Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin today said the United States should continue drilling for oil, but the Obama administration needs to hold corporations accountable for incidents like the one at BP's rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
"We need to keep drilling because if we don't drill for a year, we're going to be more and more reliant on foreign countries that have even less stringent environmental standards," Palin told ABC News.
Millions of gallons of oil continue to spew into the Gulf from the rig, which exploded on April 20 and killed 11 people. The rig is owned by Transocean and operated by BP.
"We have got to hold these oil companies accountable," added Palin, whose term "Drill, baby, drill" became a popular GOP slogan in the 2008 presidential campaign. "They cannot be lax at all in their preventative measures, and then our management and overseeing agencies in the federal government had better be doing their job in making sure that they're verifying everything that these oil companies are telling them."
The former GOP vice presidential candidate said Alaskans can relate to the incident in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Alaska had to go through the same thing of course that the Gulf states are going through so we learned a lot through that," she said in reference to the Exxon Valdez oil spill 1989.
An angry president today lashed out at executives of BP, Transocean and Halliburton, which was doing cement work at the rig, for creating a "ridiculous spectacle" on Capitol Hill. But Obama also said drilling must go on.
"Domestic oil drilling continues to be one part of an overall energy strategy that now includes more clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency than at any other time in our history," he said. "But it's absolutely essential that, going forward, we put in place every necessary safeguard and protection so that a tragedy like this oil spill does not happen again."
Palin was in Washington, D.C., to speak at a breakfast organized by Susan B. Anthony List, a political action committee for anti-abortion female candidates.
Palin, who organizers said did not take a fee for headlining the event, attempted to fire up the crowd and lashed out against what she called Democrats' and Obama's "immoral, unethical" spending spree.
It's a "generational theft," Palin said to a cheering crowd of more than 500 people.
The self-proclaimed "frontier feminist," who received a standing ovation more than twice during her speech, said the administration has created a "mom awakening," reflected in the Tea Party movement and the resurgence of anti-abortion candidates for the House and the Senate.
"If you thought pitbulls were tough, you don't want to mess with the momma grizzly bears," Palin told the crowd of mostly women.
In her 30-minute speech, Palin exuded confidence that anti-abortion, conservative lawmakers will take control of Congress this year. She especially touted Nikki Haley, GOP candidate for governor in South Carolina, and a candidate for the Senate from California, Carly Fiorina, whom Palin called the "real deal."
"Look out Washington, there's a whole stampede of pink elephants," Palin said, in reference to the pink buttons during the 2008 campaign that said "It's A Girl." "We need to be really fired up. And not be demoralized, but get organized. Elections have consequences."
Palin had a warning sign for Democrats, especially the anti-abortion incumbents who voted for the health care bill.
"We won't forget those who promised to vote firm against government funding of abortion, but caved at the last minute in exchange for a nonbinding executive order promised by the most pro-abortion president to ever occupy the White House," she said. "We will not forget."
Since stepping down as Alaska's governor, Palin has become an avid supporter of the Tea Party movement and has drawn large, often sold-out crowds at speaking engagements. Her first book, "Going Rogue," was the top selling book on Amazon.com before it even hit the bookshelves. Her second book is slated to hit bookshelves in November.
Palin has also emerged as a leading critic of the Obama administration. She took an indirect jab at them again today while speaking about her favorite signs and billboards.
"I always thought too, the sign of the billboard of George Bush saying 'Miss Me Yet?' I love that one. We do," she said today.
Palin will be attending the National Rifle Association conference this weekend in North Carolina.