Palin Won’t Take Convention Podium

Photograph by Johnny Hanson/Houston Chronicle/AP Photo

Sarah Palin in The Woodlands, Texas.

Mitt Romney’s convention planners may be breathing a sigh of relief today — the question of what to do about Sarah Palin no longer confronts them.

The polarizing 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee issued a statement last night to her favorite forum, the Greta van Susteren Show on Fox News, saying that she won’t have a speaking slot at the Republican confab that convenes Aug. 27 in Tampa to nominate the newly minted Romney/Paul Ryan ticket for the White House.

“This year is a good opportunity for other voices to speak at the convention and I’m excited to hear them,” Palin said in her statement. Stressing her support for Romney and Ryan, she also said “I intend to focus on grassroots efforts to rally independents and the GOP base” to the Republican cause.

A Palin convention speech no doubt would have thrilled an audience of hard-core partisans inside and outside the convention hall, just as hers did in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2008, but — her reference to independents notwithstanding — the Romney camp had to be concerned about how that crucial slice of the electorate would have reacted to her. No worries about that now.

One of Palin’s best-received lines in her convention speech four years ago that continually brought her audience to its feet was her derision of Barack Obama as little more than a “community organizer,” referencing the job he held in Chicago before starting at Harvard Law School in the late 1980s. In her statement to Fox, she reprised that rhetorical device.

“Everything I said at the 2008 convention about then-candidate Obama still stands today,” she said, “and in fact the predictions made about the very unqualified and inexperienced community organizer’s plans to `fundamentally transform’ our country are unfortunately coming true.”

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