -- for the moment -- is an honest-to-goodness national celebrity.

Alaska lawmakers attending last week's National Council of State Legislators' meeting were spotted wearing buttons saying, "I'm from Alaska. Please don't ask me about her." A Washington, D.C., airport newsstand, displaying the Time magazine with Palin on the cover, put out a sign reading "Only two copies per customer." "Starting this afternoon, she's someone else's story," the Anchorage Daily News' irreverent "Alaskan Ear" column opined last Sunday.

They'll miss her. Until this month, I never thought any Alaska governor could match Wally Hickel's famous declaration: "We can't just let nature run wild."

But that was before Sarah Palin intoned: "Only dead fish go with the flow."

Joel Connelly can be reached at 206-448-8160 or

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stepping aside, Palin vows to 'fight even harder'

From Candy Crowley

(CNN) -- As Sarah Palin handed over the Alaska governorship this weekend, the wear, tear and resentments of a year on the big stage were evident for the former GOP vice presidential candidate.

Her parting words Sunday included a parting shot at the media:

"So how about in honor of the American soldier, you quit making up things. And don't underestimate the wisdom of the people. And one other thing for the media -- our new governor has a very nice family, too, so leave his kids alone," she said as she handed off power to Sean Parnell, the lieutenant governor.

Palin's farewell to the governor's office was a three-day rolling picnic, from Wasilla to Anchorage to Fairbanks. Palin, a mother of five, was surrounded by friends and supporters.

"I will tell you one thing -- if we get a woman president, let it be her. She is a real woman. She knows what a woman is supposed to be. She is pro-life. She is pro-family. She is pro-woman," said Jon Eric Thompson, who attended the Sunday picnic in Fairbanks.

But it was not all friendly going. Palin has lost some of her light in Alaska and a lot on the national stage.

"She abandoned her state in the middle of a term. They didn't ask for her to run. She volunteered to run and assumed that job. I think she has hurt herself. You've seen those numbers turn," Republican strategist Alex Castellanos said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union With John King."

Fifty-three percent of Americans view Palin negatively, and 40 percent see her positively, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Worse for Palin, four in 10 Republicans don't think she understands complex issues, the poll found.

Still Palin wouldn't be the first politician to rehabilitate herself. And it's clear that while she handed over the governor's chair, she doesn't plan on relinquishing the microphone.

"Now with this decision, now I will be able to fight even harder for you, for what is right and for truth," Palin said.

Palin is working on a book, she says she'll help other candidates, and she'll give speeches. One of her first post-governor events will be August 8 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.

She could make good money doing all of that. She also could be on a path that leads to 2012; it's called keeping your options open.

"I just asked her that about five minutes ago, and you want to know what she said? She said, 'I don't know' with her little smirk," said Adele Morgan, who went to high school with Palin and lives in Wasilla.

"That's her one-liner right now, because we don't know," she said.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

hair today, gone tomorra - a.k.a. “I feel bad for Sarah Palin and bad for her hair, even though I don’t really care for her.’’

The Palin debate: tress stress?

Experts at odds about cause of thinning hair.

It was the hair that launched a thousand quips - and now it’s thinning. At least that was the word from Wasilla, Alaska, where Sarah Palin is so stressed that she appears “underweight’’ to friends, and the up-do known around the world has thinned “to the point where she needed emergency help from her hairdresser,’’ the New York Times reported.

But can stress thin hair? As with everything else about the Alaska governor, opinions are divided.

Dr. Gerald Weissmann, professor emeritus at New York University School of Medicine, insists the answer is no. “Stress short of chemotherapy or horrible infections does not cause hair thinning,’’ said Weissmann, who edits the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal. “There is no evidence of that in all the literature.’’

People believe stress thins hair, Weissmann said, because “aging causes hair thinning, and by and large, it’s difficult to age without encountering some form of stress.’’

He points to the preponderance of male politicians with fantastic hair as proof that political pressure doesn’t cause hair loss. “Take a look at the people questioning [Supreme Court nominee Sonia] Sotomayor,’’ he said. “[Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick] Leahy doesn’t have much, but everyone else has hair.’’

“Stress and hair loss are not like a one-two punch,’’ added Dr. Amy McMichael, director of the hair disorders clinic at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Physiologic stress - such as having a baby, losing a lot of weight, starting or stopping medication - can cause hair loss, but basic psychological stress does not, explained McMichael, who also serves as secretary/treasurer of the North American Hair Research Society. “It’s not like, I had a bad day today, and look, my hair is falling out,’’ she said.

