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Tropical Storm Lee Makes Its Way Towards Gulf Coast; Sarah Palin Gives Speech in Iowa

Aired September 03, 2011 - 14:00   ET


ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR: You're in the CNN Newsroom where the news unfolds live on This Saturday, September 3rd. Hi, everyone, thanks for joining us. I'm Alina Cho. Fred Whitfield has the weekend off.

And our top story this hour, just a week after hurricane Irene battered the East Coast, tropical storm Lee is targeting the Gulf coast. Heavy rain falling right now in Mississippi and Louisiana. Both states are under a state of emergency. Mandatory evacuations are under way in parts of Jefferson Parish in the New Orleans area and some parts could get up to 20 inches of rain.

Vermont is one of the states still cleaning up from Irene. Remember that storm? Six days after Irene slammed the state nearly 700 Vermont homes are still without power. And the search is still on for a man believed to have been swept away by floodwaters last Sunday.

And take a look at this map. The green lines there show Vermont roads that are now open. But many of those roads and bridges marked in red were simply washed away. The dots indicate power outages. In one minute, we're going to bring you a report from one of the hardest hit areas, New Jersey. President Obama will pay the Garden State a visit tomorrow.

Dozens of families across Texas and Oklahoma have lost their homes to wildfires. In Oklahoma City alone fires destroyed 25 homes just this week. And in Texas, crews are still battling 14 separate wildfires. They have been making some progress, but a weather system is expected to bring high winds to Texas tomorrow, and it could turn embers back into flames.

We are also waiting for a live event to take place. Sarah Palin set to take the stage in Iowa. That is where the Tea Party is holding a big rally. So what will she say, as you look live there? Palin said she plans to announce whether she's running or not running for president this month. But a source close to her says don't count on any announcement today.

The last time we saw Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords she showed up for that important House vote to keep the government from defaulting. Didn't she look great? Well, she's on the road again. This time, she's going to be spending Labor Day weekend at home with her family in Tucson. Isn't that nice? Giffords is still in rehab recovering from that near fatal shooting back in January.

I want to go back to the Gulf coast now where there is a huge concern about flooding from tropical storm Lee. The storm is already churning up the Gulf as it starts to move ashore. This boat on the Mississippi Gulf coast tossed around by Lee's powerful waves. CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Ed, are you on the right side or the bad side of this storm? What is it looking like right now where you are?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, the eye of the storm is actually to the west of New Orleans. It is going to come inland and then start hooking back toward the east a little bit. But this is the stronger side of the storm and we were moving around to keep tabs on the situation around here.

This is a neighborhood in Bay St. Louis, and they have been dealing with a lot of this, these roadways that they come into these neighborhoods. We'll watch this car as they try to navigate. This is what many officials worry about. But this water has gone down quite a bit. We talked to a couple that lives back in here. They said earlier this morning this water around here was thigh high.

It is interesting. If you look back over, the couple we talked to, they live in that house with the tin roof you might see over there in the distance. This is a community that a storm like this, quite frankly, isn't going to scare them off very much. This area where we're at was under 30 feet of water during hurricane Katrina, so they tend to laugh this kind of stuff off.

But we have seen the water push in here from the Gulf and these are the areas that -- where water can rise quickly and with people closely monitoring. In various areas around the Gulf coast right here, we're seeing -- this is the kind of flooding we're seeing at this point. So people are being urged to be careful, especially if you're driving through roads like this, even if you know the roads, these kind of situations can become very dangerous very quickly.

And what is interesting is this storm is spawning some potential severe weather, tornado warnings across Louisiana and 16 parishes, six counties here in the state of Mississippi where they have tornado warnings until 10:00 tonight. So this is a low moving, a dreadfully slow moving storm. As it hovers over this region, the rain just keeps falling.

This all moving inland, and the threat of inland flooding is a big concern in the hours ahead. So we'll continue to monitor that. We'll be on the move if we need to be. For now, we're in Bay St. Louis. Alina?

CHO: And obviously because the storm is so slow moving, you know it going to dump a lot of rain on the area. Ed, as you know, mandatory evacuations are underway for Jefferson Parish in the New Orleans area. What about where you are?

