Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin said Friday night that the U.S. has veered too far from the values of President Ronald Reagan and warned that government overspending will lead to "decline and defeat."
Speaking at an event to celebrate Reagan's 100th birthday, Palin launched a broad attack on big government and increased federal spending.
"This is not the road to national greatness, it is the road to national ruin," Palin said at the event, which was sponsored by the conservative Young Americas Foundation in Santa Barbara. "American exceptionalism is not exceptionally big government."
Palin said she considered herself to be a "western conservative in the spirit of Ronald Reagan," urged Americans to "reconnect" with the principles of limited government promoted by President Reagan. "Those values will lead us back to prosperity," she said.
"Unlike others, Reagan seemed to be able to look out over the horizon and see what unsound policies, policies of big government expansionism ... where that would ultimately end, and that was in decline and defeat," she said.
Reagan's youngest son Ron, however, disagrees. On Friday he said Palin had nothing in common with his father. "Sarah Palin is a soap opera, basically. She's doing mostly what she does to make money and keep her name in the news," Ron Reagan told the Associated Press.
Asked about a possible Palin presidential run in 2012, Ron Reagan said she is "not a serious candidate for president and never has been." Palin told the audience Friday night that she spent the day horseback riding on Reagan's famous ranch, where she said "you can distinctly feel his spirit."
"I knew instantly why Ronald Reagan loved that Ranch," Palin explained. "He loved it in caring for it. In working it ... The ranch is unmistakably the home of a western conservative who celebrated our pioneering spirit."