Sarah Palin wowed ’em at the Gridiron dinner, the place where journalistic and political big wigs meet for dinner for an evening where politicians say things that are intentionally hilarious.
The Christian Science Monitor gives some details on Palin’s 11 1/2 minute talk. Usually the comments are off the record and not to be reported but — in a sign of both changing times and the huge media interest in Palin, who has morphed into a political celebrity — they allowed Twittering.
During her talk Palin called out to her parents who stood at the back of the ballroom at the Renaissance Hotel and waved to the crowd. Palin quipped that her mom and dad “crashed the party.”
On the political front, Palin said that “if the election had turned out differently, I could be the one overseeing the signing of bailout checks and Vice President Biden could be on the road selling his book “Going Rogaine.” Biden is known for many things but not a full head of hair.
While Palin was not specific about her political plans, she noted that on Sunday she would be at a book store in Iowa, which is an influential proving ground for presidential candidates. “Come early, long lines are expected,” she said.
“Sometimes you’ve got to trust your instincts, and when you don’t you end up in a place like this,” she said. Palin also tweaked journalists for buying books and turning immediately to the index to see if they are mentioned. Her book does not have an index but she made up index entries during her speech including: “A. Alaska, media not understanding it, page 1 to 432.”
“It is good to be here though, really, in front of this audience of leading journalists and intellectuals or, as I like to call it, a death panel,” she said.
Palin’s book notes the sometimes troubled relationship she had with McCain campaign staffers. Talking about her bus tour for her book, “Going Rogue,” she said, “the view is so much better inside the bus than under the bus.”
In a reference to the rocky relations she had with Steve Schmidt, McCain’s bald campaign manager, Palin said that if she needed a bald campaign manager, “all that I am left with is James Carville.” Carville is a Democratic strategist.
The ritual at these dinners calls for self-deprecatory humor and Palin obliged. Being at the dinner meant “at least now I can put a face to the newspapers I do read,” she said, referencing her lack of response to Katie Couric’s question about what newspapers or magazines she liked to read. Palin also noted that she was “feeling right at home” since she could come down from her room and “could see the Russian embassy” – poking fun at her “you can actually see Russia” from Alaska campaign comment.
And the former Alaska Governor recounted being on a flight and reading a magazine with President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao on the cover. Another passenger said “Hu’s the Communist.” Palin said, “I thought he was asking a question.”
Palin has a broadcasting background and is a natural for the media. If politics doesn’t pan out for her, some network or syndication bigwig that wants to take a ton of money will likely sign her for a television or cable show — and she’ll make another ton of money.
For much more blog reaction GO HERE.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.