UPDATED at 2:25 p.m.: As if on cue, Sarah Palin announced Thursday that she is launching a multi-state bus tour this weekend that will have her visit a number of states with important presidential primaries.
The trip will begin in Washington, D.C., on Sunday and then move on to New England, where Palin is expected to make her first stop in New Hampshire since running as the Republican VP nominee in 2008.
From Palin’s new SarahPAC website:
"The 'One Nation Tour' is part of our new campaign to educate and energize Americans about our nation's founding principles, in order to promote the Fundamental Restoration of America."
Original post at 9:49 a.m.: And just like that, she’s back in the headlines.
For the past several weeks, Sarah Palin had been largely relegated to the pile of possible-in-theory-but-unlikely-in-reality Republican candidates who were mentioned in passing as political pundits and journalists speculated on the 2012 GOP field. But, at least for now, the former Alaska governor has squeezed back into the conversation.
The fresh round of media speculation built quietly over the past several days, but by Thursday had broken through to the front page of the New York Times (“Recent Moves by Palin Hint At Candidacy”). The Wall Street Journal, likewise, offers its own take in an A7 article that leads with news about Palin’s new Arizona home.
The latest batch of articles – which also included an Associated Press story, as well as ones by Politico, the National Journal and a number of regional newspapers – are pegged to a string of recent Palin developments.
First, there was last week’s declaration that she does, indeed, have the “fire in the belly” needed to stage a bid. Then, there is her reported new $1.7 million Scottsdale home, which would give the former Alaska governor a more ideal travel hub from which to base a campaign. Throw in the rehiring of a few key staffers, the launch of a new SarahPAC website, and news of an upcoming feature film about her set for a June premiere in Iowa, and the speculation certainly seems warranted.
While Palin is unlikely to provide clarity any time soon, the renewed focus on the former Republican VP nominee will continue to cause headaches for the current crop of GOP candidates, as well as the party establishment that is hoping to rally support around them.
A Palin run would face plenty of obstacles, but her name recognition and strong base of supporters is undeniable. In the most recent Gallup poll, completed after Mike Huckabee and Mitch Daniels officially dropped out of the race, Palin trails frontrunner Mitt Romney by only two percent, 17-15. Of course, as Slate’s David Weigel notes, 15 percent is about half of what she got in the very first survey of this primary season.