Palin was surrounded by reporters at the pre-dinner reception held on an evening when Washington was in the midst of an early snow storm. The former Alaska governor was dressed in a stylish black dress and carried what she told Chicago Sun Times correspondent Lynn Sweet was a purse made from an otter.
[The Gridiron Club, founded in 1865, is the oldest and most prestigious journalist organization in Washington DC. The annual Gridiron Dinner is attended by the media elite, at which the president is traditionally the speaker. This year, President Barack Obama was the first president to refuse to address The Gridiron Dinner since Grover Cleveland.[Last night, Saturday December 5th, the black tie dinner at the ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel had double the attendance of recent yearsfor instead of Obama, the speaker was Sarah Palin. The tradition of the dinner is that the speaker pokes fun at himself and the attendees. Sarah was such a hit there were dozens of the most liberal elite journalists in America laughing their heads off, many wiping tears of laughter from their eyes. Here's her speech. It is as clever as it is funny.] Good evening. It's great to be in Washington. I am loving the weather [it was snowing]. I braved the elements and went out for a jog! Or, as Newsweek calls it, a cover-shoot. I feel so at home here in DC. I can see the Russian Embassy from my hotel room!
It's a privilege to be here tonight at the Washington DC Barnes & Noble. Tonight, I'll be reading excerpts from my new book. Perhaps you've heard of it? "Going Rogue."
Yukon wasn't sure if I'd go with that title and somebody suggested I follow the East Coast self-help trend and go with, "How To Look Like A Million Bucks...For Only 150 Grand."
Todd liked, "The Audacity of North Slope." [She nods to him as he's at the head table]
Hey, I considered not having a title at all. I've said it before, but you Beltway types just don't seem to get it. You don't need a title to make an impact. But anyway, let's get started.
I'll begin my first reading on Page 209.
It was pitch black when we touched down in Arizona late on August 27, 2008. The next morning we drove to John McCain's ranch in Sedona. John was waiting on the porch. Before he can say a word, I tell him, I'm quoting now,
"I know why I'm here, and I'm ready. But, I'm worried. The cost of credit protection for the largest U.S. banks is rising precipitously. Have you given any thought to the run on the entities in the parallel banking system? Do you realize the vulnerability created when these institutions borrow short term in liquid markets to invest long term in illiquid assets?"
John said, "you betcha!" I thought, "you betcha?" Who talks that way?
Well, sometimes you just have to trust your instincts. When you don't, you end up in places like this. Who would have guessed that I'd be palling around with this group? At least now I can put a face to all the newspapers I do read.
It is good to be here and in front of this audience of leading journalists and intellectuals. Or, as I call it, a death panel.
To be honest, I had some serious reservations about coming to visit your cozy little club. The Gridiron still hasn't offered membership to anyone from my hometown paper in Wasilla, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley Frontiersman. And my dad thought it was just a plain bad idea to leave the book tour for some football game.
He might have a point! [She waves to her parents at a table at the back of the room] Hi, Dad! Hi, Mom! They crashed the party, you know.
I've been touring this great, great land of ours over the last few weeks. I have to say, the view is much better from inside the bus, than under it!
But really, I am thrilled to be with you. And I'd like to thank the Gridiron for the invitation and Dick Cooper for his introduction.
To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, this has to be the most extraordinary collection of people who have gathered to viciously attack me since the last corporate gathering at CBS.
Despite what you have read, or more likely, despite what you have written, I do feel a real bond with all of you. I studied journalism, earned a communications degree and for a time only wanted to be a journalist. I was even a television sportscaster back home.
I'm guessing some of you probably got your start the exact same way... once there was television.
Let me get back to the book.
I know that many of you are still upset because I wouldn't play that silly Washington game. You know, the one where all of you read a book in its entirety, from the first page of the index to the last.
But think about it, because you actually had to read the whole book in the vain hope of finding your name, you now know all about Denali, mom, dad, ungulate eyeballs, slaying salmon on the Nushagak and Ugashik near Alegnigak, where we make agootak and moose chili!
Still, I want to do something very special for this audience of Washington elite. So, I'll read from the index--which I chose not to include in the hardback. Would you believe me if I said I didn't include it because we wanted to save trees?
Under A we have...
Alaska, media not understanding. Pages 1-432.
Biased media. Pages 1-432
And under C...
Conservative media. See acknowledgments.
I'll stop there.
I know this can be a long night, and as I understand it, we're going to break with a Gridiron tradition. Normally, the Democrat speaker would deliver a speech after me. But instead, John McCain's campaign staff asked if they could use that time for a rebuttal.
A lot has been made of a few campaign relationships. The closeness. The warm fuzzy feelings. John and I both agree all those staffers should just move past it. It's history.
Let's just say, if I ever need a bald campaign manager, it appears all I'm left with is James Carville.I don't want to say that I've burned a bridge, but I know all about canceling a bridge to nowhere.
That Democrat speaker I referred to is, of course, the one-and-only Barney Frank. And I'm the controversial one?
Barney, the nation owes you and the government a debt. A huge, historic, unbelievable debt.
But, it's good to be here with you, Mr. Chairman. Because by Chairman, I don't just mean the House Financial Services Committee. As far as I can tell, Barney's also the Chair of AIG, CITI, and the Bank of America.
I don't want to say that the U.S. Government is taking over the role of the private sector, but I have to admit, on the flight here, thumbing through a magazine and looking at a photo of President Obama with the President of China, the person next to me pointed at it and said, "Hu's a communist."
I thought they were asking a question.
Still, when I see this administration in action, I can't help think of what might have been. I could be the Vice President overseeing the signing of bailout checks. And Joe Biden would be on the road, selling his new book, "Going Rogaine."
Speaking of books.... Did I mention mine? "Going Rogue" Makes a great stocking stuffer. Available now at a bookstore near you. Hey, I have to pay for my campaign vetting bill somehow.
Really, the response has been great. So I'll close by reading a final passage. Page 403:
...I've been asked a lot lately, "Where are you going next?'
Good question! Wherever I go I know that, as with anyone in the public eye, I'll continue to have my share of disagreements with those in the media. Maybe even more than my share. It will come as no surprise that I don't think I was always treated fairly, or equally.
But despite that, I respect the media very much. It's important. A free press allows for vigorous debate! And that debate is absolutely vital for our democracy. So as hard as it can sometimes be, we must all look past personal grievances.
We must move beyond petty politics. And we must allow these incredibly talented and hard-working women and men to ask the hard questions and hold us, and our government, accountable. Because their mission is as true as the sun rising over the Talkeetna and Susitna Mountains...
Okayso none of that is actually in the book. Not a word.
But I do believe it! And I believe we live in a beautiful country blessed with so many different people who want the best for their children, families and for our great nation. I'm so proud to be an American.
And that is what I'll be talking about when I travel to where I'm headed. No better place than here to announce where I'm going. I'm going to Iowa! I'll be there tomorrow from noon to 3:00 pm at the Barnes & Noble on Sergeant Road in Sioux City. Come early. Long lines are expected.
Thank you everyone. God Bless the U.S.A!