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Sarah Palin watch: She looks trim, fit -- and brimming with energy and plans

By Ann Gerhart

It had been a while since we had seen Sarah Palin live and in person. And then she popped onto stage Saturday night at the National Tea Party convention in Nashville, and we made these observations:

1) She's lost a lot of weight, perhaps 15 pounds. She looked trim and firm, like she's hoisting the barbells or maybe chopping wood. Her chair at the head table was empty; if she had the shrimp and filet mignon served to attendees, she ate in her hotel room.

2) She wore a fitted black suit, black hose and high black platform heels. She had on three opera-length strands of pearls, two white and one multi-colored. In her lapel, a small pin with two flags -- for Israel and the United States.

3) She was animated and full of energy, so much so that she kept knocking her microphone with her hand as she made her points. Hope the Texans are ready for her when she campaigns Sunday for Gov. Rick Perry. She certainly looks like a woman who has some plans.

By Ann Gerhart  |  February 7, 2010; 12:08 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Sarah Palin  
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Next: Was that writing on Palin's palm in Nashville?


Palin is at one and the same time currently one of the strongest -- maybe *the* strongest -- potential national leader of the Republican Party, yet also is a weak link due simply to her relatively little experience. That latter is *not* a personal attack; it's one of her attractions that she is from so far outside the Beltway.

At least Obama had both state and federal experience, and comes from a major state. Bush didn't have the Washington experience, but he was a reasonably successful governor in Texas, a major state in its own right. He also could ask his Father for some guidance.

From afar, it appears to me that Palin has been co-opted, just as the Tea Bagger movement has been, by the far right wing of the Republican Party. (Not that I'm any fonder of the far left wing of the Democrat Party, mind you; such extremism, from either end of the political spectrum, is beyond the pale.)

Of course, we're still upwards of three years away from the next Presidential election, so maybe another Republican will emerge as a strong party leader and potential Presidential candidate. Or Palin could be tripped up, either through an error in judgment on her part, tripped up by her opponents, or a decision gone bad on the part of her handlers and advisers.

Also, if the economy has recovered to a significant degree and if we're along the road towards getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan, maybe some people who now support her will abandon that support.

We'll see. . . .

Posted by: MekhongKurt1 | February 10, 2010 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin...OMG what a powerful woman!Every day she just gets stronger and stronger. Her message gets stronger and stronger.
And how does that make you feel? I know it's hard to bear. All you nobodies from nowhere bloggers here whinging and whining with your tired old vicious hate-Palin attacks.
You all just come across so ridiculous and pointless.Losers all.
WAKE UP PEOPLE!! You ain't going to win by bashing the messenger! It's the message people. Bash the message!
PS Don't forget to catch Sarah's next appearance. You hate her but you just cannot keep your eyes off her! HA! HA! HA!LOSERS!

Posted by: sarah4pres | February 8, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

If our country is counting on leadership as clueless and uninformed as Palin, the fall of the 'American Empire' will come sooner rather than later.
If you listen to comments from the rest of the world, our recovery may take up to 10 years, if handled properly. Proper handling may include raising taxes, creating better educated people and better jobs, and building some sense of direction in our political system. Welfare and unemployment benefits are a delay of the inevitable as they are a somewhat necessary, but very expensive, burden.
Sarah wants to cut taxes (a short term, popular idea with potentially disastrous results), teach our children 'Intelligent Design' (we can pray our way out of this mess), and create havoc in Washington to further her career.
I don't agree with some of Obama's management methods. More control of banks and Wall Street must be made or history will repeat and he hasn’t been tough enough on that issue. Capitalism without some morality will destroy us and I’m far from convinced that those problems have been addressed. Obama should do more to stop the 'poker style' Wall Street mentality but who do you think is criticized with 'Big Gov't' accusations when the issues are discussed? Who in hell can attempt to set limits on the super-powerful other than the government? If Obama doesn’t do a good job, vote for someone else in the next election. Obama won the election because of this issue. Now, we want to listen to the critics who don’t have a clue about alternatives but have no problem slinging mud and belittling his efforts. Obama narrowly avoided a 2nd depression with big gov’t. spending that would have made the 1st depression look like a tea party. People today wouldn’t stand quietly in bread lines and the outcome would have resulted in massive problems.
We have stood quietly while previous administrations have given tax breaks and hands-on support to other countries resulting in massive job losses and our economic problems. Our economy, and the rest of the world, is based on the creation of goods and services that can be exchanged with each other to create wealth and prosperity. Look at countries like Haiti if you don’t believe this. They have little to offer the world in terms of goods and services even though the people, in general, appear to be law abiding and god loving people. Their poverty is extreme.
Change comes from the people. Improvement comes from well informed people. If we spend our time listening to Palin and many of the others that sit on either side of the aisles, we are wasting valuable time. Let’s start focusing as a nation on the extremely important issues of job growth and Wall Street control, and let’s not forget about appropriate changes to health care. If I don’t hear another word about gay rights, abortion, church vs state, and birthing, it’ll be too soon.

