Huffpost Politics

Palin Slams Obama: Abortion Isn't Above My Pay Grade

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is taking President Barack Obama to task for his support of abortion rights and embryonic stem-cell research.

Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, criticized Obama's positions during a speech at the Vanderburgh County Right to Life's annual dinner Thursday night in Evansville, Ind.

She says deciding when babies get human rights isn't above her pay grade _ a reference to Obama's response to a question from the Rev. Rick Warren last year. Obama said such questions were above his pay grade.

Thursday's appearance was Palin's first out-of-state trip on a partisan agenda since the presidential campaign ended. Some Alaska lawmakers have criticized her decision to make the trip as the state Legislature approaches its Sunday deadline.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) _ Republican National Chairman Michael Steele said Thursday that Sarah Palin is among a crowd of GOP standard bearers that includes fellow governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Mark Sanford of South Carolina.

The Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate hasn't ruled out a presidential run, and Steele said it was too early to gauge Palin's standing in 2012.

She and Steele were in Evansville to attend the Vanderburgh County Right to Life fundraising dinner Thursday night. Organizers said the dinner drew 3,000 people.

During a news conference before the dinner, Steele cited Palin among other prominent party figures, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and two congressmen, Eric Cantor and Mike Pence.

"We have a significant number of men and women in our party who are in a very good position right now to carry forward the standard of the GOP," Steele said.

Pence represents Indiana and Cantor is from Virginia. Many Republicans also look to Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana as a presidential favorite in 2012.

Thursday night's appearance was Palin's first out-of-state trip on a partisan agenda since the presidential campaign ended. Some Alaska lawmakers have criticized Palin's decision to make the trip as the state Legislature approaches its Sunday deadline.

Palin was cheered wildly as she entered the banquet hall with her husband, Todd. She stopped to sign autographs before taking her seat.

Palin, her husband and youngest son also were to attend a breakfast Friday morning with S.M.I.L.E., a nonprofit support organization for people with family members who have Down syndrome. Trig, who turns 1 on Saturday, was born with the condition.

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