Fox News commentator Glenn Beck and Tea Party heroine Sarah Palin told an audience yesterday in Alaska that the U.S. has grown complacent about protecting itself since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I fear that we are forgetting what it takes,” Beck told about 4,000 at a convention center in Anchorage. “How do we not make the same mistake again?”
Palin, a former Alaska governor and the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, pointed the blame at President Barack Obama.
“It starts from the top,” she said. “Those who kind of set the tone in our country that would lead us towards a complacency that is very, very, very dangerous. I fear that is why we are seeing the patterns we’re seeing right now, especially over the last 20 months.”
The Anchorage event, on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, came two weeks after Beck and Palin appeared together at the “Restoring Honor” rally on the National Mall in Washington, where they urged hundreds of thousands gathered there to embrace traditional American values.
The Aug. 28 rally was held on the 47th anniversary and on the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. While the timing drew criticism from civil rights leaders, Beck said it was a coincidence the event was held on that date.
Beck, 46, and Palin, a contributor to News Corp.’s Fox News, are both stars of the Tea Party movement, a loose-knit coalition of voters seeking limits on government spending, taxes and debt.
Palin, 46, is scheduled to speak Sept. 17 at a Republican Party event in Iowa, the state that holds the first presidential nominating contest.
After she gave a brief speech at a Sept. 11 commemoration in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, several in the audience approached her to encourage her to run for president in 2012.
“Bless your heart,” she told one man.
Palin said she was entertained by media speculation before the Anchorage event that she was going to announce a presidential bid with Beck at her side. If she did make such an announcement, Palin said it would be on an Alaska radio show.
“I laughed about some big 2012 announcement because, hey, if there’s going to be some big national announcement, I am going to do it where it is most worthy,” she said. “It’s going to happen on the Bob & Mark Show.”
Beck later asked Palin whether she planned to run for president. “Are you going to run, Glenn?” she responded, without answering his question.
Beck, 46, said the Anchorage event was not specifically designed for Sept. 11. Organizers had originally considered Sept. 4, and decided against it because they did not want to compete with the Alaska State Fair.
While final numbers are still being tabulated, Beck said on the day of the Washington rally that it had collected $5.5 million in donations for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which assists veterans and their families.
Beck donated his speaking fee from the Anchorage event to the same group and Palin didn’t receive one. Tickets ranged in price from $65 to about $200, with the priciest tickets including a “meet and greet” with Beck after the show.
One woman was removed from the hall after she shouted during the program, “Both of you are imbeciles.” Audience members were scanned for weapons as they entered the building.
In a brief interview earlier yesterday, Palin said she would welcome a write-in ballot bid by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, while predicting it would be a “futile” effort.
“Joe Miller is going to win the general,” she said. “It seems like it’s a futile effort, there, for a write-in effort, but she certainly has that right to do so.”
Murkowski, in one of the biggest upsets so far this U.S. election year, was defeated in a primary by Miller, who had the backing of Palin and the Tea Party movement.
Murkowski, 53, the Senate’s No. 4 Republican, conceded the race Aug. 31 after absentee ballot-counting failed to reverse Miller’s lead of more than 1,600 votes.
John Bitney, Murkowski’s campaign manager, declined to say when she would decide whether to pursue a write-in candidacy. He said she has received “a lot of encouragement” from “a broad spectrum of people from across the entire state” to run.
“I love competition in business and sports and politics,” Palin said. “It’s all good.”
Palin dismissed the notion that Murkowski could draw votes away from Miller, should she enter a race that also includes Democratic nominee Scott McAdams, the mayor of Sitka, Alaska.
“I do not believe so,” she said. “I believe that Joe Miller is going to solidify more and more support as the days go on, as more and more people know him, not just his resume and his record, but what motivates him and his intentions for this state and for our country.”