Posted by: dfitzsiga | February 8, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, Washington Post writers aren't familiar with American symbols or traditions. They're too busy with their Communist propoganda. The star lapel pin is actually a symbol used since World War I to denote that Mrs. Palin has one child serving in the war. If she had two children serving in the war, there would be two stars, three etc.

Posted by: shd1963 | February 8, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

How much was she paid for her appearance? She goes nowhere without a fee, even when she is preaching to the choir. And I'll bet she would have charged an extra fee if they wanted her seated at the head table. She doesn't appear to me to be a mingler in large groups.

I was so hoping that the "tea party" would organize for the good of the American People in a non-partisan way. Those hopes have been dashed. It's an arm of the tripe slinging Party of NO. Palin is the proof.

Posted by: Still_Independent | February 8, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Sarah is the new Neocon tool.

Next, we'll be seeing the right wing media start targeting American politicians who don't wear both US and Israeli flag lapel pins.

"What?! You don't love Israel? Then why aren't you wearing the pin?"

Posted by: TheOldSchool | February 8, 2010 2:20 AM | Report abuse

The "Tea Party" is a movement? Considering that it's steeped in the rantings of birthers, 'baggers, & bigots, it's a "movement" all right . . . the kind to be flushed.

Posted by: Bugs222 | February 7, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post: your number-one source for breaking lapel pin news.

Posted by: okjuggler | February 7, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I bet not one of the people in this thread who are badmouthing her speech or her interview with Chris Wallace watched more than thirty seconds of either, if at all. You know it's true, you haters and liars.

Both of them were as good as the Couric interview was bad. She just gave a bang-up hour-long extemporaneous speech and follow-up Q & A with nothing more than three lines of reminder notes on the palm of her hand. Barack Obama has never done anything like that in his entire life.

Posted by: JohnSkookum | February 7, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

@OleLadySquawking -- you said re Palin wearing an Israel flag her lapel: Blatant pandering... or a slap in the face to the rest of the World?

How is wearing the flag of the only democracy in the Middle East a slap in the face of the rest of the world? You'd rather she wear the Saudi flag or the Iranian flag?

Frankly, she doesn't DESERVE to wear the flag of Israel in her lapel. Even if she were to see Jerusalem from her house.

Posted by: kperl | February 7, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Was this article suppose to be on the style page? Whether you are a fan or not of the former governor, you should be appalled that more time is spent on her attire rather than her policies. By the way what are her policies?

Posted by: Judy_L | February 7, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"We win; you lose."--that's her foreign policy. It sounds like a high school sports cheer. If Palin gains support, the GOP is in real trouble. McCain's stature sank as it became clear that he had chosen someone not ready to be vp; the same thing will happen to the GOP after more speeches like this. A Palin candidacy in 2012 will assure four more years of Obama.

Posted by: ElinorMiller | February 7, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Why in the world does she feel the need to wear the Israeli flag. Is she running for office there too?

Blatant pandering... or a slap in the face to the rest of the World?

Wow what a leader.

Posted by: OleLadySquawking | February 7, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

By now even notes on her palm cannot organize her ramblings and I think that she has such a large constituency is a reflection of the lack of choice there really is in DC between Republicans and Democrats. All have overspent and over governed. But the truly shocking thing is she wore the flag of another country on her lapel? Does she somehow think the US and Israel as one and the same or does she think that of all the other countries in the world, Germany, Japan, France, China dont exist? What would people have said if she wore a Mexican flag next to the US flag? Amazing

Posted by: Amazed2 | February 7, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Palin certainly has no "plans" for America. Her speech last night was devoid of any realistic policy agendas and high on insults. That's a tough sell to voters fed up with partisan fluff.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | February 7, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing that "being Palin-stupid" can be an asset in politics...but given the average intelligence of the typical high school class, sadly it is possible.

