NORTH LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Sarah Palin on Tuesday urged Republicans to get "riled up" about issues such as the deficit and taxes, accusing Washington lawmakers of losing touch with voters.
The former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee took aim at Democrats and President Barack Obama as she headlined a fundraiser for the Arkansas Republican Party.
"I think our country is ready for another revolution and this one can take place at the ballot box in 2010 in a town near you," Palin told a crowd of about 5,000 people at Verizon Arena in downtown North Little Rock.
Palin's 45-minute speech was interrupted at least three times by standing ovations as she criticized the Obama administration for the stimulus package, proposed health care reforms and its handling of national security issues. Palin's speech was followed by a brief question-and-answer session with the chairman of Arkansas' Republican Party.
"We need to spend more time lifting up America instead of apologizing for the greatest country on Earth," Palin said to a chorus of cheers. Palin accused Obama of sounding more like a constitutional law professor than a commander in chief when it came to national security issues.
The fundraiser was billed as a major fundraiser for Arkansas Republicans as the state GOP says it has the best opportunity to make inroads in a state dominated by Democrats. Republicans believe they have a chance at unseating Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln, with eight GOP candidates hoping to challenge the two-term senator this fall.
Arkansas Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb said he expected to raise about $400,000 from the fundraiser. Webb, however, won't say how much of that will go toward Palin's speaking fee.
Palin's fee for a speech before a group of "tea party" activists in Nashville, Tenn. earlier this month was $100,000.
Palin also said that the Republican Party nationally and at the state level needs to "really keep the arms open" for independent voters and encouraged Tea Party activists to get involved with the Republican Party.
The Arkansas GOP had sold general admission tickets for Palin's speech at $65 and $35. The party also offered $175 tickets to dinner and $500 tickets to a reception that included photos with Palin.
Members of the public and the media were not allowed to make audio or video recordings of Palin's speech. Webb said the party had disagreed with the ban, but said it was included in Palin's contract through Washington Speakers Bureau.
Palin's visit brought her onto the home turf of Mike Huckabee, a fellow former governor also viewed as a potential 2012 presidential rival. Huckabee, who ran unsuccessfully for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, did not attend Palin's speech.
Palin late last year criticized Huckabee's decision in 2000 to commute the sentence of Maurice Clemmons, who killed four police officers last year. Seattle police killed Clemmons days after he shot four Lakewood, Wash. police officers dead inside a coffee shop Nov. 29.
Palin called the commutation decision horrible in a radio interview in December.
Webb spent about 10 minutes asking Palin questions that he said had been submitted by audience members.
The former Alaska governor, who resigned from office last summer before completing her first term, now works as a commentator for Fox News Channel. When asked about what office she would run for again, Palin said she wanted to focus on helping Republicans on the ballot this fall.
When Webb asked Palin what she believed was the "greatest threat" to the country, several audience members shouted "Obama!"
"Besides Obama," Webb said.
"You said that. I didn't," Palin said, gesturing to Webb. "Just you watch, somebody will be here with their Twitter-ing thing and it's going to be on the Internet any minute now."