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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — President Obama is hurting the country by abandoning his responsibilities in order to run a permanent campaign, Sarah Palin told CPAC Saturday. Then she took a sip from a Big Gulp. At the close of her speech, she carried it off stage like a trophy. 

"Mr. President you won. We accept it. Now step away from the Teleprompter and do your job!" Palin said. The crowd loved it. Having quit both her political job and her punditry job, Palin exempted herself from this demand. Her speech was a series of conservatives jokes. "Barack Obama promised the most transparent administration ever? Barack Obama, you lie!" Republicans can never compete with Democrats in the game to offer the most government money, whether it's "free energy or free Obamaphones or free prophylactics!" "More background checks ? Dandy idea, Mr. President. Shoulda started with yours!" Between all these base-rallying slogans, Palin condemned Obama for being a campaigner who divides people against each other, instead of a leader who takes risks.

Palin said she and her husband, Todd, gave Second Amendment-themed gifts to each other for Christmas. "This go around, he got the rifle -- I got the rack!" Big laughs. Was this a reference to her anatomy? That was when she took a big long sip from the Big Gulp. If we were meant to focus on her anatomy, then it must be said that Palin has lost considerable weight since 2008, and there is no way she's drinking full-calorie Big Gulps on the regular. 

Palin's speech did not have big ideas. But she killed. It's easy to see why John McCain and his aides found her compelling in 2008 — she is an amazing performer. Her sense of timing is perfect. Under bright lights and on five huge screens, she sounds like she's making jokes over dinner. In fact, her job history suggests Palin is no less dependent on the Teleprompter than Obama, because when she had to do live punditry on Fox News, she disappointed Roger Ailes.

Palin did not use her gifts to advance a new vision for the Republican Party. If we just act like committed conservative leaders, she suggested, the people will come to us. She encouraged the crowd to run for office, and to ignore the consultants and the media. "We deserve better than the people who call themeves our leaders but we won't get it if we won't fight," Palin said. Palin is out of work and offering few new ideas. She's a fighter only if  you define fighter as someone with killer delivery of political jokes.

(Watch the full speech here, and stay tuned for more from on the ground at CPAC all weekend.)

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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