After several years of skipping the Conservative Political Action Conference, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin closed out the annual gathering by reading the riot act to both President Barack Obama and the political class in Washington, D.C., and called for larger tea party representation in GOP leadership on Capitol Hill.
Palin described the Republican wave in the 2010 midterms as “a good first step.” Looking ahead to this year’s elections, she urged Republicans to “take back the Senate and fortify the House.”
And with those gains, she pushed for a larger tea party presence in the GOP's top ranks. “This time we expect them to get leadership posts in Congress,” she said. The remark could be construed as a reference to Sen. Ron Johnson's (Wis.) loss to Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.) in a December Senate leadership election.
She said the divide between Washington and “real America” has “never been greater or more dangerous.” In her view, politicians come to the city to represent their constituents but fall prey to special interests and self-enrichment.
She went on to describe the nation’s capital as a “cesspool,” and said those corrupted mistake it to be a hot tub instead.
"It is time that we drain the Jacuzzi and we throw the bums out with the bathwater," she declared to a raucous crowd.
Palin did not take the opportunity to endorse a candidate in the GOP primary. What she did endorse was the protracted length of the party's race.
"Competition elevates our game. Competition leads us to victory," she said. "I believe that competition has got to keep going, but let's make sure the competition brings out the best in our party."
She cautioned that Democrats and the media will attack and smear candidates, but said candidates should not engage in political fratricide.
"Let's not do the job for them," she said.
Palin went on to essentially accuse the president of participating in corruption and as being unfit to lead the armed forces. In referring to the idea of a Republican president speaking at CPAC next year, she said, “We will have a commander-in-chief worthy of our troops.”