LAVANDERA: Not around here. But what is interesting, though, is there is a lot of bayous and creeks that come up from or go down toward the Gulf of Mexico. And that water as the surge has come through has been pushed back. That's what you're seeing here. What is interesting, Alina, is just what people have done. These are people that live in lower lying areas. They have moved their cars out along the higher roads, higher ground on the roadways to make sure cars are protected in case things quickly take a dramatic turn for the worse. So far they haven't need to do that, but these are the precautions you see in the low lying areas where it is the first areas to flood in storms like this.

CHO: Smart move by those residents there. Ed Lavandera live for us in Bay St. Louis, thank you so much.

With Lee ahead of us, we can't escape Irene in our rearview mirror. Take a look at this, especially when it comes to one of the most frustrating and inconvenient aspects of storms and floods, that would be loss of power. And get this -- a week after the hurricane hit, some places across the northeast are still in the dark. More than 53,000 across New York State alone, that includes Long Island. In Connecticut, nearly 77,000 haven't had their power restored yet, 1,400 in Vermont. And the national grid, the major utility in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, reports that 96 percent of the power is back on. That is good news. And everyone will have their power back on in that state or those states by tomorrow.

That is good news. Meanwhile, we're watching tropical storm Lee. Jacqui Jeras is in looking at that. And you just had a new advisory come in a minute ago, right?

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It's still holding status quo in terms of intensity on this storm, Alina, but it is still offshore. So we're looking at 60-mile-per-hour maximum sustained winds with heavy downpours. Ed was talking about how the rain wasn't too bad in New Orleans, the worst of it will be to the east of there. We're talking about lower Mississippi up towards Mobile and from Apalachicola on west where the I-10 route is nasty right now.

And that red box, that's the threat of tornadoes. We have multiple warnings going on at this hour. They generally are weak tornadoes but can cause damage. You need to take them seriously. If your sirens are going off or you know your county is highlighted here, take cover right now. We have a cold front pulling on through that will change conditions there. And we'll continue to track this storm that it is such a slow mover. Alina?

CHO: All right, Jacqui, thank you very much.

We want to take you to Iowa and a live event going on right now. Sarah Palin taking the stage at a Tea Party rally in Iowa. Let's listen in.



Thank you so much. Thank you. The sign that says "Thank you, Sarah." No, I thank you. You are what keeps me going, keeps so many of us going, your love of country keeps us going. Thank you so much! (APPLAUSE)

Iowa, you're good people. You're all good people who are here. Thank you. It is an honor to be in the heartland sharing this Labor Day weekend with you. And I thank you so much for the invitation to these organizers who put so much work into all this. It is so good to see the O for P and C for P people here today.


So last night was fun, getting to run into some of you at the restaurant and to see so many demographics represented and so many different states, you know, all across our great nation here. We got to gather together last night. Demographics represented, different political parties even represented. And Todd reminded me as we walked out of that room last night, he said, see, we're not celebrating red America or blue America. We're celebrating, red, white and blue America.


So what brought us here today out in this field? Why aren't we catching a Cyclones game or watching the Hawkeyes perhaps or grilling up some venison and corn on the cob, maybe some caribou with some friends, on this Labor Day weekend? What brought us together is a love of country. And we see that America is hurting. We're not willing to just sit back and watch her demise through some fundamental transformation of the greatest country on earth. We're here to stop that transformation and to begin the restoration of the country that we love.


We're here because America is at a tipping point. America faces a crisis. And it is not a crisis like perhaps the Midwest summer storm, the kind that moves in and hits hard but then moves on. No, this kind will relentlessly rage until we do restore all that is free and good and right about America.


It is not just fear of a double dip recession. And it is not even the shame of a credit downgrade for first time in U.S. history. It is deeper than that. This is a systemic crisis due to failed policies and incompetent leadership. And we're going to speak truth today. It may be hard hitting, but we're going to speak truth today because we need to start talking about what hasn't worked, and we're going to start about what will work for America.