But Dr. Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, a psychiatrist with the Mayo Clinic, argues that emotional stress can lead to bad hair days - or months.

The most common type of stress-induced hair loss is telogen effluvium, he writes on the clinic’s website. “In this condition, emotional or physical stress . . . pushes large numbers of growing hairs into a resting phase. Within a few months, the affected hairs may fall out suddenly when simply combing or washing your hair. The hair typically grows back when the emotional or physical stress is resolved, although this can take months.’’

Humans aren’t the only animals who could be susceptible to stress-related hair loss. Researchers who subjected laboratory mice to rodent-repellant sounds concluded: “psychoemotional stress indeed alters actual hair follicle cycling’’ and “prematurely terminates the normal duration of active hair growth,’’ according to a report in the March 2003 American Journal of Pathology.

With scientists differing in their opinions on stress-related hair loss, perhaps only a hairdresser knows for sure.

“I’ve noticed it with a lot of my clients,’’ said Cliff Bouvier of Crew International in Brookline. “I feel bad for Sarah Palin and bad for her hair, even though I don’t really care for her.’’

Sarah Palin’s hairdresser speaks

By Beth Teitell

The world needs to know: When Alaska Governor Sarah Palin recently sought “emergency’’ treatment for her hair, what, exactly, did her longtime stylist do?

“It wasn’t like I did an intervention,’’ Jessica Steele said in a phone interview from her Wasilla, Alaska, beauty parlor, the Beehive.

In fact, despite the juicy hair-loss tidbit that Palin-aholics gobbled up in a New York Times story (“The Long March to a Short-Notice Resignation,’’ July 12), Steele insisted that Palin’s hair hadn’t thinned so much as it had gone blah.

“I think the combination of traveling and just being down there in the lower 48’’ took its toll, Steele said in what was either a brilliant bit of spin, the simple truth, or an attempt to save the good stuff for a cut-and-tell memoir. “We needed to get her back to shiny.’’

She gave Palin a much-needed trim, she said, and “kicked up’’ Palin’s shampoo and conditioner a notch, to the high-end Pureology NanoWorks line. She also gave Palin a chichi leave-in treatment, Altieri Brothers Tuscan Oil.

Palin left the salon with a bottle of each, Steele said. That’s $48 for 10.1 ounces of shampoo, another $48 for 8.5 ounces of conditioner, and $22 for 3.5 ounces of Tuscan Oil.

Steele says she doesn’t understand why Palin’s hair is still a story. But if there’s one thing more surprising than the fact that the hair of the former vice presidential candidate remains of global interest, it’s that the hairdresser to the most famous hair on Earth can be reached directly, simply by calling her at work.

“Let me give you my e-mail,’’ Steele said.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Republican pundits open fire on Sarah Palin

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks to supporters in Fairbanks before signing a gun rights bill Friday.

Their harsh views conflict with those of grass-roots GOP voters, revealing a serious split within the party.
By Mark Z. Barabak
July 13, 2009

Since announcing her resignation, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been pummeled by critics who have called her incoherent, a quitter, a joke and a "political train wreck."

And those were fellow Republicans talking.

Palin has been a polarizing figure from the moment she stepped off the tundra into the bright lights last summer as John McCain's surprise vice presidential running mate. Some of that hostility could be expected, given the hyper-partisanship of today's politics.

What is remarkable is the contempt Palin has engendered within her own party and the fact that so many of her GOP detractors are willing, even eager, to express it publicly -- even with Palin an early front-runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Some admit their preference that she stay in Alaska and forget about any national ambitions.

"I am of the strong opinion that, at present day, she is not ready to be the leading voice of the GOP," said Todd Harris, a party strategist who likened Palin to the hopelessly dated "Miami Vice" -- something once cool that people regard years later with puzzlement and laughter. "It's not even that she hasn't paid her dues. I personally don't think she's ready to be commander in chief."

Others suggest a delayed response to last year's shaky campaign performance, now that the race is over and Republicans feel free to speak their minds.

"I can't tell you one thing she brought to the ticket," said Stuart K. Spencer, who has been advising GOP candidates for more than 40 years. "McCain wanted to shock and surprise people, and he did -- in a bad way."

