Sarah Palin: I Had to 'Walk the Walk'

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin doesn't get out much. Out of Alaska that is.

Last night, on her second trip outside the state this year, Palin reflected a bit on the experience of last year's campaign, repeated her call for energy independence and called on states to reject federal stimulus money.

Sarah Palin
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But it was her emotional and personal talk about the birth of her son Trig that was most revealing.

In front of an audience of nearly 3,000 anti-abortion rights advocates in Evansville, Ind., Palin described in detail how she struggled with her fifth pregnancy last year and choked up when she spoke about Trig's birth.

"It was a time when I had to ask myself was I gonna walk the walk or I was gonna talk the talk," Palin said.

She said she learned she was pregnant with Trig while she was out of the state at an oil and gas conference.

"There, just for a fleeting moment, I thought, I knew, nobody knows me here. Nobody would ever know. I thought, wow, it is easy. It could be easy to think maybe of trying to change the circumstances. No one would know. No one would ever know."

Ultimately, Palin said she realized she had to stay true to what she'd been saying for years -- that "life is valuable because it is ordained."

"I had just enough faith to know that trying to change the circumstances wasn't any answer," Palin said.

But the governor said the experience gave her an appreciation for what women and girls facing unwanted pregnancies go through.

"I do understand what these women, what these girls go through in that thought process."

The Vanderburgh County "Freedom for Life" banquet bills itself as the largest anti-abortion rights event in the nation.

Palin for President?

Superlatives aside, the county had to work hard to convince the former vice presidential nominee to attend a dinner three days before the end of Alaska's 90-day legislative session.

When Palin was first invited to speak last November, the request was added to a large pile. But this group persisted. They started sending her the" top 10 reasons" why she just had to come to Vanderburgh County. The reasons included things like: local chocolate, local doughnuts, Ski soda, barbecue, ice cream and an orchid. Palin came around.

"You know you had me at the chocolates," Palin told the crowd.

Palin had not been in Indiana since last October. In the weeks leading up to the election, she was tasked with making a final push to keep this red state red. It didn't quite work out that way.

Indiana turned blue and helped Barack Obama win the presidency. Vanderburgh County -- home to Evansville -- was one of the counties that helped the state tip. It went for Obama. who got 51 percent of the vote.

It's unclear what Palin's political ambitions are now. She has not yet said if she plans to run for re-election to the governor's office next year. She has not shut the door on a presidential run in 2012 either.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was asked earlier by a reporter if he saw Palin as a "standard bearer" for the GOP in 2012.

"I think she's a standard bearer right now," Steele replied. But he said that the party had many women and men in leadership roles, including former Gov. Mitt Romney, Govs. Tim Pawlenty and Mark Sanford, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Reps. Eric Cantor and Mike Pence.

Steele also joked that it was way too early to be discussing prospects for 2012. "We're a long way from that? Eighty-six days [into the new administration] and we're already talking about 2012? Can I just get a cup of coffee and relax for just a few more months before we have that conversation?" he laughed.

Palin's Trip Spurs Debate in Alaska

It was the first time Palin has been to the lower 48 since attending Washington's Alfalfa Club dinner -- featuring Obama -- in late January.

"It drives Washington insiders crazy because they cannot predict what she's gonna do next," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that supports women against abortion rights in politics.

"The message that ought to be pretty clear is that she's not planning her political future right now," Dannenfelser said.

The timing of Palin's trip has been criticized by some in her home state. Alaska's state legislature is just wrapping up its 90-day legislative session Sunday.

Lawmakers have been sparring with the governor over whether to accept federal stimulus money and how it would be spent in the state.

"This isn't free money folks. This is borrowed money," Palin said Thursday night in Evansville.

"It looks to us that once again she is putting her national political ambitions ahead of the needs of Alaskans and the responsibilities of her job as our governor," Alaska Democratic Party chairwoman Patti Higgins told reporters Monday in Anchorage.

And even some Republicans took issue with her travels.

"We're a small state. When you get down to the last days of the legislative session it's a little bit like the last two minutes of a basketball game," said Alaska Rep. Jay Ramras, a Republican lawmaker who has clashed with Palin. "You want to have your best players there."

Last week, Palin responded to that criticism by saying it was a quick trip.

"I told lawmakers, you know what, 'Please, don't make me feel that I have to ask your permission, lawmakers, to leave the capital city,'" Palin told reporters.

ABC News' Teddy Davis contributed to this report.

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