We will talk truth. Now, some of us saw it day coming. It was three years ago on this very day that I spoke at the GOP convention --

(CHEERS) -- where I was honored to be able to accept the nomination for vice president that night. And in my speech I asked America, I said, when the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, what exactly is Barack Obama's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is, to make government bigger, to take more of your money, to give more of it to others and to take more orders from Washington and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.

I spoke of this, but back then it was only my words that you had to go by. Now you have seen the proof yourself. Candidate Obama didn't have a record while he was in office, but President Obama sure does. And that's why we're here today.


Candidate Obama, he pledged to fundamentally transform America. And for all the failures and the broken promises, that's the one thing that he has delivered on. We have transformed from a country of hope to one of anxiety. Today, one in five working age men, they're out of work. One in seven Americans are on food stamps, 30 percent of our mortgages are underwater.

In places like Michigan, California, parts there, they're suffering from unemployment numbers that are greater than during the depths of the Great Depression.

Look, Barack Obama promised to cut the deficit in half, and instead he turned around and he tripled it. And now our national debt is growing at $3 million a minute. That's $4.25 billion a day. President Obama, is this when you call winning the future? I call it losing, losing our country, and with it the American dream.

President Obama, these people, these Americans feel that fierce urgency of now, but do you feel it, sir? The Tea Party was born of this urgency. It is the same sense of urgency that propelled the sons of liberty during the revolution.


It is the same sense of urgency that propelled the abolitionists before the Civil War and the civil rights movement during the 20th century. The Tea Party movement is part of this noble American tradition. This movement isn't simply a political awakening, it is an American awakening.


And it is coming from ordinary Americans, not the politicos in the beltway, not those types. No. It is you who grow our food, you run our small businesses, you teach our children, you fight our wars. We are always proud of America. We love our country in good times and in bad and we never apologize for America.

(APPLAUSE) Now that is why the far left's irresponsible and radical policies really awakened a sleeping America so that we finally understood what it was that we were about to lose. We were about to lose the blessings of liberty and prosperity.

So the working men and women of this country, you got up off your couch. You came down from the deer stand. You came out of the duck blind. You got out the John Deere, and we took to the streets. And we took to the town halls, and we ended up at the ballot box. And as much as the media wants you to forget this, Tea Party Americans won an electoral victory of historic proportions in November.


Well, we the people, we rose up and we rejected the left's big government agenda. We don't want it, we can't afford it, and we are unwilling to pay for it.


That victory, though, remember, friends, that was only one step in a long march towards saving our country. We sent a new class of leaders to D.C. but immediately the permanent political class. They tried to co-opt them because the reality is we are governed by a permanent political class until we change that.


They talk endless about cutting government and yet they keep spending more. They talk about massive unsustainable debt, and yet they keep incurring more. They spend, they print, they borrow, they spend more and then they stick us with the bill. Then they pat their own backs and claim they faced and solved the debt crisis that they got us in.

But when we were humiliated in front of the world with our country's first credit downgrade, they promptly went on vacation. No, they don't feel the same urgency that we do. But why should they? For them, business is good. Business is very good. Seven of the 10 wealthiest suburbs are suburbs of Washington, D.C. Polls there actually -- usually I'll say polls, they're for strippers and cross country skiers.


But -- but polls in those parts actually show that some people there believe that the economy has actually improved. See, there may not be a recession in Georgetown, but there is in the rest of America.


Yes, the permanent political class, they're doing just fine. Ever notice how so many of them, they arrived in Washington, D.C. of modest means and then miraculously throughout the years they end up becoming very, very wealthy. Well, it's because they derived power and their wealth from their access to our money, to taxpayer dollars. They use it to bail out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies and to reward contributors and to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste.

And there is a name for this. It is called corporate crony capitalism. And this, folks, it is not the capitalism of free man and free mash e markets, of innovation and ethics, of sacrifice and risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts. It's of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare. This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe's economies. It is the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all of the rest, to the little guy.

It's a slap in the face to our small business owners, the true entrepreneurs, the job creators, accounting for 70 percent of the jobs in America. It is you who own the small businesses, you're the economic engine. But you don't grease the skids of power in government.