"I can think of two words right now that scare liberals," Phillips said. "President Palin."

Everybody should be afraid of such a thing. At least Bush knew he was stupid and brought Cheney along to tell him what to do. Palin actually think she knows.

Posted by: RainyDayIntern | February 7, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Tried to watch her speech. Made no sense at all. And I see where she was using her 'hand-o-prompter' to help her through the hard parts. Her hair looked awful.

So this is the Great White Hope?

Posted by: cfeher | February 7, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Jeeze gang, it's a blog. What blogs are you reading that you expect something different?

Posted by: Section506 | February 7, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

So now the Washington Post is giving fashion reports?

I wonder if, the the RNC in 2008, the tea baggers paid for Sarah's fitted black suit, black hose and high black platform heels? And I wonder who paid the WP to run this meaningless piece of fluff?

Posted by: laSerenissima2003 | February 7, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of one's opinion about Ms. Palin, one should be asking "what the ...? Is this a piece of journalism or piece if something else?" I don't give a hoot about how Obama, McCain, Pelosi, Boehner, Reid, McConnell or any other public figure or, in Ms. Palin's case, would-be public figure looks ("She's lost a lot of weight, perhaps 15 pounds. She looked trim and firm"). Tell me SPECIFICALLY what polcy steps you are going to take, anticipated results, and potential modifications after examining initial results. I read this bl;urb and I'm left wondering if Palin said anything or whether she just walked up and down a catwalk for the conventioneers. That being the case, Gerhart has not earned a paycheck for this flimsy afterthought posing as journalism.

Posted by: JohnBrown08 | February 7, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Why is the media so interested in someone who has nothing to propose and who is unprepared to take on any major political role?
There is so much to instruct the public about in terms of national and international news. Why is so much space given to the minor players? It's toying with the people - it's spam on the front page. An article, yes - a huge headline? No.

Posted by: nettieon | February 7, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

How embarrassing that Palin has all these supporters. Chutzpah and enthusiasm cannot replace a real agenda. I don't know why people are still taking her seriously and God help us if she runs for President. She speaks in generalities with zero policy recommendations. She couldn't even sit out her term as governor; how on earth would she be able to deal with the presidency? She is full of hot air. I feel ill listening to her talk.

Posted by: alisonmlake | February 7, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

PLANS? WHAT? You have got to be kidding me. Forty five minutes of Obama bashing is a plan? How will she create jobs? How will she handle Iran? What will she do in Afghanistan? How will she beef up airport security. What a stupid, worthless headline. Plans? Where the hell are her plans?

Posted by: kubrickstan | February 7, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

"In her lapel, a small pin with two flags -- for Israel and the United States."

How quickly the NeoCons converted Palin into becoming a Zionist. USA and Israel on her lapel? Really?

Posted by: chucky-el | February 7, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I said it before and I'll say it again. They have no positive agenda, only rants. In their quest to "take the country back" the Tea Party is like a dog chasing a car. If they ever catch it they will have no idea what to do with it.

Posted by: rrwickett | February 7, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Have you seen the pictures of the notes she wrote on her hand?

Evidently using the PalmPrompter is just fine for a Q & A (where she clearly had the questions in advance).

After all, she's bouncy! And lost 15 pounds!

Posted by: mainer2 | February 7, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

johnL1 wrote "...She stepped up to a big spotlight tonight with some pressure and I think hit it out of the park.
The contrast of her reading from notes versus Obama's tele-prompters "look left, right, left, right.." was refreshing..."

Women and the nation can do 100% better than having palin as a point person. She can't make an intelligent point on any policy. Her "revolutionary charge" comes from the AIP group that her card carrying husband belong to.

Posted by: MILLER123 | February 7, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

johnL1 wrote "...She stepped up to a big spotlight tonight with some pressure and I think hit it out of the park.
The contrast of her reading from notes versus Obama's tele-prompters "look left, right, left, right.." was refreshing..."

Women and the nation can do 100% better than having palin as a point person. She can't make an intelligent point on any policy. Her "revolutionary charge" comes from the AIP group that her card carrying husband belong to.

