From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
MIAMI -- Palin called for reaching out to the new Obama Administration,
but at the same time criticized Democrats in a speech that was, at
times, hotly partisan here at the Republican Governors Association
In this speech, which followed her earlier press conference, she hit Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid,
saying their names like they are bad words and referred to the
"Democrat" (instead of "Democratic") Congress -- a time-honored
Republican tweak. "Maybe they forgot why they were sent to Washington,"
Palin said of Democrats.
But for a speech that was supposed to be
largely focused on the future of the Republican Party, Palin showed no
signs early in her speech -- and for much of it -- of moving past the
Despite saying she had moved on, she delivered
some of the campaign's greatest hits. She lauded Joe the Plumber and
Tito the Builder again. There also was talk of campaign signs and
enthusiasm with crowds praise for what she called "prayer warriors" for
their good wishes on the trail. But unlike Gov. Tim Pawlenty's call for a more diverse party yesterday or Bobby Jindal
saying Republicans were fired with just cause, Palin didn't offer a
concrete pathway or even a vision for a party searching for its soul
and a way forward after its defeats last week.
She did call on Republican governors to show leadership, by focusing on governing, and indicated she is in the traditionalist camp of how to move on, saying, "If we are to lead again in Washington … let us reclaim our good name" when it comes to spending restraint, personal responsibility and other traditional conservative principles.
In her opening remarks, Palin joked about her experiences since she was last at the RGA. She said she had a baby, "very briefly expanded my wardrobe" and met Tina Fey. She also thanked God for George W. Bush. "Thank you, Mr. President," Palin said of the president whose woeful approval rating, many objective observers as well as Republicans here lay much of the blame for the party's losses.
She said she enjoyed her campaign experience. And said she wishes Obama well. "If he governs with the skill and grace of which he is capable, we are going to be just fine," she said. She added that Republicans needed to "reach out to this new Administration" so "he understands our perspective."
"Let's help show him and Congress the way," she said.
She spoke against the bailout, saying people were standing in line with their hands out and that we are addicted to OPM (she pronounced it as one would say opium) -- Other People's Money.
Despite her calls for reaching out to the Obama Administration, she delivered some partisan applause lines, like that governors don't vote yea or nay or present, which got laughs from this Republican crowd.
"We are the minority party, but let us not become the negative party," Palin said. She said Republicans shouldn't lose their way. Americans will look to governors, she said.
Let the "pundits" talk about 2012," she said. "Our focus should be" on our states and "how we serve."