Woodbury, N.Y. — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told a business audience Thursday in suburban New York that President Obama is leading the country "on a road to ruin" unless he starts taking the federal deficit and debt more seriously.
Palin cited higher unemployment and rising commodity prices as evidence that the Obama agenda of "European-style socialist policies being basically crammed down our throats" has failed.
"I am sick and tired of the games that are being played in Washington," she said. "The road has to change. We have to get on more common sense grounds and apply those principles that have worked in the past."
She made the remarks at a luncheon held by an influential New York business group.
The appearance was something of a departure for Palin. Over the last six months, she has rarely ventured beyond the friendly confines of Fox News, with which she has a lucrative contract, other conservative cable outlets and audiences that align closely with her political base, including pro-gun, evangelical and anti-abortion advocacy organizations.
Palin, seated in an armchair on a small stage, was interviewed by the head of the Long Island Assn. at the group’s annual luncheon. Kevin S. Law, a former utility company executive, said beforehand he had no interest in posing “gotcha-style” questions to the former Republican vice presidential candidate.
Palin's daughter Bristol accompanied her to the event.
It was her first public event since hiring a new top political advisor, Michael Glassner, who has been brought aboard to run SarahPAC, her political action committee, in advance of a potential 2012 presidential campaign. Palin has said she is considering a run but won’t reveal her plans until “the time is ready to announce, and that will be the right time.”
The event, in the dark wood-beamed and heavily draped ballroom of Crest Hollow Country Club, was a fund-raiser for the LIA, which calls itself New York’s largest business organization. Approximately 800 people attended the annual event, which has a history of featuring prominent figures from government and politics, including former Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Palin’s appearance, however, was the first to be open to press coverage, and the opportunity to see her in person attracted several dozen local, national and international news organizations, and at least 12 television outlets.
Tickets ranged from $300 for members of the business group to $50,000 for corporate VIP sponsors, who received 50 seats and four invitations to a private champagne reception with Palin. VIP sponsors included Cablevision, Motorola, Purolator shipping, HSBC bank, New York’s Health Insurance Exchange and National Grid, a regional energy company.