Her speeches are typically loaded with partisan zingers and Obama-bashing, but for the first time since the 2008 presidential campaign, Sarah Palin delivered a speech that focused as much on policy ideas as it did on political combat.
Her much-anticipated remarks Friday to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference were laced with a heavy dose of Republican cheerleading that drew applause from the audience of party activists who had stampeded into the venue to snag prime seating for her appearance.
"There is no shame in being the 'party of no' if the other side is proposing an idea that violates our values, violates our conscience, violates the Constitution," she said, deviating from the remarks of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who urged the crowd Thursday to pivot to being the "party of yes."
The three-day event is billed as the largest GOP gathering of party officials, operatives, activists and strategists before the 2012 Republican National Convention, when the party will formally nominate its candidate for president.
Although the 2012 election may seem far in the future, early jockeying is under way, and the conference is considered the jump-start for possible Republican White House hopefuls.