Posted by: MILLER123 | February 7, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

sorry articles are grouped to save space I guess. but I'm sure after reading Rucker's piece I'll be able to write the same thing

Posted by: katem1 | February 7, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

sigh, another horrible writing attempt by the inept Phillip Rucker who thought Tiger looked seedy and was still on the downward arc when going to rehab. what a joke of a writer, and this puff piece on Puff the Magic CaribouBarbie belongs in the Enquirer.

Posted by: katem1 | February 7, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

garyk51188 wrote.."|She mentioned her speech was being broadcast on CSPAN,.."

Palin will not sit on the Cspan hot seat nor will she answer questions or take calls from all three parties on Cspan. Her policy for running the country is when things get tough, blame everybody including her own vpotus camp, quit, take the money and run.

Posted by: MILLER123 | February 7, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

John L said it was "refreshing" that she read from notes rather than a teleprompter like Obama.

For someone to think that this meant ANYTHING is just ridiculous and demonstrates that support for Palin - and criticisms of Obama for using a teleprompter for speeches - have nothing to do with rationality.

Meanwhile, Obama gives detailed responses to questions, while Palin can't even track where she is in her answer.

Posted by: mainer2 | February 7, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Gee, I thought I was on the WaPo website, but it seems I got re-directed to Glamour magazine's site.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 7, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

That hopey changey thingy -- how cutte -- is working just fine, despite the atempts of special interests to fire up angry rubes to oppose things that will directly benefit them and their children by paying people like palin 100k a pop to give cutesey folksey speeches to play on their fears.

Really? Hopey changey thingy????? And these people take her seriously? Are they in 3rd grade?

Posted by: John1263 | February 7, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I voted for Palin, but you look foolish with the trim and fit thing. AND she lost 15 pounds? Noo! I expect more from TWP.

Posted by: mcsquared65 | February 7, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Notice the most important things about palin -- she looked nice.

The only time I really would be interested in what she is saying is if she and todd were in a film and she was shreiking "drill baby, drill!"

Otherwise she is just another empty headed bim.

Posted by: John1263 | February 7, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Grousing about other people is not an "idea". Constantly criticizing other people is not "policy". Bouncing anger off of other people's efforts is not "change". A cunnt with a sugary sweet "folksy" banter is not a choice.

Posted by: swatkins1 | February 7, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

I say bring her on... I thought it was funny she had notes on her hand. She used the palmpromter! That was a hate speech nothing new....from the pinned up barbie that is aging from the looks her her neck..

Posted by: 2mtsenie | February 7, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Millions of U.S. Citizens still seek Real Change. There are good ideas and issues with both Democrats and Republicans. Same with this Teaparty Mix. But, still So much control by a few at the top of all 3!? The average so-called 'Independent' might vote in any direction,- depending on major directions of which ever Party. How do We-the-People Unite, without being manipulated and controled by the $BANKsters? - At the so-called Teaparty, Palin sounded pretty good to me.- And I Voted for Obama. So confusing. Who to believe? All of them say one thing, and then do another. Patriots want to Unite. But, in which direction do they/we turn? Most true Patriots are Not hard-core Leftists or Rightists! Not hard-core Conservative or Liberal! Still too much fracture, and selfish- (I have the best idea/way). Sara Palin is Not the usual Teapartier. She is above many of them. Above the anti-Obama rhetoric. Patriots just want what is best for WE-the-People. The NeoCons involved with the Teaparty are out of place. And will never fit in with mainstream Patriotism. Patriots are Not RED, BLUE, GREEN, BROWN, or whatever. We are Americans,- and want Our Elected Officials to be Honest, and keep Promises. We want Our Government to be OUR's! NO more $BANKster, Lobbyist, WALLster, OR $Tooo-Bigs manipulating, using, and destroying OUR REPUBLIC. - I, and many others are willing to give Palin an ear, and maybe a vote,- but the anti-Patriot NeoCons are Not for the Constitution, or the Bill-of-Rights,- they are only for themselves. - Hopefully, the Teaparty will grow out of the "only-Republican-conservatives-allowed" mentality.