So you want to know why the permanent political class never really does cut anything? You really want to know why nothing ever really does get done? It is because there is nothing in it for them. Really there is nothing in it for them. They have a lot of mouths to feed, a lot of corporate lobbyists and a lot of special interests that are counting on them to keep the good times and the money rolling along.

It doesn't surprise me. I've seen this kind of crony capitalism before. It is a same old good old boy politics as usual that I fought and we defeated in my home state. I took on a corrupt and compromised political class and their backroom dealings with big oil.


And I can tell you from experience that sudden and relentless reform never sits well with entrenched interests and power brokers.

So, please, you must vet a candidate's record. You must know their ability to successfully reform and actually fix problems that they're going to claim they inherited. Real reform never sits well with the entrenched special interests, and that's why the true voices of reform are so quickly demonized.

Look what they say about you. You are concerned, civilized citizens, and look at what they say about you. And just look what happened during the debt ceiling debate. We have been given warning after warning that our credit rating would be downgraded if politicians didn't get serious about tackling the debt and deficit problem. But instead of making the real cuts that are necessary, no, they used Enron-like accounting gimmicks, and they promised that if they were just allowed to spend those trillions more today, well, they would cut billions 10 years from now.

By some magical thinking, they figured they can run up trillion dollar deficits year after year, yet still somehow avoid the unforgiving mathematics that led to the downgrade. Well, they got a rude awakening from the rest of the world, and that's that even America isn't too big to fail.

When we finally did get slapped then with that inevitable downgrade, the politicians and the pundits, they turned around and they blamed us. Independent, common sense conservatives, we got blamed. They called us un-American and terrorists and suicide bombers and -- hobbits?


I couldn't understand that one. And what is the president's answer to this enormous debt problem? It is just spend more money. Only you can't call it spending now. Now you got to call it investing, right? Don't call it spending, call it investing. It is like, now, watch what happens now with FEMA and some of the other bureaucratic agencies. They're saying now they don't want to refer to our centralized federal government as government. Now it is called the federal family. That's how they're referring to it.


Am I too old to ask to be emancipated, I wonder? Never thought I would say it, but I want a divorce.


No, the president's answer to our debt problem is incur more debt, spend more money, only call it investing, make more folks even more reliant on government to supply their every need. This is the antithesis of the pioneering American spirit that empowered the individual to work, to produce, to be able to thrive and succeed with fulfillment and with pride. And that, in turn, built our free and hope-filled and proud country.

He wants to win the future by investing more of your hard-earned money in some hair brained ideas like more solar panels and really fast trains.


These are things that venture capitalists will tell you, they're nonstarters. Yet he wants to do more of them. We're flat broke, but they think that these panels and really fast trains are going to magically save us. He's shouting "all aboard" Obama's bullet train to bankruptcy.


The only future that Barack Obama is trying to save is his own reelection. And he has shown that he is perfectly willing to mortgage our children's future to pay for it. And there is proof of this. Just look closely at where all that green energy stimulus money is invested. See a pattern. The president's big campaign donors got nice returns for their investments in him, to the tune of billions of your tax dollars in the form of green energy stimulus funds. The technical term for this is "pay to play."

Between bailouts for Wall Street cronies and stimulus projects for union bosses' security and green energy giveaways, he took care of his friends. And now they're on course to raise $1 billion for his re- election bid so that they can do it all over again. Are you going to let them do it all over again?


Are you willing to unite to do all we can to not let them do it again so we can save our country?


Now to be fair, some GOP candidates say, they also raised mammoth amounts of cash. And we need to ask them, too, what do their donors expect in rush for their investments? We need to know this, because our country can't afford more trillion-dollar thank you notes to campaign backers.

It is an important question, and it cuts to the heart of our problem. And I speak from experience. Confronting the corruption and the crony capitalism since starting out in public office 20 years ago, I've been outspent in my campaigns two to one, three to one, five to one. And, by the way, I don't play that game either of hiring expert political advisers just so they'll say something nice about me on TV, if you ever wonder.


