INDIANAPOLIS — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin fired up a crowd of thousands inside Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday night to kick off the National Rifle Association's "Stand and Fight Rally," saying Americans' constitutional rights as envisioned by the founding fathers are under attack and policies like gun-free zones constitute "stupid on steroids."
"They knew that if the Second Amendment goes, the rest of the constitution is not far behind," she said of the country's founders.
In her approximately 12-minute address, Mrs. Palin also derided what she argued is akin to a 'blame the messenger' attitude on gun violence many Americans take today.
"Gun stores are an accomplice to crime," she said, "and that fork made me fat."
Mrs. Palin, plucked from relative political obscurity to be the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, still enjoys significant support among elements of the party's base, and was at times received like a rock star inside the complex adjacent to the Indiana Convention Center, where much of the gun rights group's annual meeting has taken place.
After 2008, she returned to Alaska and soon after quit her job, citing "frivolous" ethics probes and the associated legal costs. Her latest venture is a new show, "Amazing America," on the Sportsman Channel.
A handful of potential 2016 GOP presidential contenders spoke or appeared in videotaped messages that aired Friday at the conference.
In addition to haranguing former New York City Mayor Michael I. Bloomberg's gun control push and lampooning Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s recent testimony on Capitol Hill, she also tsk-tsked Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s suggestion last year to fire off shotgun blasts into the air to scare off would-be intruders.
"Just aim up in the air - that was his directive, his advice," she
said. "Well, fine, Joe Squirt Gun, if your rapist is a bird."
She also derided those who she said place an emphasis on political correctness in handling the country's adversaries "instead of putting the fear of God in our enemies."
She said later in her address that if "I were in charge" -- a line that drew applause from the crowd -- "they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists."
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