Posted by: jward52 | February 7, 2010 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Why tell us about her costume and energy level? If previous reports are telling the truth the woman drinks caffiene beverages all the time. She is hopped up! Where was the substance to her speech? All it amounted to was bashing without alternative ideas. Red meat for the crowd but a bit disingenuous for $100,000.

Posted by: Thinking4 | February 7, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

I'd bet McCain is ruing the day he ever thought picking Palin for a candidate was a good idea. Now the GOP can't get this never-was out of their hair...

I'm sorry, but sitting around complaining about the president can hardly be called a "tea party." More like a clambake...

When dems talk smack about a GOP president, it's "un-American." When GOP fanatics do the same thing, it constitutes a "tea party?" Seriously, gimme a break.

Posted by: kogejoe | February 7, 2010 6:43 AM | Report abuse

No doubt about it, chrystal meth has taken over the rightwing...particularly that whacked woman on the podium.

Posted by: seakeys | February 7, 2010 6:20 AM | Report abuse

The speech (which I am sure was written for her) was a predictable attack on Obama and predictably it was built on all sorts of false premises ("stop apologizing for the troops," the underwear bomber was only interrogated for 50 minutes, "We need a commander-in-chief not a professor of law," and yada yada yada).

Her plan? Follow the Constitution. Cut spending (though she never said what she would cut), jump start domestic oil drilling, and when it comes to national security "we win, they lose." Yes, she has no more appetite for anything approaching an actual policy detail now than she did in her disastrous '08 interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric.

Lots of blowing kisses to people in uniform, lots of gratuitous references to Ronald Reagan, of course had to tell us again that children are victimized by the elitist liberal media, and plenty of wrapping herself in her pro-life Christianity, and (most memorably) even a weird, melodramatic and delusional stab at imaginary martyrdom in advance ("I will live, I will die for the people of America.")

Stylistically, still not ready for prime time. Her delivery was rushed and high pitched, she flubbed lots of what were supposed to be her own phrases, she kept knocking the microphones while gesticulating clumsily with her arms, and she had to refer to notes written on her left hand when answering the small number of adoring softball written questions during the brief Q&A period.

But the media has decided that a half term former Alaska governor's speech to five hundred people in a Nashville hotel is such a very important event that every cable network had to show it live in its entirety, and every metropolitan newspaper covers it as a front page story.

Caribou Celebrity Barbie talking to 500 teabag groupies is catnip to the media, so this speech therefore must really be very important ... right? I mean, that IS how you can tell what's important, right?

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 7, 2010 5:37 AM | Report abuse

Methinks she had been sniffing white stuff before getting on the stage. Anyway, she was all soundbites and no specifics, as usual.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | February 7, 2010 5:24 AM | Report abuse

She mentioned her speech was being broadcast on CSPAN, but don't look for Healthcare proceedings there. She blasted the backroom deals, special interest courting, and Washington telling you what you want, even though you don't want it. A great line, "How's that hopey-changey thing workin' out for you?" "To win a war, we need a commander in chief, not a professor of law," she said.

I think voters expected Washington to do what they said they would do on this new deal. All they've done is help us jump from the frying pan into the fire -- and reprimand us for noticing. Amazing arrogance.

Posted by: garyk51188 | February 7, 2010 4:06 AM | Report abuse

Does she even have a high school education? Anybody that worships this empty headed bimbo is pathetic. If she cared so much about Alaska, why did she resign a post she made a lot of promises to get elected to? $$MONEY$$ CHA CHING! I hope she got your $350! This bimbo is laughing all the way to the bank. These people that think she cares about America are living in a fantasy world. All Sarah Palin cares about is Sarah Palin. She will say anything that she thinks will get her fame and fortune. Keep giving her money and bowing down to her. You'll get what you deserve from her...nothing but lies...

Posted by: firecat20906 | February 7, 2010 3:06 AM | Report abuse

OMG. What plans did she actually talk about? I could care less how much she weighs, what she wore, or what her energy level was. Did she say anything worth reporting? (Apparently not.)

Posted by: seasea1 | February 7, 2010 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Solutions would be welcome.

Posted by: onifadee | February 7, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

She stepped up to a big spotlight tonight with some pressure and I think hit it out of the park.
The contrast of her reading from notes versus Obama's tele-prompters "look left, right, left, right.." was refreshing.
And yes, her energy was so intense that it took her a few minutes to settle down.

Posted by: johnL1 | February 7, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

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