It is more than cruel sport, this picking apart of Alaska's departing chief executive. The sniping reflects a serious split within the Republican Party between its professional ranks and some of its most ardent followers, which threatens not only to undermine Palin's White House ambitions -- if, indeed, she harbors them -- but to complicate the party's search for a way back to power in Washington.

Consider a USA Today/Gallup poll released last week. About 7 in 10 Republicans said they would be likely to vote for Palin if she ran for president. Other surveys place Palin in a statistical dead heat with Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, the former governors of Massachusetts and Arkansas, respectively, who sought the White House in 2008 and give every indication that they will try again in 2012.

Although any presidential poll taken this far out has to be taken with a sea's worth of salt, that is not the reason so many Republican strategists and party insiders dismiss Palin.

"People at the grass roots see a charismatic personality who is popular with other people at the grass roots. But their horizon only goes so far as people who think like them," said Mike Murphy. The veteran GOP ad man eviscerated Palin -- a "political train wreck," "an awful choice" for vice president, her resignation an "astonishing self-immolation" -- in a column published Thursday in the New York Daily News.

"Professional operatives keep their eye on a broader horizon and understand, without independents and swing voters, she can't win," Murphy said. "She's a stone-cold loser in a general election."

That, of course, is debatable and subject to any number of developments over the next few years. A Palin spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

In an interview Sunday in the Washington Times, Palin said she planned to write a book and campaign for candidates nationwide, regardless of party affiliation, who shared her views on limited government, national defense and energy independence.

But the reaction to her resignation from Republican candidates around the country has been telling. Asked if they planned to invite Palin to visit and campaign on their behalf, several of those facing tough races -- the ones who need to do more than turn out the party faithful or collect their contributions -- were not rushing out the welcome mat.

"I don't generally need people from outside my district to do a fundraiser," Rep. Frank R. Wolf, a Republican from the Democratic-leaning suburbs of northern Virginia, told the Hill newspaper.

"There's others that I would have come in and campaign, and most of them would be my colleagues in the House," Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) said in the same piece.

Whatever one thinks of Palin, there is no question she has been subjected to a level of internal sniping -- friendly fire seems like a misnomer -- that is extraordinary.

The Republican criticism of Palin, 45, began during McCain's presidential run, privately at first, then breaking into the open during the last troubled days of the Arizona senator's campaign. Finger-pointing and back-stabbing are hardly unusual in politics, especially on the losing side. But like so many things Palin-related -- the crowds, the adoration, the antipathy -- the verbal strafing seems of a whole other magnitude. (How many other losing vice presidential candidates would merit a 10,000-word exegesis in Vanity Fair, which depicted Alaska's governor as a narcissistic, one-woman demolition derby?)

Some blame sexism, though again there is sharp disagreement between Palin's supporters and detractors. Some think the former beauty queen has always been hurt by her looks, whereas others think her appearance has helped her considerably. "If Sarah Palin looked like Golda Meir, would we even be talking about her today?" Murphy asked.

Others see a knee-jerk reaction from the political establishment, which will always frown on any populist outsider (think Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, Howard Dean), much less a governor who quits midterm and shows up on TV in hip waders.

"The fact that she is a woman who's extremely attractive and dynamic and charismatic throws them for a loop," said Bay Buchanan, who strategized for her brother's two insurgent presidential campaigns. "Once they sense the first little sign of weakness, that's when they go in for the kill."

No one knows where the future will take Palin, not even the governor herself. Her reemergence on the national scene and the scathing response from so many of her party peers underscore one thing, however: Republicans may hold dear their memories of the late Ronald Reagan. But his famous 11th commandment -- "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican" -- was laid to rest a long time ago.

Kerry Spars With Palin Over Climate


Senator John F. Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat, responded on Tuesday to a Washington Post op-ed piece by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, that slammed President Obama’s push for a cap-and-trade system.

Writing at the left-leaning Huffington Post Web site, Mr. Kerry argued that Ms. Palin never addressed “the crisis of global climate change” — the underlying issue that prompted legislation now pending in Congress that would create just such a cap-and-trade program.

“Yes, she manages to write about the climate change action in Congress without ever mentioning the reason we are doing this in the first place,” Mr. Kerry wrote. “It’s like complaining about the cost of repairing a roof without factoring in the leaks destroying your home.”

Mr. Kerry outlined the threats of climate change – including those facing Ms. Palin’s own state of Alaska – and also refuted her arguments that cap-and-trade legislation will cost jobs and hurt the poorest Americans.

