By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN
Like dessert after a feast of Republican politics and candidates at the state GOP assembly in Loveland, Sarah Palin dished down-home views of President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress in a series of mock conversations during her appearance in Denver Saturday night.
The former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor praised Arizona’s new law to stem the tide of illegal immigrants — and denounced Obama for remaining silent while Mexican President Felipe Calderon criticized it during a recent White House press conference.
“In Arizona, they are not doing racial profiling. They are doing legal stops and then asking folks for their driver’s licenses. When people don’t have them, they are in trouble,” declared Palin. “But, they only put in the law because you, Mr. President, won’t get the federal government to do its job and secure our borders.”
She questioned why the government “can build the Alaskan pipeline… but we can’t build a fence to secure our border? Americans are saying, Mr. President, ‘do your job and secure our border.’”
Palin, who invoked self-deprecating humor during her 45-minute talk, encouraged everyone to read the Arizona state statute in order to correct interpretations reported by liberal news agencies.
She said that she’d read the law and it’s easy to understand.
“I get it!” said Palin with a laugh.
Her comments on Arizona’s immigration law drew boisterous applause from the crowd of nearly 6,000 people who bought tickets, ranging from $37 – $125, to attend “An Evening with Sarah Palin” on May 22 at Denver University’s Magness Arena. It was sponsored by KNUS radio, which airs several conservative talk shows each day.
Palin criticized the federal health care reform package — which she called “Obamacare” that was hyped as a means of cutting costs of medical coverage.
“America, we got snookered, they rammed it down our throats and made us take something that isn’t going to be very good for us,” declared Palin, with a smirk.
When journalists ask Palin if she plans to run for president in 2012, she tells them, “I can see November from my house.”
It was poke at actress Tina Fey, who depicted Palin on Saturday Night Live and said in one skit, “I can see Alaska from my house.”
The crowd burst into laughter and applause.
The crowd repeatedly embraced Palin’s candid comments on the state of American politics and policies — even though, at times, the content seemed to be repetitive and rambling. For those who had read Palin’s press coverage or heard her speeches in recent weeks, there were scant new revelations in this chat.
Her talk followed commentaries by radio talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager, whom she later joined for a 20-minute panel discussion moderated by Colorado Christian University President and former U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong.
Palin encouraged the audience to vote for conservative candidates in this year’s election — but never mentioned a single Republican candidate in Colorado.
There had been speculation that Palin might endorse Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton before or during the event.
Palin had included Norton in a list of women U.S. Senate candidates — coined “pink elephants” — during a speech at the Susan B. Anthony List Celebration of Life Breakfast in Washington, D.C. earlier this month.
The idea of Palin endorsing Norton on the evening following the state GOP assembly raised Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck’s dander.
During an interview on Craig-based KRAI radio, Buck said that it would be “rude” if Palin endorsed Norton on the evening following the state GOP assembly in Loveland.
Buck, who won the party’s nomination, was the lone high profile contender traveling the caucus-to-assembly route after Norton decided to petition onto the ballot. The endorsement might have detracted from publicity surrounding Buck’s assured nomination at the assembly.
“Frankly, I don’t want to be a pink elephant,” said Buck on the radio show.
In response to Buck’s comments about Palin, the Norton campaign blasted a comment, “Once again he is proving to be the ultimate good ol’ boy — trying to keep the ‘back room’ all to himself. As far as we’re concerned, Sarah Palin is welcome in Colorado any time, any place.”
Despite the dust up, both Norton and Buck attended Palin’s talk in Denver. Norton sat in the third row on the floor of the arena, positioned in between her husband, attorney Mike Norton, and her omnipresent press aide, Cinamon Watson.
Hewitt, who has endorsed Norton’s candidacy, mentioned Norton as a good Republican during his talk at the event.
Reportedly Palin met privately with Norton before the event. If they did discuss an endorsement, Palin didn’t say, “You betcha!”
At least not last weekend.