You know how that game is played too, I'm sure. But the reason is simple -- because like you, I'm not for sale.


Because we believe in the free market. I believe in the free market, and that is why I detest crony capitalism. And Barack Obama has shown us cronyism on steroids. It will lead to our downfall if we don't stop it now. It's a root that grows our economic problems, our unsustainable debt and our high unemployment numbers and housing market that is in the tank and a stagnant economy. These are all symptoms.

And politicians are so focused on the symptoms and not the disease, we will not solve our economic problems until we confront the cronyism of our president and our permanent political class.

So this is why we must remember that the challenge is not simply to replace Obama in 2012, but the real challenge is who and what we will replace him with, because it is not enough --



Folks, you know that it is not enough to just change up the uniform. If we don't change the team and the game plan, we won't save our country. Yes, we need sudden and relentless reform, and that will return power to we, the people.

(CHEERS) This, of course, requires deeds, not just words. It is not good enough for the politicians to just be throwing our way some kind of vague generalities, talking about some promises here and there. It is time that we hold them accountable.

It is amazing to me that some good conservatives, they run away from being honest and straight up with us about what needs to be done. They don't want to rock the boat. They can't hurt future election prospects evidently. They just talk vaguely about cuts, and then they move on, too busy saying what they think we want to hear, and instead they should be telling us what needs to be said, what needs to be done.

So let us today in this field, let us have that adult conversation about what needs to be done to restore America. Let's do that now.


In five days' time, our president will gift us with yet another speech.


In his next speech, he'll reveal his latest news, super duper jobs plan. It will have more lofty goals and flowery rhetoric, more illogical economic fantasies, and more continued blame and finger pointing. But listen closely to what he says. All of his solutions, they're going to revolve around more of the same, more payouts for his friends and supporters. His plan is the same as it has always been, and that's grow more government, increase more debt, take and give more of your hard-earned money to special interests.

And this is such a problem, but you know what the problems are. We could go on all day about the problems caused by the status quo in Washington. Status quo, I think it is Latin for more of the same of the mess that we're in.


That status quo won't work anymore. We could go on all day about the problems, but we know them because you live them every day. So let's talk about real solutions. I want to tell you what my plan is.


My plan is a bona fide pro working man's plan. And it deals in reality. It deals in the way that the world really works. Because we must talk about what really works in order to get America back to work. My plan is about empowerment, empowerment of our states, empowerment of our entrepreneurs, most importantly, empowerment of you, our hard working individuals, because I have faith, I have trust, I have respect for you.

The way forward is no more politics as usual. We must stop expanding an out of control and out of touch federal government. This is first. All power not specifically delegated to the federal government by our constitution is reserved for the states and for we, the people.


So let's enforce the 10th amendment. Devolve powers back locally where the founders intended them to be.

Second, what happened to all of those promises about staying committed to repealing the mother of all big government unfunded mandates? We must repeal Obamacare.


And rein in burdensome regulations that are a boot on our neck. Get government out of the way and let the private sector breathe and grow. This will allow the confidence that businesses need in order to expand and hire more people. And, third, no more runaway debt. We must prioritize and cut.


Cancel unused stimulus funds and have that come to Jesus moment where we own up to the debt challenge that is entitlement reform. The reality is we will have entitlement reform. It's just a matter of how we're going to get there. We either do it ourselves or the world capital markets, they're going to shove it down our throats, and we'll have no choice but to reform our entitlement programs.

The status quo is no longer an option. Entitlement reform is our duty now, and it must be done in a way that honors our commitment to our esteemed elders today while keeping faith with future generations.


I tell you what, I don't think anything has irked me more than this nonsense coming from the White House about maybe not sending our seniors their checks. It's their money. They have paid into Social Security all of their working lives. And for the president to say we may not be able to cut their checks, well, where did all their money go, politicians?


Like the commander in chief being willing to throw our military under the bus, saying their pay checks may not arrive, but the politicians will still get their checks and their secure retirements and he'll still get his posh vacations. Aren't you just sick to death of those skewed priorities? It's all backwards. Our seniors and our brave men and women in uniform being used as pawns -- I say it is shameful and enough is enough. No more.