“Palin confidently claims job losses are ‘certain,’” Mr. Kerry wrote, but “she somehow neglects to mention that jobs in our emerging clean energy economy grew nearly two and a half times faster than overall jobs since 1998.”

Mr. Kerry was presumably referring to a recent study from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

Why Sarah Palin Quit: The Five Best Explanation

By JAY NEWTON-SMALL / ANCHORAGE Monday, Jul. 06, 2009

Sarah Palin, announcing that she is stepping down from her position as Alaska governor in Wasilla on July 3, 2009
Robert DeBerry / The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman / AP

When Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced her intention to resign on July 3, many assumed there must be a looming scandal. Why else make the surprise announcement late in the afternoon before the July 4 holiday — the equivalent of a news black hole — in tones that varied from angry to anxious? Palin even hauled her husband back from a commercial fishing trip to be by her side.

In the days since, however, it has become clear that no other shoe is likely to drop. No federal investigation or teen pregnancy or hikes along the Appalachian Trail. Alaskan politicos who have worked with Palin for years say her reasons for leaving are multilayered, and largely personal. Her unhappiness in the job came as no surprise in Alaska. In fact, given her history — and how miserable the past eight months have been for her — perhaps the surprise is that more people didn't see it coming. Here are the most important factors that Alaska insiders say went into Palin's sudden decision.

1. If It Worked Before, Why Not Try It Again?
Palin's 2004 protest resignation from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) catapulted her into the political limelight. Appointed to the AOGCC by then Governor Frank Murkowski, Palin quit when fellow board member Randy Ruedrich, who was also chairman of the Alaska Republican Party, refused to give up his party role despite what many saw as a conflict of interest. Palin accused Ruedrich of engaging in politics on government time, and he was ultimately fined $11,000 — the largest ethics fine in Alaska's history. He resigned his AOGCC post (he remains to this day head of the Alaska GOP). Palin was perceived as a whistle-blower, willing to call out her own party. Less than two years later, Palin won Murkowski's job. "She was going to stand up to the corrupt administration, she was going to expose wrongdoing, she was going to slay the evil dragon," says Larry Persily, a former Palin aide who now works for a Republican state legislator. "She knows how to position herself. She knows how to appeal to the public, and that was a great move."

In her announcement on July 3, Palin sought to portray her resignation in much the same way: a selfless act that should earn her kudos for saving taxpayers' money. "Many just accept that lame-duck status, hit the road, draw the paycheck and milk it. I'm not putting Alaska through that — I promised efficiencies and effectiveness," she said. "I love my job, and I love Alaska. It hurts to make this choice, but I am doing what's best for Alaska."

Perhaps. But this time around, her motives don't ring as true. "In some ways, she is trying to repeat that feat," Persily says. "But there are some flaws in the argument. Under her thinking, every second-term governor or President was a misfit for staying in office because you can't run for re-election. That doesn't make sense."

2. Bye-Bye, Bipartisanship
At the start of her term in 2006, Palin's platform looked much more Democratic than Republican. She picked up on Dem calls for ethics reform and backed Democratic stands against oil- and gas-company interests. She made limited mention of abortion and other social-conservative issues. She would also visit the legislative offices, sometimes bringing fresh baked cookies and bagels. "I'm sure she visited some Republicans, but mostly the people she visited were Democrats," says Alaska representative Harry Crawford, an Anchorage Democrat who has known Palin for more than a decade. "With Sarah, we were able to do things that we'd been trying to do for 25 years. Everything she can point to in terms of achievements was done with nearly uniform Democrats votes and just a smattering of Republican votes."

But her vice-presidential candidacy remolded Palin in the eyes of Alaskan Democrats from a moderate willing to reach out across the aisle to a bomb thrower who accused Barack Obama of "palling around with terrorists." As she became more partisan, she lost support in Alaska — her favorable poll numbers are now in the mid-50s, down from the 80s before she was tapped for VP. Without the Democrats, her agenda has gone nowhere, and she's now attacked from both the left and the right. "I saw her on the elevator in the beginning of session in January," Crawford says. "I said, 'Good afternoon.' She didn't even reply. She was standing there six inches from me, and she didn't say a word. We've hardly seen each other since. This was someone I considered a friend."

Other legislators lay the blame at the Democrats' door. "I believe the word came down from national Democrats to local Democrats to do everything in their power to take her down," says state senator Gene Therriault, a Republican who represents the town of North Pole. "We started seeing a proliferation of ethics complaints against her. It was an orchestrated effort to take her down." Either way, all sides agree that the relationship is irreparable.

