Palin in Des Moines

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is due to speak soon in Des Moines.  A crowd of over 1500 is assembled in Hy-Vee Hall, seated around tables, 10 chairs at each table, with a piece of chocolate cake ready for each guest.  Click here; the audio from the speech is at the bottom of the page. What follows is a live blog of the event.

The pastor who delivered this evening’s prayer gave a brief speech beforehand which was interrupted frequently with applause.  State Auditor Dave Vaudt led the crowd in saying The Pledge, then Congressman Steve King gave a brief speech, followed by Congressman Tom Latham’s brief remarks. 

About an hour ago Iowa Republican Party chairman Matt Strawn said tonight’s event is “tightly scripted” — which means some candidates will not be given a chance to speak.

Jim Gibbons, the former Iowa State University wrestling coach who ran for congress in the third district, is the chairman of the banquet. Gibbons said the party found out about the event “about two weeks ago and the response has been overwhelming.”

Gibbons is introducing the candidates in the audience, state legislators and candidates for the legislature, followed by the statewide candidates who are here (Ag Secretary Bill Northey’s at a convention somewhere), concluding with the congressional candidates.  Gibbons gave a special zing to his introduction of Brad Zaun, the man who beat Gibbons in the June Primary.

Chuck Grassley gets to the stage just before seven o’clock.  The crowd rises to applaud. (It’s his 77th birthday today, BTW, but I hear no one singing “Happy Birthday” to Grass-lee.)  “Can I make one thing clear…that we work for you, you don’t work for us?” Grassley began.  His speech text sounds quite similar to the one he delivered at the state GOP convention in late June.

“Barbara and I have always appreciated your support…We need your support this year.  Together, we will reclaim America,” Grassley said in conclusion.

Terry Branstad, the GOP nominee for governor, is next, at 7:02 p.m.  “God Bless You Iowa Republicans.  I’m glad to be back and I’m going to lead this whole ticket to victory this fall with your help,” Branstad yelled to open his remarks.

“This is a great turn-out and I want to thank all of you for being here.  I want to thank Sarah Palin for drawing such a great crowd,” Branstad said. 

Branstad concluded at 7:08 p.m. “Let’s lead the whole Republican team, including the legislature to victory.  Thank you all very much.”

The lights were dimmed.  A video montage of President Ronald Reagan is being played.  At 7:10 p.m. Iowa GOP chair Strawn is on stage, talking about Reagan.

“It was Iowa, in 2008, that helped propel Obama to the White House but my, oh my, how Iowa has changed,” Strawn said before touting the slate of Iowa Republican candidates on the November ballot.

Strawn introduces Palin at 7:12 p.m.

“Welcome, welcome,’ Palin said.  “Thank you so much Iowa.  I am so honored to be here…Great to be in the Hawkeye State and happy Constitution Day to you all.”

Palin noted it is National POW/MIA Day today, too, and she asked veterans in the audience to stand for a round of applause.

“We do you thank you and we honor you,” Palin said.

Palin told a story about wanted to go for a run today “in your most beautiful state” so she could enjoy the fall weather.  She said she donned a Hawkeye t-shirt and a Cyclone cap. It was “showing love for the home team,” she said.

Palin told the crowd her husband, Todd, advised her to run on the treadmill in the hotel.  The punchline would be a headline in Vanity Fair, according to Palin, which would read: “Palin, in Iowa, decides to run.”

The crowd laughed and clapped. “Oh, but I did run. Outside the box.

Palin praised Branstad and talked about her Twitter endorsement of him.  “Someday I hope my son is big enough and strong enough to shake your next governor’s hand, Gerry Branstad’s,” she said.

Palin next talked about Iowa’s senior senator. “Senator Grassley has a special place in my heart.  He’s the only guy who loves to Twitter as much as I do,” Palin quipped.

She mentions Grassley’s 77th birthday, the praised him for opposing the “mother of all unfunded mandates” — the health care reform package.

Palin advocated “reform and replace” rather than repeal of the “government over-reach in Washington.”

Palin did a shout out to Brenna Findley, the GOP candidate for Iowa attorney general, and Kim Reynolds, Branstad’s running mate.

You are good people, Iowa,” Palin said, to applause. “Iowa and all across the great U.S., we have some great common sense conservatives who are putting it all on the line…fighting, fighting for what is right and a lot of them just fought some tough primary battles…Competition is good.  Healthy competition breeds success…and this all reveals character.

“But the time for primary debate is over.  It’s time for unity..because the time for choosing is near. 

