By Andrew Gully (AFP) – Oct 28, 2010
WASHINGTON — Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin gave the strongest indication yet that she is preparing a 2012 White House bid, saying Thursday she would run for president "if there is nobody else to do it."
The former Republican vice presidential candidate, who was lampooned in the media for her political naivety in the hard-fought final weeks of the 2008 campaign, is now among the most popular conservative politicians in America.
Palin, who left office midway through her first term in office as governor of Alaska, told Entertainment Tonight it would take someone willing "to make the tough choices and not care what the critics are going to say about you.
"It's going to entail a discussion with my family (and) a real close look at the lay of the land, to consider whether there are those with that common sense, conservative, pro-Constitution passion.
"If there's nobody else to do it, then of course I would believe that we should do this," she told the TV show, a Hollywood publicity machine, in an interview from her home in Wasilla, Alaska.
The 45-year-old mother of five was little known nationally until she burst onto the political scene when Arizona senator John McCain chose her as his shock running mate in August 2008.
Palin announced in July 2009 that she was resigning as Alaska governor, 18 months before completing her first term, providing a puzzling explanation that it was due to frivolous ethics complaints against her.
It is not too much of a stretch of the imagination to think that the potent figure in the burgeoning anti-Obama opposition movement simply wanted to dedicate herself completely to a 2012 presidential run.
After installing herself on the social networking site Facebook, she wrote a memoir, "Going Rogue: An American Life," which shot to the top of Amazon's bestseller list several weeks ahead of its publication on November 17.
Even if she wins the Republican primary she would face an uphill fight in the general election, as she is not considered popular in the country at large and was found wanting on foreign policy experience during the McCain campaign.
That said, no clear Republican contender has emerged and Palin has been buoyed by support from the Tea Party, a right-wing populist movement galvanized by opposition to taxes and rising government spending.
After ridiculing what she has termed the "lamestream" media, Palin has shunned mainstream outlets and used her Facebook page and Twitter account to endorse candidates, often Tea Party favorites and often to stunning effect.
One Republican who has made no secret of his dislike of her chances is Karl Rove, who steered former president George W. Bush's career from the days before he was governor of Texas to the White House and is now a prolific political pundit.
Rove pointed to Palin's new reality show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," in which she states in a promotional teaser: "I would rather be doing this than in some stuffy old political office."
"With all due candor, appearing on your own reality show on the Discovery Channel," Rove told Britain's Daily Telegraph, "I am not certain how that fits in the American calculus of 'that helps me see you in the Oval Office.'
"There are high standards that the American people have for it (the presidency) and they require a certain level of gravitas," Rove said, "and they want to look at the candidate and say, 'That candidate is doing things that gives me confidence that they are up to the most demanding job in the world.'"
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