"They see Sarah and they can't corral her and control her. She could say anything ... and this unnerves them," said conservative Bay Buchanan, a former United States treasurer. "She plays a very exciting game, whereas the rest is somewhat boring, and so I think she's an enormous asset to our party."
The dinner was emceed by actor Jon Voight, who was quite vocal in his condemnation of the Obama administration. Voight brought up the president's "radical connections" to people such as Bill Ayers, called Obama a "false prophet" who Republican leaders needed to "bring an end to" and added that everything Obama has recommended "has turned out to be disastrous." Voight also called Vice President Joe Biden one of the "great double-talkers of our time."
In a 56-minute speech at the dinner -- where according to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the party raised roughly $14.45 million -- Gingrich lashed out at Obama for his policies and called for the GOP to reunify ahead of the upcoming 2010 and 2012 elections.
"I think our goals should be to reach out to the American people in every possible way to make sure that John Boehner [R-Ohio] becomes the speaker of the House in January of 2011," Gingrich said. "That Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.] becomes the senate majority leader, and that this is a one-term presidency in the Jimmy Carter tradition."
The former Georgia lawmaker said the administration's stimulus plan "has already failed."
"Let's be clear. This is not something that President Obama inherited from George W. Bush. He got his stimulus on his schedule, for his amount, delivered by his robots in Congress, who did exactly what they were told without reading the bill," Gingrich said. "So he can't turn around now and so, 'Oh darn, George Bush made me have a stimulus plan.'"
Gingrich defended former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has also emerged as a leading critic of the new administration's policies on terrorism.
"I am happy that Dick Cheney is a Republican," the former Georgia congressman said. "I am also happy that Colin Powell is a Republican. ... A majority party will have lots of debates within the party."
Cheney had recently lashed out at Powell for endorsing Obama in the last election and said that he thought Powell had already left the GOP.
Gingrich's views have been echoed by other Republicans, who say the party needs to return to its roots to defeat Democrats in the next cycle of elections.
"Republicans need to go back to their bread and butter, back to fiscal conservativism," Fleischer said. "These economic woes combining with the huge debt. ... This is the route back for Republicans."
ABC News' Dan Harris and Bret Hovell contributed to this report.