Politics & Government

Palin blasts White House attacks on U.S. chamber

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Friday blasted the White House for its attacks on the millions of dollars the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent on political ads targeting Democratic candidates.

Headlining the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's "Perspectives" speakers forum, Palin accused the Obama administration of portraying the U.S. chamber – and free enterprise itself – as anti-American.

She dropped in folksy references about the "Momma Grizzly" on the California flag and her daughter Bristol's appearance on "Dancing With the Stars."

She dropped in folksy references about the "Momma Grizzly" on the California flag and her daughter Bristol's appearance on "Dancing With the Stars."

But the former GOP vice presidential nominee and current Fox News commentator repeatedly played to an angry populism against a Washington elite.

"Americans have seen a distant and seemingly detached arrogant elite ruling class looking down on us, not caring what we the people are trying to tell them."

Speaking to a chamber audience of 2,000 people at the Sacramento Convention Center, she directed particular ire at the White House for taking on the U.S. chamber over its big-money campaign to defeat Democratic candidates.

"If you believe in commerce and you're called a chamber," she said, "maybe that's enough to get you on the White House enemy watch list."

She added: "Did you ever think our White House would go to war with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? The Chamber of Commerce isn't a threat. Who are they going to go after next? The Boy Scouts? The Girl Scouts? The way the White House talks, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is an international terrorist."

In recent days, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden assailed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for failing to disclose donors and for possibly channeling foreign donations to U.S. political campaigns.

Last week, the U.S. chamber dumped more than $10 million into election campaigns in key battleground states. After criticism by Obama and Biden, U.S. chamber President Thomas Donohue said the group would continue spending more to influence the election.

Obama, responding to a blog report by a liberal advocacy group, blasted the U.S. chamber, saying: "Groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence the American election."

Biden followed with a similar charge. Donohue denied that the chamber is funneling money from overseas business interests, saying in a letter: "It is sad to watch the White House stoop to these depths to win an election."

Palin was preceded in Friday's forum by Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate.

Dean railed against "the least civil election I've seen in my lifetime." He accused both major parties of widening a partisan divide with attack ads on television and systematic gerrymandering in statehouses to map out stridently liberal and conservative congressional districts.

"If you look at the ads I would say the average ad is 20 percent fact and 80 percent varying degrees of fiction, some of them outright lies," Dean said. "We've managed to demonize each other in order to win races and I think that is a mistake."

Palin, a galvanizing force in rallying support for tea party candidates and challenging the Republican establishment, stuck with her line of attack: The White House and Democrats are anti-free enterprise.

"Our administration in Washington is at war with respect to private business," she said. "Those who believe in the free market are targeted by some in the administration who believe the government can create prosperity."

Questioned afterward by moderator Tom Sullivan, Palin demurred on discussing a timetable for deciding on whether to run for president.

Asked what qualities she liked in Obama, she said: "You know he is a good father. I love to see he is involved with his daughters' lives."

She got around to that part only after mentioning "he has failed policies" and is "coddling some of our enemies."

Read the complete story at sacbee.com