It is time for America to become the energy superpower. The real stimulus that we have been waiting for is robust and responsible, domestic energy production.


We have the resources. Affordable secure energy is the key to any thriving economy. And it must be our foundation. So I would do the opposite of Obama's manipulation of U.S. supplies of energy. Drill here, drill now, let the refineries and the pipelines be built.


Stop kowtowing to foreign countries and dictators, asking them to ramp up production in an industry for us, promising them that we'll be their greatest customer. No. No. We have the resources here. We need to move on tapping our own god given natural resources that are part of our reserves.


I promise you this will bring real job growth, not the politicians phony green jobs, fairy dust sprinkled with wishes and glitter and -- no, but a hardcore, all of the above energy policy that builds this indestructible link between made in America energy and our prosperity and our security.


You know, there are enough conventional long and large -- large conventional natural resource development projects just waiting in the wings, waiting for government approval, that could create more than a million high paying jobs all across the U.S. And this is true stimulus. It wouldn't cost government a dime to allow the private sector to do these. In fact, these projects will generate billions of dollars. Can you imagine that, a stimulus project that actually helps dig us out of debt instead of digging us further into it?


And these are good paying jobs. And I know that from experience. For years, my own family supported us. Todd worked up on the north slope. I had good energy sector job. America's revival starts with America's energy revival.


OK, and then fifth, we can and we will make America the most attractive company on earth to do business in. Here's how we're going to do this. Right now, we have the highest federal corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. Did you know our rates are higher than China and communist Cuba? This doesn't generate as much money as you would think, though, because many big corporations, they skirt federal taxes because they have the friends in D.C. who write the rules for the rest of us. This makes us less competitive and restrains the engine of prosperity. Some businesses, they spend more time trying to figure out how to hide their profits than they do in generating more profits so that they can expand and hire more of us.

So to make America the most attractive and competitive place to do business, to set up shop here and hire people here, to attract capital from all over the globe that will lead to an explosion of growth, instead of chasing industry offshore, I propose to eliminate all federal corporate income tax.


And here me out on this. This is how we create millions of high paying jobs. This is how we increase opportunity and prosperity for all. But here is the best part. To balance out any loss of federal revenue from the tax cut, we eliminate corporate welfare and all the loopholes, and eliminate bailouts.


This is how we break the back of crony capitalism because it feeds off corporate welfare, which is just socialism for the very rich. We can change all of that. The message then to job creating corporations is we will unshackle you from the world's highest federal taxes, but you will stand or fall on your own, like the rest of us out on Main Street.

See, when we empower the job creators, our economy will soar. Americans will get back to work. This plan is a first step in a long march toward fundamental restoration of a strong and free market economy, and it represents the kind of real reform that we need. And, folks, it must come from you. It must come from the American people. Real hope is in you. It is not that hopey-changey stuff that we heard about back in 2008. We've all learned from that. And real hope is not in an individual. It's not in a politician certainly. That hopey-changey stuff that was put in an individual back when Barack Obama was a candidate, that hopey-changey stuff didn't create one job in August, did it? That's the first time it happened in the United States since World War II, no jobs created.

Remember, government can't create jobs either. I get frustrated when the media gets that all wrong, too, talking about how government created this job or that. Government can't create a job. It is the private sector that creates the jobs. And that's pretty fundamental and we have to get that right.


Real hope comes from you. Real hope comes from realizing that we, the people, can make the difference. You don't need a title to make a difference. We can get this country back on the right track. We can do it by empowering the people and realizing god has richly blessed this most exceptional nation, and then do something about that realization.

Don't for the permanent political class to reform anything for you. They won't. They can't. They can't even take responsibility for their own actions. Our credit is downgraded. But it is not their fault. Our economy is in turmoil, but it's not his fault. It's the tsunami and japan or the Middle East uprising. It's Irene. It is the dog gone ATM machines.

