December 6, 2009 / 6:09 AM / 10 years ago

Sarah Palin in the belly of the beast: Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican firebrand Sarah Palin invaded the city she loves to hate on Saturday and rubbed shoulders with the herd of journalists she usually holds in disdain.

Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin attends a signing for her book "Going Rogue", in Fairfax, Virginia December 5, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Palin was the guest speaker at the annual winter dinner of the Gridiron Club of leading Washington journalists — a venue at which many potential presidential candidates have made an appearance, including Barack Obama a few years ago.

Palin, appearing with her husband Todd, gave no clue as to her future plans, but did note that the next stop on her book tour is on Sunday in Iowa, an early voting state that candidates often like to visit to test their mettle.

The goal at the Gridiron dinner is to be funny. Palin joked that she had to think hard about appearing at the dinner.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to trust your instincts. And when you don’t, you end up in places like this,” she said.

It was a rare appearance in Washington for Palin, the former Alaska governor who was John McCain’s vice presidential running mate in the 2008 campaign.

She has frequently ridiculed politicians and journalists in the capital as part of the “Washington herd.” She broke from that line of commentary to praise the work of journalists, although there was this line:

“It’s good to be here though, really, in front of this audience of leading journalists and intellectuals, or as I like to call it, a death panel.”

She had several one-liners that played off her campaign last year.

After being criticized for saying in a television interview that you can see Russia from Alaska, she said she liked her hotel room because she could “see the Russian embassy” out the window.

Palin, whose book tour for “Going Rogue: An American Life,” has generated a huge following for her, said Vice President Joe Biden’s memoir might be entitled “Going Rogaine,” tweaking Biden for his hair.

In a reference to her well-documented battles with McCain’s campaign staff last year, she said her book tour compared favorably to last year’s experience.

“I have to say the view on the bus is better than under it,” she said.

Turning serious, she said she and McCain had agreed that it was time for their staffs to set aside their differences and move on.

Editing by Vicki Allen

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