She chided Barack Obama for his frequent use of the teleprompter - but Sarah Palin proved she is not above using a handy reminder over the weekend.
The former vice presidential candidate was speaking at the first ever national 'Tea Party' convention on Saturday when she sneaked a quick - and not so subtle - peek at notes written on her hand.
The embarrassing moment was caught on film during a question-and-answer session after Mrs Palin gave a rousing speech to activists at the rally in Nashville, Tennessee, on the weekend.
Covert: Sarah Palin appears to consult her palm during a question-and-answer session at the Tea Party rally in Nashville on Saturday
Crib sheet: Sure enough, closer examination of video footage showed Mrs Palin did indeed have some handy buzzwords written on her palm
It came just minutes after she gave the keynote speech to the convention, during which she said in reference to Mr Obama: 'This is about the people ... and it's a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter.'
Mrs Palin, seated on stage, used the microphone she was holding in a clumsy attempt to disguise the fact that she was peering at her crib notes.
Close ups of the video footage showed that she had written in her palm 'energy', 'budget cuts' (with the word 'budget' then crossed out), 'tax', and 'lift American spirits'.
The questions had been pre-screened, giving the former Alaska governor time to study up on the answers.
She was ridiculed by bemused political commentators and on the Internet. 'I guess the next time meanie liberal elites like Katie Couric ask Palin what she reads, she can say, "My hand,"' blog Politicsusa.com wrote.
Gawker.com was even more baffled by the incident: 'Did this woman seriously write notes on her hand to assist in the answering of questions she was given in advance? And did she do so minutes after criticizing the President for being fond of his teleprompter? *FACEPALM*.... This is just straight up EMBARRASSING.'
However the blip did not appear to dent her popularity at the event, where organisers had paid her $100,000 to speak.
Lending a hand: Palin delivers the keynote speech at the Tea Party convention in Nashville on Saturday night... her notes clearly visible on her left palm
'Some charismatic guy with a teleprompter': Joe Biden's face, right, can be seen reflected in Barack Obama's own, slightly more high tech, version of the crib sheet during a speech in Washington last week
A coy Mrs Palin appeared to use the event to pit herself as a serious challenger to Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential campaign.
When asked on stage about 'President Palin', she would only smile - prompting the crowds to start changing 'Run, Sarah, run!'
And in an interview with Fox News later on, she said it would be 'absurd' for her not to run if given the opportunity.
'I would be willing to if I believe that it's right for the country,' she said.
However she did insist that she was willing to support competition in the race for the Republican nomination, saying she wanted the 'cream of the crop to rise'.
After Saturday's convention it seemed clear that Tea Party activists - a hard-right conservative core of Americans who effectively derailed Mr Obama's health reforms last summer with grassroots protests - are in favour of President Palin.
'I believe in this movement ... America is ready for another revolution,' she said as the crowd roared its approval.
'This movement is about the people. Government is supposed to be working for the people.'
Then noting Democrats' recent electoral losses just a year after Mr Obama was elected on promises of hope and change, she mocked: 'How's that hope-y, change-y stuff workin' out for you?'
She repeatedly mocked Mr Obama as being soft on terror - and made it clear she has him in her sights.
She slammed his 'lack of experience' during the Fox News interview.
'In the campaign, we tried to bring attention to the fact that Obama had really not a lot of experience,' she said.
'And I do say that my executive experience, as an administrator, as a team manager if you will was, and so was John McCain's as a matter of fact, was stronger and we had more experience than Barack Obama did in terms of managing huge multi-billion dollar budgets and thousands of employees ... and that hasn't changed.
Sarah Palin takes a seat as she addresses the convention. All she offered was a smile when a moderator asking her questions used the phrase 'President Palin'. That prompted most in the audience to stand up and chant 'Run, Sarah, run!'
'I think that President Obama with all due respect, his lack of experience is really made manifest in the way that decisions are made in the White House today,' she added.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Mrs Palin, Republican candidate John McCain's running mate, was derided by Democrats and in much of the press for her own lack of experience - particularly in areas of foreign policy.
Many Conservative critics claimed it was her lack of experience that hampered Mr McCain in the battle against Mr Obama.
Mrs Palin resigned from her office as governor of Alaska last year before completing her first term.
For Tea Partiers, her shortcomings do not seem to matter.
The convention in Nashville brought together hundreds of activists from the group, which takes its name after the 1773 Boston Tea Party revolt against taxation from England.
The activists hope to make a splash in the 2010 congressional elections and beyond - most likely with Sarah Palin at the forefront.
The group made headlines last year with often highly-charged protests against Mr Obama's healthcare reform drive, a $787billion economic stimulus package and other initiatives.
The convention is the latest sign that the diffuse movement is attempting to transform itself into a political machine that can get out the vote for conservative candidates.
All 435 seats of the House of Representatives and more than a third of the 100 Senate seats are up for grabs in November. Democrats have majorities in both chambers.
Mrs Palin encouraged activists to get out and support candidates who shared their values. Her speech was frequently interrupted by bouts of thunderous applause.
Referring to mounting debt and government programs, Mrs Palin said: 'What they are doing ... They're sticking our kids with the bill. And that's immoral. That's generational theft.'
The three-day event had been plagued by infighting, pullouts and criticism of tickets costing more than $500.
But the appearance of Mrs Palin, the darling of the U.S. conservative movement, raised its profile.
Her speech made frequent appeals to patriotism and faith - and she effectively used her folksy, Washington-outsider rhetoric to lambaste Mr Obama and his Democratic Party.
Her audience waved flags and erupted in cheers during multiple standing ovations during the keynote address.
But, aside from broad conservative principles like lower taxes and a strong national defence, it was short on her own policy ideas that typically indicate someone is seriously laying the ground work to run for the White House.
Indeed, Republican observers say she's seemingly done more lately to establish herself as a political celebrity focused on publicity rather than a political candidate focused on policy.
Catering to her crowd, Mrs Palin talked of limited government, strict adherence to the Constitution, and the 'God-given right' of freedom.
She said the 'fresh, young and fragile' movement is the future of American politics because it's 'a ground-up call to action' to both major political parties to change how they do business. 'You've got both party machines running scared,' she said.
Mrs Palin suggested that it should remain leaderless and cautioned against allowing the movement to be defined by any one person.
'Let us not get bogged down in the small squabbles. Let us get caught up in the big ideas,' she said, though offered few of her own.