LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Sarah Palin told Republican donors Thursday that Occupy Wall Street protesters want the same thing as the "fat cats" they're upset with — a government bailout.
Palin criticized the protesters as believing they're entitled to other people's productivity and money and said they've drawn the wrong conclusions. People should look to the tea party instead, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate said.
"They say 'Wall Street fat cats got a bailout so now I want one, too.' And the correct answer is no one is entitled to a bailout," Palin told the crowd of about 1,000 at the Republican Party of Florida dinner. "The American dream, our foundation, is about work ethic and empowerment, not entitlement."
She compared the protesters and President Barack Obama to the "crony capitalists" they say they oppose.
"Barack Obama is owned by Wall Street. The fat cats, as he calls them, they're his friends. They're his pals. That's where he gets his campaign donations. And he's very generous about giving these cats their cat nip — bigger returns on their investments in bailouts," Palin said.
She said she understands why people are frustrated with Wall Street and government and that she's disgusted by the wrong kind of capitalist. But the proper way to protest is through the tea party movement.
"My question to the Occupy Wall street crowd is, 'Where have you been the last three years?' I suggest if they want to vent and want to change the situation, then they vent in the right direction. They need to hop on a bus and travel south — 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where there's plenty of space to occupy," Palin said.
Palin praised Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican whose approval rating has remained below 40 percent.
"Rick Scott is a doer. I know he's a doer because he's managed to tick off all the right people," she said to applause.
She said America used to look to California as a place for innovation and new energy.
"Now the eyes of America are on Florida," Palin said. "You're doing things right under the good leadership of Rick Scott."
She praised Scott as a jobs creator and for his life story of growing up in a poor family to building a fortune of more than $200 million as a businessman.
"Your governor is very impressive. He's a bit of an illustration of still waters running deep — unassuming, humble, an amazing life story, a life story that really is the picture of what someone can accomplish in America with work ethic and commitment," she said.
Likewise, Scott praised Palin when he introduced her, saying, "Sarah Palin was tea party before the tea party was cool."
Scott was invited to speak at a statewide tea party convention this weekend and declined.
State party spokesman Brian Hughes wouldn't say how much was raised at the dinner, but said, "On this night we will raise almost as much as the Democrats reported last quarter."
That figure is $894,445.
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