3. Do-Nothing Governor
Palin knew that coming back to Alaska wasn't going to be fun and that she'd face a lot of criticism. Her response has been to withdraw. Excluding the budget and appropriations bills, which are mandatory, she has introduced next to very little legislation. In his third legislative session in office, Murkowski introduced 32 bills and saw 19 made into law. In her third session, Palin has introduced 12 bills — none that could be considered sweeping measures — and only one has made it into law.

But Palin has spent a lot of time saying no. She fought to reject federal stimulus money, even though Alaska's legislature is expected to override her final veto of 3% of the funds intended for Alaska. She also spent a great deal of effort trying to keep a Democratic representative from taking a vacant state senate seat. Juneau representative Beth Kerttula, a former Palin ally on energy issues, made the mistake of going on national TV and saying that Palin wasn't ready for higher office. Over the space of six weeks, Palin not only rejected Kerttula but every Democrat put forth by the Juneau Democratic Party for the vacant seat, bringing the state senate to a near standstill. On the last day of session, Palin finally accepted a neutral candidate, former Juneau mayor Dennis Egan. "The governor was on the brink of being taken to court in violation of appointment statutes," says senator Hollis French, an Anchorage Democrat. "All because she was trying to rebuke Beth, who during the campaign said one or two things that weren't ingratiating to the governor."

4. Remember Me, America?
Meanwhile, Palin's attempts to engage on the national stage have flopped. Partly because Alaska is so far away, her trips outside the state were noticed by Alaskans, and may well have affected her ability to govern. When she nominated a highly controversial figure for state attorney general, for example, most members of her own party joined the vote to reject him. Palin might have been able to persuade them to support the nomination, but she was out of the state, speaking to a pro-life group in Evansville, Ind.

She has also found it increasingly difficult to campaign and fundraise for 2010 congressional candidates, and her Twittering from Wasilla is like shouting from the top of Mount McKinley for all that it's heard in the lower 48. The only news that does break through nationally are tabloid items like her fights with Levi Johnston and David Letterman. "I buy that you want to spend more time with your family, the stress and demands of five children and a husband. I can buy that you want to push your conservative agenda. I would buy that she thought that she could do more on a national scale because of her popularity and because of her Hollywood stature," says representative Charisse Millett, an Anchorage Republican. "But the lame-duck analogy — you don't do that. You don't quit the game. I wish that she could've been a better example for my daughter and Alaska's daughters."

5. Show Me the Money
Between her husband's income and her own salary, Sarah Palin is by no means poor. But the Palins have had to spend more than $500,000 to deal with the 15 ethics complaints filed against Palin by various outside groups in the past eight months. Palin has been exonerated in all cases, but Alaskan law states that she has to use her own money to defend herself. More cases were expected, which could've become expensive with four kids (and a grandchild) still living at home.

Quitting frees up her time for speaking engagements; politicians of Palin's stature get as much as $50,000 a pop. "I don't think Sarah Palin is a politician. I don't think she wants to be a politician. I think she wants to be an inspirational leader," says representative Mike Doogan, an Anchorage Democrat. "She has the opportunity to make a drop-dead amount of money in the next 18 months." Without resigning, she might have been looking at more than $1 million in legal fees over her remaining 16 months in office. Now she's looking at an unlimited, and very green, horizon.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Palin's speech had shades of Nixon, circa '62

By Andrew Malcolm and Johanna Neuman
July 5, 2009
The announcement by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin that she was bowing out of Alaska politics on the eve of the Fourth of July left a lot of people scratching their heads. Palin's friends report that she is genuinely sick of the attacks that seem to be part of the fabric of national politics these days.

But Palin's hastily announced news conference also had all the earmarks of Richard Nixon's famous concession speech in 1962, after he lost the campaign for California governor to Democrat Pat Brown. Nixon's rant was also a last-minute affair. Reporters had been told that Nixon -- a former congressman and senator who served as Dwight D. Eisenhower's vice president from 1952 to 1960 and lost the 1960 presidential race to John F. Kennedy -- would not be making a public appearance.

Instead, Nixon surprised even his staff by taking the microphone and, at the end of a rambling, 16-minute discourse on national and state politics, he dramatically left the stage:

"I leave you gentleman now and you will write it. You will interpret it. That's your right. But as I leave you I want you to know -- just think how much you're going to be missing. You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference, and it will be one in which I have welcomed the opportunity to test wits with you."

