Although Laura Bush, Dick and Liz Cheney, Karl Rove, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rudolph Giuliani, surprise guest hero airline pilot Chesley Sullenberger and others also addressed Saturday's Bakersfield Business Conference, The Bakersfield Californian reported that, "In terms of sheer passion and vigor, nobody got a bigger reception than Palin...":
She was introduced by conference organizer George Martin as "the next president of the United States." The crowd burst into applause, waving flags, giving standing ovations and snapping flash photos throughout her speech.More coverage by The Californian is here.
The Tea Party movement leader condemned President Barack Obama's plans and stimulus packages, which she said have failed to bring Americans jobs. It is time now, she said, to stick up for the "little guy."
"This is what the Tea Party is all about. Fighting for the working man," Palin said, wearing her signature red suit and rimless glasses. "The little man has been forgotten far too long. Enough is enough, and we're taking it back."
The overarching theme of the day, reflected by speakers and event-goers alike, was that the nation is in economic and cultural crisis and a radical course correction is needed right away, starting with the Nov. 2 election.
And if the country's sentiment in November is that of the more than 11,000 believed to have turned out for the conference at Cal State Bakersfield, Democrats are in real trouble.
"Are we better off than we were before President Obama?" Palin roared.
"NO!" the crowd screamed back.
Reporting by NBC News focused on Gov. Palin's status as a potential 2012 presidential candidate:
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in a speech that sounded a lot like a 2012 trial balloon, or at least an effort to drum up speculation on the subject and boost her brand within the Republican party, told a Bakersfield, Calif., conference Saturday to consider the next two elections together.- JP
"We cannot undo the damage done by the Obama agenda until we replace Obama himself," Palin said. "These two elections, 2010 and 2012, go hand-in-hand. ... The theme of 2010 has got to be rebuke their errors, reject, repeal; and then the theme of 2012 — it's renew, revive and restore."
Palin, 46, appeared at the Bakersfield Business Conference before a sold-out crowd of about 10,000. Full-day tickets for the conference were $495 each.
Palin told the crowd: "Folks, in 2012," the message should be "renew our optimistic, pioneering spirit, revive our free market system and restore constitutional limits and our standing in the world, as that abiding beacon of freedom. ... Not transformation but restoration with a 'Great Awakening' that we already feel emerging across America. We will win this year, we will win this year. And I believe we will win in 2012."
Palin has used versions of the "renew, revive, restore" line previously. Palin's 2012 mention came after a speech directed to the "little guy," an interesting choice for the crowd at the Bakersfield Business Conference.
She also took a few digs at the "cocktail party" — what she called the "go-along-to-get-along" "establishment" wing of the Republican party, saying "those defeated liberal Republicans, what did they do? Now they're the ones running as a third-party candidate — and they're redefining, I guess, the term 'bitter clinger.'"