“It is time to unite.  If the goal really is to take away the gavel from Pelosi and Reid and to stop the Obama agenda…then it is time to unite and congratulations to the primary voters and to the primary victors.

“Now, unsuccessful GOP campaigns and deflated political pundits, remember: attitudes are contagious, so make sure yours are worth catching.  Quick, just quick woodshed moment.  I think that’s just what mom’s kind of gotta do and momma grizzlies, but I’ll try not to growl, OK? But unsuccessful campaigns and Beltway pundits, all bent out of shape right now after some recent primary battles, I’ve got to ask:  Did you ever lose a big game growing? I’ve lost.  I’ve lost games, races,reputation.  You lose some, you win some. 

“…I know growing up, my folks would say, ‘Show grace.  Reveal character.’…My dad was more along the lines of ‘Don’t retreat, just reload.’

The audience applauded.

“Either way, it’s for the sake of our country…Reload with character and truth and helpful efforts to restore what’s right about America and what will work for America…So let us unite.  Primary voters have spoken.

“Now, I don’t know how the machine works.  I don’t really know who they are…up in that hierarchy in the GOP machine…I think some of those experts were the ones who were wrong…so I don’t know who organizes the efforts that is needed to put obsessive partisanship aside when it gets in the way of just doing what is right for the American people and those internal power struggles that need to be set aside for the good of the order.”

She next talked about “the great Awakening of America” and the need to raise money and knock on doors.

“We’ve got to hold the press accountable when you know that they’re making things up and telling untruths.  We’ve got to do this together,” Palin said.

The crowd applauded.

“And by the way, I am the biggest proponent of freedom of the press in this country, our young men and women in uniform willing to fight and die for our constitutional rights, including that right to have free press. It’s why I am hot on this lamestream media issue…How dare anyone disrespect the troops’ sacrifice by claiming the right to print and say anything without a corresponding responsibility to truth!”

More applause.

“And in this kind of strange, unaccountable day of anyone and everyone getting to claim that they are a journalist…when the media uses…anonymous sources to cowardly attack someone…they are cowards and the journalists perpetuating the problem, the untruths, they are gutless.”

“…And we’ve got to call it like we see it or things will never change, America.”

Palin next mentioned President George W. Bush’s chief political advisor who has been critical of Christine O’Donnell, Palin’s pick in the Delaware primary who won this past Tuesday.  “And Karl.  Go to, here.  You can come to Iowa and Karl Rove and the other leaders who will see the light and realize that these are just the normal, hardworking, patriot Americans who are saying, ‘No. Enough is enough. We want to turn this around and we want to get back to those time-tested truths that are right for America.’

“But Iowa, but we won’t wait, though as we desire the sincere effort knowing that yes, everyone can help.  Those with scruples, working together…This is it, GOP.  This is out time.  We can’t blow it, but we won’t wait for that political playbook to be handed us from on high, from the elites, to tell us what to do.  We won’t do that.”

Palin referred to the second stimulus as “nonsense.”  She quoted an analysis of the cost of each job created by the first stimulus. “And I’m the idiot, hmm,yeah!” Palin joked.

“…November 2nd is just ahead and that’s shaping up to be a great day for America.”

She touted tax cuts for all, keeping all the Bush tax cuts intact. “Cutting taxes.  It works.  Mayors do it,” Palin said.  “…Governors do it…Hey, so feds, let the private sector soar and America will soar again.”

She talked about Obama’s foreign policy, quoting a European official who called it “enemy centric.”

“There’s a disturbing pattern here of reaching out to our sworn enemies…foolish, and how long can that go on,” Palin said.

The Obama Administration’s foreign policy is “a far cry from Ronald Reagan days,” according to Palin, who cited a Reagan quote:  “We win.  They lose.”

She begins to wind down, saying it’s time to reprioritize. “It may take some renegades to get us there…Shakin’ it up to get there.”

“…Lately, there hasn’t been much coming out of Washington that deserves our support…and based on what I’ve seen over the past year…Times may be tough, but there are signs of hope all over the place…Des Moines, Davenport and Dover, Delaware.”

She mentions the “Tea Parties.”

“…So between now and November we’re going to stand up and speak up…We’re going to elect leaders who have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”

“…Iowa, it starts here.  It starts tonight.  Let’s get it back.  God bless Iowa.  God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.”

She ended her speech at 7:46 p.m.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Love Palin. Go for the Senate!

  2. Palin is great!!

  3. Palin is great!! Go for the senate!