Like Nixon, Palin seemed fraught with emotion. Like Nixon, she seemed angry at her critics.

Of course to the surprise of his detractors, Nixon recovered. He spent the next six years stumping the country, piling up chits from grateful politicians who benefited from his endorsements, chits he cashed in during his successful 1968 run for the presidency.

Palin gave no hints of her future, except to say that a person can influence from outside the electoral process as well as inside the governor's office. Maybe Palin, who landed on the national political map in August when Republican John McCain plucked her from Wasilla, Alaska, as his vice presidential running mate, is planning to follow the Nixon playbook on that front too.

Fox News has Obama to thank

President Obama may be obsessed with the critical coverage of Fox News, as often reported. But the cable news channel sure must love him.

The latest ratings out for the second quarter show that the top-rated FNC had one of the best quarters in its history, with prime-time ratings jumping an astounding 34%. That 8-to-11 p.m. slot, which includes Fox's showcase "The O'Reilly Factor," is crucial for viewers -- and ad dollars.

Throughout the viewing day, Fox News did even better, with its 1.2 million viewers, on average, more than doubling CNN's 598,000 and more than tripling MSNBC's 392,000.

Loyal Ticket readers will recall back in May when White House official Kareem Dale revealed in a speech that MSNBC was the Obama administration's favorite TV channel. And that liberal affection seems to have rubbed off on Obama backers, helping the NBC outlet to barely squeak past CNN in weekday prime-time average audience, 946,000 to 939,000.

Will Lakers fans forgive Obama?

Chicagoan and basketballophile Obama appears to be writing off the California vote in 2012, at least the basketball fans around Los Angeles.

In a pre-holiday interview with the Associated Press, Obama was asked who was the better player -- six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan or four-time champion Kobe Bryant?

Without a moment's hesitation, the ex-senator from Illinois blurted out, "Oh, Michael!"

Then, apparently realizing what he'd said and the profound effect on any 2012 election, the new president hastened to add: "I mean, Kobe's terrific. Don't get me wrong. But I haven't seen anybody match up with Jordan yet."

Too late.

Obama correctly picked the Los Angeles Lakers to thump the Orlando whatevers in the NBA Finals this year. And he was also right in picking North Carolina to win the NCAA championship this spring.

But then he also picked tax delinquent Tom Daschle as secretary of Health and Human Services.

Now, we'll see how the left-handed White Sox fan does on the mound at the upcoming All-Star Game in St. Louis.

Neuman writes for The Times.

Rove: Palin part of 'risky strategy'

WASHINGTON (AP) — One of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's potential presidential rivals says her abrupt resignation won't allow her to dodge scrutiny over her family.
And George W. Bush's former chief political aide says Palin's strategy is unclear, at best.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Sunday that Palin's announcement that she is resigned while still in her first term doesn't make sense in a conventional political setting.
Bush's political adviser Karl Rove says Palin has engaged in a "risky strategy."
Huckabee, who ran for president in 2008, says he isn't sure if he'll run in 2012. He does say that Palin remains a viable candidate despite her decision to quit the governor's office.
Huckabee and Rove appeared on "Fox News Sunday."

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sarah Palin To Resign As Alaska Governor

At Hastily Convened Press Conference Says She Will Not Run for 2nd Term, Mum On Future Plans

(CBS) Last Updated 3:44 p.m. ET.

Sarah Palin has announced that she will resign as governor of Alaska and will not seek a second term.

CBS Affiliate KTVA reports that at a press conference this morning Palin said she will resign the governorship within a few weeks. producer Scott Conroy, who covered Palin's vice presidential campaign last year, confirmed through a source close to the governor said she is leaving office.

Earlier today, a holiday, Palin sent out an early morning press release indicating that she would be making an announcement from her home in Wasilla.

Joining Palin were her parents, family and state commissioners.

Palin said that power will be transferred to Lt. Governor Sean Parnell, who will be sworn in during the upcoming governor's picnic in Fairbanks.

She did not field questions, and would not give any indications about her future plans.

Palin Announcement Forthcoming

Posted by David S Morgan

The office of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin issued a press release today saying she will make an announcement from her home in Wasilla today at 11:00 a.m. local time (3:00 p.m. ET).

There was no indication as to the topic of the announcement. producer Scott Conroy, who covered Palin's vice presidential campaign last year, said it is rare that Palin sends a press release out nationally.