Cookie Protest: Sarah Palin Calls Pennsylvania a 'Nanny State Run Amok'

Palin's cookie protest shows how local decisions can have national impact.

November 10, 2010, 3:06 AM

Nov. 10, 2010— -- An effort by Pennsylvania schools to get students to eat healthier is coming under fire from Sarah Palin.

The proposed new guidelines would limit the amount of sweets in classroom parties and reduce the number of holiday and birthday celebrations.

On the proposed regulations, Palin called Pennsylvania a "nanny state run amok." In protest, she brought 200 sugar cookies to a Bucks County school fundraiser Tuesday.

"I had to shake it up a little bit because I heard there is a debate going on in Pennsylvania over whether most schools condemn sweets, cakes, cookies, that type of thing," Palin said. "I brought dozens and dozens of cookies to these students."

Instead, parents would be encouraged to serve healthy snacks, such as fruits or vegetables.

The Pennsylvania State Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the proposed guidelines this spring.

"You shouldn't have been making these decisions about what you can eat at the school. Should it be the government or should it be the parents?" Palin asked.

Palin's cookie delivery protest illustrates how decisions made by local government can have national implications.

The debate over federal government intervention in school nutrition programs continues to be a point of contention in Congress.

The Senate passed the $4.5 billion Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in August, which would increase children's access to federal nutrition programs.

It marks the largest investment in child nutrition programs since their creation by giving schools more money to spend per meal.

Supporters of the bill said it would significantly improve the nutritional quality of school lunches by upgrading menus and banning certain junk food from lunch lines.

The legislation currently awaits action in the House. But critics question the legislation's cost.

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told a House hearing this summe that "long-term increases in spending on school meal programs are irresponsible."

Rector said there needs to have been some type of "reasonable accounting of where this money is currently going."

Whether she's making her opinions clear on sweets in schools or sparking conversations on her Twitter account, Palin's every word seems to make news.

With a new reality show set to begin next week, People magazine sat down with Palin and her husband, Todd, for an interview that hits newsstands this Friday.

The interview tackled subjects that included tabloid rumors about a $20 million divorce settlement, which the Palins' deny.

Sarah Palin recalled the moment when she read about it at the checkout counter in the supermarket.

"I called Todd … and he says, $20 million? Write me a check," she said. "He's good about laughing some of that stuff off."

As for a presidential bid in 2012, Palin said, "if there's an opportunity for me to help America get back on track, I will do that."

But most recently, she discovered her new philosophy on life when her daughter, Bristol, decided to join "Dancing With the Stars."

That moment of clarity came when her daughter said, "Mom no matter what I do, I'm going to be criticized, so I might as well go dance."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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