Palin assails healthcare law, praises Perry at Dallas event

DALLAS -- Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin called on the newly elected Congress on Wednesday to take steps to repeal the federal revamp of the healthcare system, calling it the "mother of all unfunded mandates."

Preaching a message of life, Palin -- the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and a leader in the Tea Party movement -- told a crowd of about 800 people gathered at the Majestic Theatre that last week's midterm elections were a mandate on Congress to repeal a healthcare bill that she believes includes federal funding for some abortions.

"The ramifications of this bill [are] horrendous," she said during a program called "An Evening of Hope" put on by Heroic Media, a Texas-based conservative nonprofit group that promotes alternatives to abortion. "We have to fight back against this federal takeover."

Palin called Barack Obama "the most pro-abortion president to occupy the White House."

Palin praised Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who spoke briefly at the event, for fighting against federal control and for standing up as an anti-abortion governor.

"The governor is talking good stuff about this Lone Star State," she said, adding that she loves the title of Perry's book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington.

"Your governor has been a leader in trying to protect you ... from what is coming out of Washington, D.C.," Palin said.

She and Perry, who have both been mentioned as presidential contenders in 2012, did not talk politics, although several in the audience considered them an "all-star" lineup of GOP leaders. They were joined by other Republican leaders, including Attorney General Greg Abbott, Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and Dallas Pastor Stephen Broden.

Perry, who signed copies of his book at the theater, spoke about the need to watch what the federal government is doing and protect unborn children.

"The federal government continues to undermine the laws," he said. "The stakes, I don't think they have ever been higher. ... We've got to protest even louder and let them know we are fed up.

"In the final accounting, I believe God's going to ask us what we did for the least among us."

About an hour before Wednesday's event, a male protester entered the theater, yelling in the lobby. He was escorted out of the building, and organizers released no information about the incident.

In her speech, Palin talked about her ties to Texas.

Not only did she visit the state while growing up, she also had a memorable visit two years ago, when she spoke to a Republican governors forum in Grapevine. She was about 71/2 months pregnant and her water broke.

Her husband, Todd, quickly escorted her out of the forum to get her back to Alaska to have their child.

"He said, 'I love Texas, but we can't have a fish picker born in Texas.'"

A few hours after they landed, Palin gave birth to their fifth child. Her teenage daughter, Bristol, had a baby later the same year. "To this day, those bloggers still don't believe he's mine," she said.

Palin said she learned during her pregnancy that Trig, her youngest, would be born with Down syndrome, something that intimidated and scared her.

But she said she knew that God wouldn't give her more than she can handle.

"When Trig was born, he melted into my arms and looked up at me like, 'I'm here, Mom,'" she said. "He's the best thing that has ever happened to our family. ... He's going to teach us more than we'll teach him.

"God doesn't make mistakes," she said. "He doesn't turn away from our cries for his miraculous touch."

Many who attended Wednesday night's event said they were excited to see such a lineup of Republican leaders speak all in one night.

Bill Walsh, a 70-year-old substitute teacher from Plano, was first in line to get in.

"After the election on Tuesday, I'm very happy with the results brought to us by Republicans," he said. "Some very important Republicans are here.

"It's an all-star night."

This report includes material from The Associated Press.

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610