No mention of Romney as Palin serves up anti-Obama red meat
By Shannon Travis, CNN Political Reporter
LAS VEGAS (CNN) – Though Sarah Palin has recently endorsed several political candidates, she has yet to give an official nod to Mitt Romney. And on Friday, as she rallied conservative bloggers toward “victory in 2012″ — Palin didn’t even mention Romney’s name.
The former Alaska governor gave the keynote speech on the opening night of the RightOnline conference in Las Vegas — a gathering of conservative leaders and new media activists. About 1,000 people descended on the city to attend the group’s fifth annual event.
Much of Palin’s speech was aimed at encouraging the grassroots activists ahead of the November elections.
“Without you there probably wouldn’t be a tea party movement,” Palin said. “Thus no 2010 electoral victory, thus no hope for victory in 2012.”
She did not mention Romney as part of that potential victory.
Palin has praised Romney in the past. At one point during the Republican primary, she told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace that Romney was “a great candidate.” Yet during that same interview, Palin took some swipes at the former Massachusetts governor.
“I trust that his idea of conservatism is evolving, and I base this on a pretty moderate past that he has had, even in some cases a liberal past,” Palin said. “I am not convinced [of Romney's conservatism] and I don’t think that the majority of GOP and independent voters are convinced.”
During the primaries, Palin spoke well of Newt Gingrich, admitting in March that she voted for the former House Speaker in Alaska’s caucuses. More recently, Palin’s political action committee, SarahPac, has listed her endorsements of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch in his re-election battle, and senate hopefuls Ted Cruz of Texas, Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Richard Mourdock of Indiana.
Palin could help Romney, indirectly, in other ways. One way: firing up the base and possibly independents with a steady diet of anti-President Obama red meat.
While accusing the mainstream media of not properly vetting the president, Palin said: “We would have known, had the media done its job, of his strange attraction to the most leftist — radical of leftist ideas.” And seizing on a hot button issue, the former Alaska governor charged, “If [the news media] had done their job, perhaps we would not be shocked to know that our White House would politicize national security by leaking highly confidential information to prop up the polls.”
Last week, the president broadly dismissed such claims.
“The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive, it’s wrong, and people, I think, need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me approach this office,” Obama said.
Palin was also relentless in her attacks against the media. Large chunks of her speech were devoted to blasting reporters for, what she called “lies.”
“According to news reports over these years, shoot, by now – I guess I should’ve been divorced how many times?” Palin said. “And under FBI investigation. And living in Montana. Or the Hamptons. Lately it’s been the Hamptons. It is still a great mystery: who really is Trig Paxon Van Palin’s real mother?”
Meanwhile, some of Palin’s zings were directed at members of her own party.
As she hailed last year’s pro-Gov. Scott Walker rallies in Wisconsin, Palin said: “Remember, while we were in Wisconsin defending tough, needed fiscal reform, some back in the establishment in [Washington] D.C., they were already walking back their promises to cut $100 billion dollars from deficit.”
In the 2010 midterm elections, House Republicans promised to cut $100 billion in spending, something they did not achieve.
“The permanent political class broke promises that they never intended to keep,” she said.
And as she praised the work of the conservative bloggers and new media activists – calling them “an army of Davids against the Goliath of the old media that still wants to deceive” – Palin urged them to keep their grassroots street cred.
“Whatever the outcome is in November, please do not get co-opted by the permanent political class,” Palin said. “You need to stay outside of the machine…stay outside the political establishment in order to hold them accountable.”
Palin did attempt to lighten the mood during her speech. At one point, she used a play on words between polls – and poles.
Now here we are in Vegas, and you know – like in Vegas – and in Washington too, they talk a lot about polls. There are a lot of poles in Vegas,” Palin said, eliciting laughter from the crowd.
“The White House likes to cite polls in their recent reports – especially because the figures involved in those polls are usually augmented, too.”