(LAUGHTER) Folks, the truth is Barack Obama is adrift with no plan because his fundamental transformation is at odds with everything that make this country great. It doesn't make sense. He doesn't make sense. Unbelievably our president declares that he believes in American exceptionalism just as the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. While, the path he has us on will make us just as exceptional as Greece, All right, with the debt crisis and the stagnation and the unemployment and uprisings, and all.

Friends, you are better than that. Our country is better than that. We have got to unite. We have to stand together. We can confront the problem and we can achieve lasting reform. And I can tell you from hard earned experience with bumps and bruises along the way that the road ahead is not easy. You will be demonized. They'll mock you. They'll make things up. They'll tell you to go to hell.

So we'll bite our tongue. We'll keep it classy and we wouldn't respond, as tempting as it is, to anyone who just has such disdain for our free market economy and for individual initiative and responsibility. We won't say, no, you go to hell. We won't say that.


You know why we don't have to say that? Because when we have time- tested truth and logic on our side, we win. And when we refuse to retreat because we know that our children's future is at stake, we win. No, the road isn't easy. But it's nothing compared to the suffering and sacrifice who those who came before us.

A few weeks ago, after my visit to the Iowa state fair and we were on the bus tour. I took my daughter Piper and my niece McKinley with us to World War I liberty memorial in Kansas City. And standing in the rain, reading the inscriptions there on those memorials about the honor in one's dedication to our country, I thought of all those young patriots who suffered and died so far from home. And revering our vets there with the next generation by my side, there was such clarity in our calling, patriotic constitutionalists. We have a duty not just to the living, but to those who came and died before us and to the generations yet to be born.

Our freedom was purchased by millions of men now long forgotten throughout history who charged the bayonets, and they charged the cannons. They knew they were going to die, but it was worth it for them. Sacrificing for future generations' freedom. They're the ones who prayed in the trenches and suffered in the POW camps. They gave their lives so that we could be here today.

You and I are blessed to be born the heirs of freedom.


As president John F. Kennedy said, we dare not forget today that we are the heirs of first revolution, we are the heirs of those who froze with Washington at Valley Forge and who held the line at Gettysburg, who freed the slaves to close a shameful chapter, and who carved a nation out of the wilderness. We're the sons and daughters of those who stormed the beaches of Normandy and raised the flag at Iwo Jima and made America the strongest, most prosperous, greatest nation on earth forever in mankind's history, the greatest, most exceptional nation.


America, we will always endure, we will always come through, we will never give up. We shall endure because we live by that moral strength that we call grace, because though we have often skirted a precipice, a providential hand has always guided us to a better future. So let us seek that hand once more.

Ronald Reagan said if we ever forget we are one nation in under god, we will be a nation gone under.


And, yes, he shed his grace on thee, America. We will not squander what we have been given. We will fight for freedom. We will fight for America. We are at a tipping point. United we must stand, and we shall nobly save, not meanly lose this last best hope on earth.

So god bless, you, Iowa. God bless the United States of America.


CHO: That's former Alaska governor and former VP candidate Sarah Palin speaking to Tea Party members in the key early voting state of Iowa. Just some of the highlights of Palin's speech, she said America is at a tipping point, facing a crisis, and that it is not like a summer storm that comes and goes, but it will relentlessly rage until we restore what is good and right in this country.

Our Peter Hamby is standing by in Iowa with more on the speech. Peter, were there any surprises?

PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: I think you heard Sarah Palin very directly challenge Texas Governor Rick Perry, the current frontrunner for the Republican nomination, by her repeated refrain of how the country is being ruined by crony capitalism. She did not name Perry, but Governor Palin said that there are GOP candidates out there who can raise mammoth amount of cash. And what do we expect from them? To return favors to their political donors and allies.

That's been a knock on Rick Perry for a long time, that he rewards his political donors in Texas. He is a prolific fundraiser. So it is very interesting to see Palin, who many people regard as a friend and ally of Rick Perry, kind of go right after him instead, Alina.

