Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin traveled to Long Island Thursday for an appearance at the Long Island Association, New York’s largest business organization.
Palin shared her thoughts on the economy, President Obama’s job performance, health care reform and more in a moderated conversation with LIA President Kevin Law. The event was part of the organization’s annual luncheon fundraiser.
On everyone’s mind was whether or not Palin would seek the GOP nomination for president in 2012. Speculation has reached a fever pitch, but she didn’t provide much insight into her plans. She did though reveal that a congressman (who was left nameless) had traveled to the Palin ranch in Alaska to talk policy and a possible 2012 bid.
As for a bid of her own, “I am still thinking about it, certainly haven’t made up my mind,” she said.
That didn’t stop her from voicing her opinions on key policy initiatives. On the economy, Palin said that any signs of recovery would be due to the new GOP-controlled house and not the Obama administration.
“The electorate has to make sure who deserves the credit,” she said. “If the GOP and moderate democrats do what they promised to do and reign in the budget, start making actual cuts, then the economy will start to recover.”
She also addressed the possibility of a government shutdown if congressional Republicans and the Obama administration can’t reach an amicable consensus on the budget.
“A lot of people are saying ‘shut her down if that’s what it takes’,” she said of the federal government.
Palin offered praise for Governor Cuomo, who earlier this month unveiled a budget that would reduce the state deficit but would also make drastic cuts to the State University of New York system.
Law, a Stony Brook University graduate, challenged Palin on her death panel claims and her knack for rhetoric that could be considered inflammatory.
“The aggressive and healthy debate that’s robust is part of what makes America exceptional,” she said when asked about the need to elevate the political discourse in the wake of the shootings in Tucson, Arizona. “We don’t want to dissuade that, to stifle opportunities for that. We want to keep that up.”
Palin is doing her part, continuing to defend her remarks on “death panels” that plagued debate over health care reform last year. And she also stood by her famous “Drill, Baby, Drill” mantra, saying that the United States’ supply of natural resources was “the Fort Knox of America.”
Some criticisms the current administration has faced were a bridge too far for the former Vice Presidential candidate. When asked if she, like some other prominent conservatives, questioned President Obama’s citizenship or religious beliefs, she replied: “I don’t, and those are distractions.”
Stony Brook University President Samuel Stanley was in attendance on Thursday through his capacity as a member of the LIA Board of Directors.
“Attending Long Island Association-sponsored events and listening to the views and experiences of public figures such as Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and today the 2008 Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, is always enlightening,” he said Thursday evening. “The LIA never fails to disappoint.”
Not everyone was equally thrilled with Palin’s performance. Margaret Duffy, the Associate Director of Nursing for the Heart Center at Stony Brook University Medical Center, was concerned with Palin’s remarks on health care reform.
“That concerns me as somebody who is a leader in health care, that it continues to be politicized in that fashion,” she said. “I think a lot of her comments regarding the health care act were incorrect.”
Palin again called for the complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act, even provisions that remain largely popular, like protections for people with preexisting conditions. The new Republican-controlled House failed in their attempts to repeal the bill, but “kill the bill” remains a rallying cry for the tea party, or as Palin referred to them on multiple occasions, “tea party Americans.”
Throughout the hour-long appearance, Palin brushed any criticism aside and instead leveled criticism of her own against the media.
After all, she said, “that’s sort of what I do.”