CHO: Listen, she called on the permanent political class to go away. They're going to be around until we change that, obviously a thinly veiled criticism of Rick Perry who has held political office of some sort since 1985. And no surprise she also went after President Obama very strongly, citing his record, saying candidate Obama didn't have a record. President Obama does. She said he promised to cut the deficit in half. He instead tripled it. Were there any surprises from your standpoint on that front?

HAMBY: Well, I mean, this was a typical Tea Party rallying cry kind of speech for her. You're totally right. It was a very aggressive tone towards President Obama, more than we actually seen from her. Sarah Palin, as we know can be very aggressive toward President Obama.

Another thing that's interesting, though, the knock on Palin, of course, is that she is all flash and no substance. Palin attempted to lay out an economic plan that she could use. There was vague commentary about reducing regulations. But she did propose eliminating all corporate income taxes and balancing that out by closing a lot of tax loopholes, which is something a lot of Republicans proposed during the debt ceiling debate.

So you saw Palestinian do a lot of the red meat, but she also veered into policy. That's the kind of message she wants to bring the campaign if she runs.

CHO: That's right, and you're right, very vaguely talks about a plan, and she says her plan is about empowerment, which, of course, begs the question, is she or is she not in the race? When can we expect an announcement?

HAMBY: Certainly the cat and mouse game has been drawn out for a long time. I can tell you the Palin people know that the clock is ticking. She has to get in the race by the end of September, not just because there are filing deadlines in different primary states, but because she's got to build an organization in states like here in Iowa and South Carolina.

So she has to make a decision later this month. She's told me that could happen before October 1st. So that's why there is so much attention on this speech, because her deadline is approaching, Alina. But it's still be drawn out for way too long.


HAMBY: We're very anxious to hear from her and so are the other presidential candidates, because they know that she has a lot of power on the conservative base and they need to know how they can proceed.

CHO: Quite frankly I see all of this as torture. I mean, I wish she would make an announcement one way or the other, already. All right, Peter Hamby, thank you very much, live for us in Iowa.

Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidates will soon face of here on CNN. We'll take the stage the at the CNN Tea Party Republican debate, cohosted by the Tea Party Express. Watch all the action September 12, 8:00 P.M. eastern time.

This Labor Day Weekend is a washout along parts of the Gulf coast, tropical storm Lee already dumping heavy rain on Louisiana and Mississippi. But the worst is yet to come. We are tracking Lee in the CNN Hurricane Center next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHO: Someone who knows just how dangerous a storm like Lee can be is General Russell Honore. General Honore led the U.S. military's response to hurricane Katrina. He's also a CNN contributor. He joins us now live from Baton Rouge. General, it's great to see you. For years now you've been advising the government rescue officials and the public on how to prepare for disasters. You're a Louisiana native yourself. How concerned are you about tropical storm Lee?

LT. GEN. RUSSELL HONORE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it is slow. It's moving slow. And it's putting spots or bands of rain and it is splitting off tornadoes. It could be very dangerous. We may be into another 36 hours of the effects of Lee as it moves through Louisiana. So thinking about another 36 hours dealing with Lee according to the hurricane center, and we have already received up to 10 inches of rain in the low lying areas.

CHO: That's right. And I think even though it is a tropical storm with winds of about 60 miles per hour, as a colleague of mine pointed out this morning, it's that heavy rain that is usually such a huge problem. And as she pointed out, most of the people in these types of storms die from the floods, not from the high winds.

Having said that, what are people doing in Louisiana and Mississippi to prepare? And what should they be doing?

HONORE: Well, the government has been very effective in giving out warnings starting some 36 hours ago that the storm, once the hurricane center pointed it toward Louisiana and taking precautions from everything from controlling the floodgates in New Orleans to synchronizing the use of the floodgates with the pumps, to evacuating lower part of Jefferson Parish down in Grand Isle and the places, as we say, along the coast that normally flood during the heavy rains. And they have open shelters.

CHO: All right, General Russell Honore, we thank you for your time. Stay out of the rain as best you can. Thanks for joining us. We'll check back in with you tomorrow.

We also have breaking news out of Libya today. We have a large number of documents that show a very close relationship between Libya and the CIA. We'll have details are next.